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‘The roads have been terrible’: Over 250 crashes reported in GTA after snowstorm hits region

Major snowfall hits Toronto area
WATCH ABOVE: It's the first real blast of winter 2020. A day that began with clear skies and dry roads quickly became a mess of accumulating snow and low visibility. Albert Delitala reports.

Ontario Provincial Police say over 250 crashes were reported in the Greater Toronto Area since the region started to be hit by a snowstorm Saturday morning.

Snow began to fall in the GTA around 10 a.m. and continued into the evening, leading to snow-covered roads and poor driving conditions.

“The roads have been terrible,” OPP Const. Kevin Westhead said.

READ MORE: ‘Significant snowfall’ expected for Toronto on Saturday

“They are totally snow-covered. The plows are out there going hard right now to try to clear them as quickly as possible, but obviously there’s still a lot of traffic which is causing most of the issues.”

Westhead said in one of the collisions, an OPP cruiser was struck in the Niagara region.

No serious injuries have been reported in any of the crashes, he said.

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“We’ve encouraged people all day to try to stay home if possible, but of course inevitably people are still going to have to travel and unfortunately a lot of individuals are just not leaving the time and space,” he said.

City of Toronto plows ready to deal with first major snowstorm of 2020
City of Toronto plows ready to deal with first major snowstorm of 2020

The snowfall warning ended for Toronto a little before 8:30 p.m. Saturday after the storm brought around 15 centimetres of snow to the city. The extreme cold weather alert remains in effect.

“Through the lunch hour, snowfall rates in Toronto were approximately two centimetres per hour, which created significant snow build-up on major routes throughout the GTA,” Global News weather specialist Mike Arsenault said.

“Winds around 50 km/h created blowing snow and low visibility conditions on the roads as well.”

Around 11 a.m., police first said they received reports of multiple collisions on the QEW between Burlington and Niagara, where wind gusts of 70 to 90 km/h were forecast for Saturday.

“Temperatures will continue to warm up and get above zero in many location across the region, which see the precipitation transition to a rain/snow mix,” Arsenault said.

“This will make for difficult shoveling conditions for many.”

Southern Ontario sees first big snowfall of the year
Southern Ontario sees first big snowfall of the year

Shortly before 4 p.m., Toronto police said that buses and vehicles were getting stuck on a hill in the Oakwood Avenue and Davenport Road area.

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The TTC also warned of delays on all surface routes due to the weather.

City of Toronto officials said plows began operations in the city around 1 p.m. after two rounds of salt had already been applied to roadways.

Plowing on residential street will begin at 10 p.m. on and is expected to be completed by 2 p.m. on Sunday. Main roads will continue to be plowed and salted overnight.

Pearson Airport, meanwhile, warned of weather-related flight interruptions. The airport has cancelled roughly 20 per cent of its arriving and departing flights for Saturday.

Precipitation is expected to taper off during the overnight hours, though there will be a possibility of brief periods of snowfall on Sunday, Arsenault said.

Global Toronto Weather Jan. 18
Global Toronto Weather Jan. 18

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