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Icy blast of nasty weather moving across Southern Ontario

A pedestrian leaves foot prints on the sidewalk as light snow falls over Toronto, Ontario, April 11, 2013.

HYUNGWON KANG/REUTERS

A nasty ice storm began moving across Southern Ontario Thursday morning, slowing the morning commute and causing numerous disruptions as the weather system closed in.

Dozens of flights in and out of  Pearson International Airport and Toronto'sdowntown Billy Bishop airport were delayed or cancelled, and numerous trafficaccidents reported, none so far involving serious injury.

School buses were running normally in Toronto, and Toronto students will write the Ontario Second School Literacy Test as scheduled, but outside the city things were running less smoothly.

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Environment Canada said drivers should anticipate "a messy mix of ice pellets and freezing rain" during the morning commute, and that the area west of Toronto was likely to bear the brunt of the bad weather.

Up to 10 millimetres of freezing rain were expected to fall, and perhaps twice that amount in some parts of the province as the storm develops through the day.

Schools and school buses in Toronto, Durham Region and Niagara were operating as usual, but bus services in numerous other jurisdictions were delayed. School bus service was cancelled in Brampton, Caledon, Mississauga, Halton Region, Peterborough and several other school districts.

Travellers heading to Pearson International and other airports were also advised to call ahead before setting out.

In Toronto, the homeless were urged by civic authorities to take shelter and told that extra beds would be available if needed.

Thursday marks the day when Ontario high school students write the OSSLT, but in several parts of the province, including Peel Region, York Region and Waterloo Region, the tests were postponed.

In Toronto, an early casualty of the weather system was a section of the city's north end, where power went out in an area roughly circumscribed by Steeles and Sheppard Avenues, Dufferin Street and east to Bayview Avenue, with traffic lights out at several major intersections.

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