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Freezing rain causes blackouts in southern Ontario

WATCH ABOVE: Temperatures continue to fall as a mix of rain, freezing rain and snow will hit the GTA lasting from Wednesday night through to Thursday night.

TORONTO – Thousands of hydro customers west and north of Toronto remain without power Thursday morning as freezing rain began coating wires and tree branches with ice.

PowerStream, which services communities north of the city, reported at one point some 28,000 residents and businesses were without power in the Vaughan, Woodbridge and Kleinburg areas.

The service provider said electricity was restored in Vaughan just after 7 a.m. ET.

Ontario Hydro was working to restore power to more than 10,000 customers, primarily in the Fergus, Listowel, Cambridge and Kincardine areas, with restoration expected to be completed by around mid-morning.

READ MORE: Latest winter storm school closures, bus cancellations in Greater Toronto Area

Environment Canada warned that between five and 20 millimetres of ice accumulations were possible before the freezing rain changed to rain on Thursday afternoon as temperatures slowly inch toward zero.

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The federal agency also cautioned people to take extra care navigating slippery and potentially hazardous surfaces such as highways, roads, walkways and parking lots.

Power outages reported north of Toronto on March 24, 2016 due to freezing rain.
Power outages reported north of Toronto on March 24, 2016 due to freezing rain. Jeremy Cohn/Global News
Power outages reported north of Toronto on March 24, 2016 due to freezing rain.
Power outages reported north of Toronto on March 24, 2016 due to freezing rain. Jeremy Cohn/Global News
Power outages reported north of Toronto on March 24, 2016 due to freezing rain.
Power outages reported north of Toronto on March 24, 2016 due to freezing rain. Jeremy Cohn/Global News

Once the freezing rain ends, some areas were expected to receive anywhere from 10 to 25 millimetres of rain.

The icy weather will also mean a day off for thousands of students across southern Ontario.

READ MORE: Freezing rain warnings issued across southern Ontario

Classes and buses have been cancelled at the Dufferin-Peel Catholic District School Board, the Peel District School Board and at Halton Catholic schools. Both the Toronto District School Board and the Oxford County board have cancelled buses, but schools remain open.

In eastern Ontario, Environment Canada said significant freezing rain was expected to begin Thursday afternoon.

WATCH: The city says it’s prepared for freezing rain set to arrive tonight. But with gusty winds and heavy ice, Toronto Hydro is predicting some power outages. Ashley Carter brings you Hydro’s tips on what to do if the power goes out.
Toronto prepares for ice storm
Toronto prepares for ice storm