Winter’s much-awaited wallop appears to have arrived in Ontario.
Heavy snow began falling in Ottawa Tuesday night, and as Environment Canada issued a string of weather alerts for Eastern Canada, two major airlines warned of possible cancellations and delays affecting a wide swath stretching from Quebec City to Windsor.
A sloppy mix of rain and wet snow covered much of the Greater Toronto Area, and with temperatures dropping sharply toward an overnight low of -6, a possible flash freeze was forecast, likely to make sidewalks icy and driving particularly hazardous.
Mid-evening, the westbound lanes of Highway 401 near Yonge Street were closed off as the result of a serious two-vehicle collision that sent four people to hospital, including a 23-year-old Oshawa man who later died of his injuries.
It was not immediately clear if the crash resulted from weather conditions, but provincial police on the highways had their hands full. The normally forthcoming traffic spokesman Sergeant Dave Woodford cut short an interview, explaining that he was en route to a bad accident scene, “and I’m sliding all over the road.”
Numerous other fender benders were reported across parts of Southern Ontario.
Air Canada and Porter Airlines both posted statements on their websites warning that planes arriving or departing from Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal, Newark, Quebec and Windsor may be affected in the next 24 hours.
At 10 p.m. Tuesday, some flights out of Toronto’s Pearson International Airport had already been delayed, with more disruptions expected.
As always, travellers were advised to check on the status of their flights before heading to the airport.
A blanket of precipitation will cover much of Southern and Eastern Ontario over the next couple of days, Environment Canada predicted, and along with Ottawa, Toronto, Cornwall and Brockville are expected to see up to five centimetres of snow.
A special weather statement was also issued for areas of northern Ontario, including Sault Ste. Marie, Sudbury and North Bay, with brisk northwesterly winds expected.