Winter weather is creating a bumpy start to the first day back to in-person classes since the holiday break in the London, Ont., region.
A snowfall warning issued by Environment Canada for London, Parkhill and eastern Middlesex County has now ended. Southwestern Ontario Student Transportation Services said buses are cancelled for the day in Elgin County, Oxford County and the Red Zone.
Parents and guardians can check to see if their child’s bus route is impacted on Southwestern Ontario STS’s website. The Thames Valley District School Board and London District Catholic School Board both have confirmed that schools remain open.
The national weather agency, meanwhile, is warning of the potential for significant snowfall Monday morning, with up to 15 centimetres possible throughout the day.
“A low-pressure system tracking south of the Great Lakes will bring significant snowfall to the region. Local blowing snow is also possible this afternoon and evening due to gusty northerly to northwesterly winds,” the agency said Monday morning.
The snow could fall as quickly as five centimetres per hour in the morning, potentially impacting visibility, meteorologists say. Blowing snow is also possible due to winds gusting to 60 km/h.
Speaking from Norfolk County at 7 a.m. Monday, Acting Sgt. Ed Sanchuk with West Region OPP headquarters said: “If you don’t have to go out today, please do me a favour, please stay at home.”
He also warned of visibility concerns and reported seeing several vehicles in ditches. For those who do head out on the roads Monday, Sanchuk reminded motorists to clear off all of the windows on their vehicles and to reduce their speed.
West Region OPP are reporting a number of minor collisions along the 401 and 402 highways in the London area.
Sanchuk is reminding drivers to pay attention and slow down.
“I have seen several vehicles attempting to cut in front of transport trucks and then slowing down. Unfortunately, these big rigs can’t stop on a dime, especially if they are loaded,” he said.
“We want to make sure everyone gets home safe to their families.”
Sanchuk said drivers need to take their time on the highways and ensure their vehicles are cleared of all snow before hitting the road.
London fire Platoon Chief Colin Shewell is also advising people to stay away from drainage ditches and ponds.
“We have had a very brief deep freeze and dumping of snow but we can’t stress enough for people to stay off the storm management ponds,” Shewell said.
He said that the ponds are filling with salt and other contaminants and that if you fall through the ice, it can be difficult to get out.