Major winter storm brings snow, thunder and lightning to parts of Ontario

Click to play video: '‘Thundersnow’ winter storm slams Toronto-area'
‘Thundersnow’ winter storm slams Toronto-area
WATCH ABOVE: Snow was not the only thing flashing throughout the Toronto-area sky on Friday — there was also "thundersnow." Ahmar Khan reports from Toronto in the middle of this frigid scene – Mar 4, 2023

TORONTO — A fierce winter storm that brought heavy snow, strong winds and even thunder and lightning to most of southern Ontario has largely come to an end.

Environment Canada meteorologist Haizhen Sun says between 22 and 30 centimetres of snow fell on the Greater Toronto Area as of 6 a.m. today.

Ottawa logged 14 centimetres of snow and Hamilton reported 15 centimetres.

Environment Canada lifted snowfall or Winter storm warnings for several hard-hit regions early Saturday morning, and snow is expected to taper off by the afternoon.

Dozens of flights in and out of Toronto’s Pearson International Airport were delayed or cancelled late Friday and early Saturday due to the weather, with airlines urging customers to check their flight status before leaving for airports in Toronto, Ottawa and Montreal.

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Tori Grass, a spokesperson for the Greater Toronto Airports Authority, says conditions at Pearson airport are improving, but the airport received a large amount of snow in a short period of time.

“The snow is also very heavy and high winds made snow clearing difficult throughout the night, but the pace of plane movements is picking up,” Grass said, describing proactive cancellations from some of the country’s airlines as “helpful.”

Grass said further flight delays and cancellations are still possible.

“We are also seeing staffing impacts for airport agencies, airlines and other partners as road conditions affect workers’ ability to reach Toronto Pearson,” Grass said. “Passengers may experience delays and longer than usual lines, but we expect the situation to continually improve throughout the day.”

Sun says the moisture-laden storm originated in Texas and developed very quickly, bringing heavy snow to much of the province.

“The storm will be over soon and it’s pulling out quickly,” Sun said in a phone interview. “We expect that it will pull out like early this afternoon.”

Snowfall and winter storm warnings remain in place for some parts of the province, including Ottawa, Kingston and other parts of eastern Ontario.

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Environment Canada is urging people to use caution when going out, saying surfaces like highways, roads, walkways and parking lots could be difficult to navigate because of the heavy snow.

Driving could also prove difficult, with slush or snow-covered roads creating treacherous conditions, and blowing snow possibly reducing visibility without warning.

Both Toronto Hydro and Hydro One reported only scattered power outages.

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