Environment Canada finally ended it’s winter storm warning on Monday night after many regions were hit with up to 50 cm of accumulations in less than 12 hours.
During the height of the winter storm, some cities, like St. Catharines, saw up to 10 cm of snow an hour in the late morning.
Global News chief meteorologist Anthony Farnell said Niagara Region really set the tone overnight for the storms run over Canada, so far. Not only were there some lightning strikes at the beginning of the wave, the band then dropped between 40 and 50 cm of the white stuff by early afternoon.
“Which is unheard of outside of lake effect snow,’ Farnell said.
“So when you get that type of activity moving even for two hours over your city or your neighborhood, it can pile things up.”
Before making it’s way into Ontario, the storm started as a tornado in Florida before becoming an ice storm in the Carolinas and dropping its first snowfall in Cleveland.
“On Friday, the system was actually over Minnesota, and then it nosedived all the way down to the Gulf of Mexico and then right back up the east coast,” said Farnell.
“So it was an unusual track, but it put areas like Hamilton, the rest of the Greater Toronto Hamilton area, right in that bull’s eye for for the heaviest band.”
After all was said and done, Environment Canada said a record 41 cm fell at the John C. Munro Hamilton International Airport by noon Monday.
The previous record catalogued by the weather agency was in 1978 when the city had 19.1 cm.
However, single-day greatest snowfall numbers stopped being tracked in 2011.
Kaitlynn Furse, the director of CAA’s corporate communications, told Global News that calls to help vehicles in Southern Ontario amid the snowfall were around 500 per hour between by late morning.
“Just to give you an idea, on a normal winter day, we would normally help about 4000 people in a day,” Furse told Global News
Riding the HSR was not much better as up to 50 buses were stuck in snow during peak hours in the morning and 50 others running over five minutes late.
Maureen Cosyn Heath, the city’s director of transit, said as of late Monday afternoon the HSR was still trying to get back on track to regular service.
“We are working on recovery right now, largely contingent upon the plows being able to get the streets plowed and once they get the streets plowed, then they’ll move into clearing out the bus stops and the shelters in the coming days,” Cosyn Health said.
Riders in St. Catharines had it worse than their Hamilton counterparts as the service had to be stopped altogether in the early afternoon due to the vast accumulations.
It was able to get back on track after a few hours of downtime.
The acting director for transportation operations & maintenance said the city’s ploughs and salters were actually prepared on the weekend for Monday’s pending onslaught of snow.
However, Mike Field said removal efforts were challenging simply due to the sheer volume.
“This is in fact one of the larger snowfalls we’ve received in the past couple of years, and in some areas we were looking at 40 centimeters plus of snowfall,” Field told Global News.
Ploughs will be busy for at least the next couple of days since the forecast is calling for winds around 50 km/h which will blow a lot of snow that’s already been cleared.
“So when we pass by roadways that we’ve cleared, sometimes we’re going back again a second time just to clear off areas where the snow is held up again,” said Field.
Close to 160 pieces of city owned and contracted equipment were deployed during the weather event
The exec expects most residential roadways will be cleared by sometime on Tuesday.
He says some of the thing Hamiltonians can do to help with effort is to stay off the roadways and to try not to park on the street if possible.
“And then the other big thing, of course, is patience,” Field said.
“It does take time and … with a lot of snow that fell, patience is another part that we asked for during this time.”