Most schools, colleges, universities, city services and other programs shut down in the Hamilton-Niagara area due to major winter storm ahead of the holiday weekend.
Public schools in Hamilton, Niagara, Brant County, Haldimand County and Halton Region joined McMaster University, Mohawk College, Brock University and Niagara College by shuttrering doors Friday amid blizzard-like conditions.
Hamilton, Burlington and St. Catharines closed down most city resources with Environment Canada suggesting the “major” storm wil continue through Saturday with wind gusts of 100 to 110 km/h resulting in widespread blowing snow reducing visibility.
The weather agency is not advising travel over the next 24 hours as are a number of police sevices in southern Ontario.
The storm knocked out power to close to 500 Alectra Utilities customers in Hamilton mainly around Hunter Street West to Robinson Street and Pearl Street South to James Street South.
Canadian Niagara Power say some residents in the Fort Erie and Port Colborne area have been without power since 8:30 a.m. Friday morning with estimated time of restoration unknown.
Roughly 300 residents in West Lincoln, 200 in Fenwick and Fonthill as well as 300 in the Welland-area have also had to endure similar outages.
The agencies said the causes of the outages varied and included downed wires, broken branches, equipment damage and broken poles.
Hamilton’s International Airport reported cancelled departures for all Swoop and Lynx Air flights on Friday and were only receiving a single Toronto flight out of five scheduled to land.
Flights from Ft. Lauderdale, Orlando, Punta Cana, and Moncton were some of those cancelled on Dec. 23.
The airport does remain open, though.
Canada Border Services (CBSA) said all it’s ports of entry into Canada across southern Ontario remained open Friday.
However some municipal, provincial and U.S. authorities closed highways and bridges that prevented traveller access to some border entry points.
More snow, high wind chill expected for Hamilton and Niagara Saturday
Environment Canada says at least another 5 to 10 cm of snow is likely to hit the Hamilton-area Friday night into the overnight Saturday.
The storm warning for St. Catharines also remains in effect with extreme winds up to 110 km/h possible and snowfall between 5 and 15 cm by Saturday morning.
The Fort Erie area will be hit harder with close to 25 to 50 cm by Saturday evening.
Wind chill values across the Hamilton and Niagara regions are expected be near -20 C right through until Sunday monring. The agency is warning of conditions that could bring on frost bite.
Cold weather alerts remain in effect Saturday for most muncipalities in southern Ontario which activates city-run recreation centre warming locations open to the public, including those considered vulnerable and experiencing homelessness.
A full list of options in Hamilton can be seen on the city’s website.
St. Catharines will once again open Market Square as a warming centre Saturday from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. to support vulnerable populations in the community.
Other cancellations and closures reported to Global News Friday that are expected to continue through Saturday include:
- All Hamilton Public Libraies (HPL) branches. Bookmobile visits, extended access and study halls are also cancelled. Call, email and chat services are available at HPL.ca
- Neighbour to Neighbour Centre & the Hamilton Community Food Centre is closed due to the inclement weather
- Calvin Christian School’s Hamilton and Caledonia campuses
- YWCA Hamilton child care programs in Hamilton and Dunnville
- Conseil scolaire catholique MonAvenir (in-person only, virtual learning remains open)
- Compass Community Health
- Burlington Public Library locations
The city of St. Catharines revealed a number of closures extended through the end of Saturday due to the winter storm. The facilities affected are:
- St. Catharines Museum and Welland Canals Centre
- Russell Avenue Community Centre and Port Weller Community Centre
- The Dunlop Drive and West St. Catharines Older Adult Centres
- St. Catharines Kiwanis Aquatics Centre
- Seymour-Hannah Sports and Entertainment Centre
- Bill Burgoyne Arena
The St. Catharines Farmers Market is also cancelled tomorrow (Dec. 24).
All branches of the St. Catharines Public Library and the FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre also closed.
Meridian Centre has also closed its doors.