February 24, 2019 5:44 pm
Updated: February 25, 2019 2:56 pm

Windstorm lashes southern Ontario causing collisions, power outages, road closures

WATCH: Video shows wind blowing ice over a retaining wall.

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Mother nature has unleashed powerful winds on much of Ontario, causing power outages, closing roadways and causing major collisions.

Near Barrie, a 70-car pileup on Highway 400 at around 10:30 a.m. closed one of the province’s busiest highways and also sent another 10 people to hospital.

Ontario Provincial Police Sgt. Kerry Schmidt said the driving conditions in the area were terrible.

WATCH: ‘It’s a mess’: Hwy. 400 near Barrie closed in both directions after crash involving dozens of vehicles

“We have whiteout conditions right now – snow and blowing snow – we have zero visibility,” he said from the scene, where traffic was backed up in both directions.

Hydro One said it is responding to a significant amount of outages in across Ontario.

As of around noon, the company had turned the lights back on for 150,000 customers but the company’s outage map indicates thousands of customers are still without service.

In a tweet, the utility said power is expected to be restored by 11 p.m. Monday.

READ MORE: ‘Damaging winds’ expected across southern Ontario on Sunday

Local power utilities worked through the night to battle outages as well. Ontario-based Alectra Utilities tweeted Monday morning that power has been restored in the Brampton and Penetanguishene areas after outages were reported on Sunday.

According to the utility, crews have also been dispatched in the Hamilton area to restore power to 351 homes and businesses currently without service.

Environment Canada placed a good portion of Ontario under blizzard or snow squall warnings or blow snow advisories. Some communities in the northern portion of the province were also under extreme cold warnings as well.

WATCH: Fort Erie hit by an ice shove


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READ MORE: How to prepare for Sunday’s windstorm in southern Ontario

Extreme whiteout conditions caused major accidents and closed roads in other areas of southern Ontario.

OPP Sgt. Jason Folz said there was a 20-car pileup on Highway 11 near Orillia that occurred around 10 a.m. There were no serious injuries in that incident, he said. Several hours earlier, there was a 14-car crash on Highway 115 near Peterborough, again with no serious injuries, he said.

“We’re recommending people stay off the roads today,” Folz said. “There are whiteout conditions happening all over the central region of Ontario.”

In wellington County, the OPP had closed all roads due to the near whiteout conditions.

In Waterloo region, Highway 85 was also shut down as well.

WATCH: Strong winds cause tree to split in Fonthill, Ont.

Dufferin County roads have also been closed due to the inclement weather.

In Fort Erie Sunday, police said they were closing a road after strong winds forced lake ice up over a retaining wall.

Police services across the province are urging residents to postpone non-essential travel until conditions improve.

Editor’s note: This story has been updated to correct that the road closed due to ice is located in Fort Erie, not Niagara Falls.

With files from Global News’ Jessica Vomiero and the Canadian Press

© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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