Fears of slippery driving conditions were validated on Sunday morning by a 12-car pileup at Davenport Road and Avenue Road just before 11 a.m.
“We have to make adjustments this time this season,” said Toronto Police Const. David Hopkinson. “I want to illustrate to people that they should slow down and clean their windshields.”
Hopkins says treacherous, icy road conditions played a role in the collision, though no one was injured. Even so, there were two casualties of sorts from the weather: Burlington and Mississauga’s Santa Claus Parades, scheduled for Sunday, were cancelled, with Burlington citing “unsafe weather conditions and the declaration of a significant weather event.” Mississauga had expected a crowd of up to 25,000.
Torontonians had been warned of a blustery start to December and ice pellets did indeed descend on Sunday morning. Hopkinson added that generally during the first, second and third snowfall of the season, accidents are more likely to occur since many road users are not yet adjusted to the change in weather, and as it becomes increasingly dark, reduced visibility also becomes a factor.
Environment Canada foresees flurries and the risk of freezing drizzle in the evening — with easterly 30 km/h winds gusting to 50 — as the mercury gets down to -3 C. The flurries are expected to end late Monday morning, when the high will be around freezing. As of 1 p.m. a snowfall warning was in effect for Pickering, Oshawa and the southern Durham Region.
Toronto Mayor John Tory tweeted about the extreme winter weather conditions on Sunday pleading for everyone to “please drive with extra caution on our roads” and to “be sure to give yourself plenty of time to get to where you’re going and remember to drive safe and look out for pedestrians.”
Mark Mills, from the city of Toronto’s road operations department, believes everyone should practice “extreme caution and patience on roadways,” defer travel where possible and otherwise use public transit.
Despite the weather, many can hope to expect better road conditions come Monday’s commute as road operations deploys “snow fighters” to salt roadways, expressways and local roads all throughout the day and into the night.
According to Pearson International Airport’s website, many flights have been delayed and even cancelled as of Sunday afternoon. The airport says that if you are travelling when snow is in the forecast, make sure to check your flight’s status before leaving for the airport.
Osobe Waberi is a breaking news reporter, working out of the Star’s radio room in Toronto. Follow her on Twitter: @OsobeWaberi
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