The latest developments regarding the great winter storm sweeping through much of Canada

A major winter storm hits Ontario and Quebec, causing flight cancellations, power outages and road closures. Bad weather is also expected in many other parts of the country. Here are the latest developments (all times Eastern):

7:45 p.m.

Authorities in British Columbia are warning drivers of the avalanche hazard created by a combination of heavy snowfall and freezing rain.

The Department of Transportation says there is a moderate to high avalanche hazard and parts of Highway 3 and Highway 1 are closed, including through the Fraser Canyon.

Highway 1 is closed near Jackass Mountain, northwest of Vancouver, while sections of the Fraser Canyon could face « extreme risk » by Saturday morning.

There are also dangerous road conditions on Highway 3 from Hope to Princeton and Princeton to Hedley, which last until Monday, and drivers are asked to avoid non-essential travel.

6:30 p.m.

Vancouver International Airport says 323 flights had been canceled as of 1:30 p.m. local time, while there were 22 departures and 32 arrivals.

It’s unclear how many flights remain delayed due to the convergence of snow, rain and ice over Metro Vancouver.

The airport says Air India and Singapore Airlines canceled flights today and are facing long delays over non-weather related issues.

He urges travelers to plan ahead and allow extra time to get to the airport, as ice and snow have caused major bridge and road closures in Metro Vancouver, as well as disruptions on the Canada Line.

5:15 p.m.

The Greater Toronto Airports Authority says nearly 39% of all flights departing Toronto Pearson International Airport today were canceled due to the winter storm.

It says just over 40% of all inbound flights were also canceled due to the storm.

Media relations adviser Tori Gass said the « vast majority » of cancellations are linked to WestJet’s decision on Thursday to halt flights after 9 a.m. today.

She says most of the other cancellations are related to other weather systems, including a storm in Vancouver and a weather system that hit the United States on Thursday.

4:45 p.m.

The president of the Ottawa Paramedics Association says all available paramedics have been deployed across the city.

Darryl Wilton says they’ve hired a roster of new paramedics who are encountering their very first big snowstorm.

Ottawa was hit with whiteout and blizzard conditions.

Wilton’s message to the public is: « For the love of Mother Nature, please slow down and move towards emergency vehicles. »

4:30 p.m.

The president of the Ontario Paramedics Association says high winds, freezing rain, blowing snow and icy roads and sidewalks are causing high numbers of ambulance calls.

Darryl Wilton says paramedic services are operating at « full level » across the province as regions receive calls for road-related events as well as slips, trips and falls and « everything you can imagine that we would have in a storm like this”.

He says slippery road conditions combined with closed and blocked roads make it difficult for paramedics to navigate to calls and create ground zero conditions, when there are no ambulance crews available to respond to a call.

The association asks people not to drive on the roads and advises anyone at the scene of a collision to stay in their vehicle unless it is absolutely necessary to leave it.

3:30 p.m.

The Ontario Provincial Police say all westbound lanes of Highway 401 in a stretch of central Ontario are closed due to visibility issues.

Part of the busy motorway is also closed between Tilbury and London as road conditions deteriorate.

The Ontario Provincial Police said up to 100 vehicles were involved in multiple collisions on the Highway 401 corridor in southwestern Ontario.

South Bruce OPP say Highway 21 was also closed between Amberley and Saugeen First Nation and snow plows stopped working, both due to high winds and the blowing snow.

2:45 p.m.

Forecasts of rain and freezing rain have reached Metro Vancouver and are adding to travel issues facing the south coast of British Columbia.

Two key bridges that handle the bulk of east-west traffic to and from Greater Vancouver and interior British Columbia have been closed due to the risk of falling ice.

Snow and ice can accumulate on cables that support bridges and drop so-called ice bombs on passing vehicles.

It is unclear when the Port Mann or Alex Fraser bridges are likely to reopen.

2:30 p.m.

Federal Transport Minister Omar Alghabra says he understands the frustrations of those who have had vacation travel plans upended by the storm.

Bad weather in parts of Canada is causing flight cancellations and delays.

WestJet canceled all flights at airports in Ontario, Quebec and British Columbia today, while Air Canada also canceled « a number of flights » in Ottawa, Montreal and Toronto.

Alghabra says the government is working with airports, airlines and industry partners to make sure everyone stays safe.

1:30 p.m.

Metrolinx, the parent company of GO Transit, says the winter storm is affecting bus and train service for its routes in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area.

It says there will be no anticipated door-to-door service due to the storm and advises customers to view an amended storm schedule on its website.

The Toronto Transit Commission has issued a number of alerts for several routes affected by the weather.

It says it has taken 41 bus stops out of service in hilly areas that are difficult to navigate in snowy and icy conditions, while Line 3 of the Scarborough Underground is also down.

1:15 p.m.

According to the Ontario Provincial Police, up to 100 vehicles have been involved in multiple collisions on the busy 401 Highway in southwestern Ontario.

sergeant. Kerry Schmidt says a section of the motorway is closed in both directions between Tilbury and London due to deteriorating road conditions.

Highway 402 was also closed in sections near London due to multiple collisions as a major storm moves through the province.

Schmidt says in an online video that the OPP is also seeing collisions near Cambridge as wind and snow cause whiteout conditions.

12:40 p.m.

Environment Canada is predicting freezing rain for much of British Columbia’s south coast, with the agency warning of ice accumulations between 5 and 25 millimetres.

Vancouver International Airport says freezing rain will arrive on 14 centimeters of snow that fell overnight.

According to BC Hydro, more than 5,000 customers are without power in the province, with the largest outages concentrated on Vancouver Island and the Lower Mainland.

Forecasters are eyeing the potential for flooding as temperatures reach 10C this weekend and 50 to 80 millimeters of rain are expected to inundate the region by Saturday evening.

12:20 p.m.

About 300,000 customers are without power as a major winter storm hits Ontario and Quebec.

Hydro-Québec indicates that more than 241,000 customers are without electricity at noon, with the most significant blackouts affecting the Capitale-Nationale, Outaouais, Estrie, Laurentides and Montérégie regions.

Meanwhile, Hydro One says more than 50,000 customers are without power across most of southern Ontario, while Hydro Ottawa says outages are currently affecting 11,500 customers.

About 30,000 customers are without power in central Ontario, with outages stretching from north of Peterborough to south of Algonquin Provincial Park.

11:45 a.m.

The Ontario Provincial Police are urging drivers to avoid unnecessary travel, saying motorists should stay off the roads if they can.

According to the Ontario Provincial Police, the roads are slippery and muddy and littered with downed trees and power lines.

The strength indicates that some areas are experiencing low to no visibility due to snow.

A section of busy Highway 401 was closed in both directions between London, Ont., and Tilbury, Ont., and several crashes were reported.

11:15 a.m.

Toronto Pearson International Airport and Ottawa International Airport advise travelers to check their flight status before departing for the airport.

WestJet has canceled all flights at airports in Ontario, Quebec and British Columbia, with affected airports including Toronto, Ottawa, London, Ont., Waterloo, Ont. and Montreal.

Air Canada says it canceled « a number of flights » in Ottawa, Montreal and Toronto today, including all of its flights departing from Toronto’s Downtown Island Airport.

11 a.m.

Hydro-Québec indicates that the Outaouais, Laurentides and Capitale-Nationale regions are currently the most affected by the winter storm.

It says crews are working to restore power to more than 200,000 customers.

Hydro One, Ontario’s largest electric utility, says crews already responded to « significant » power outages this morning as high winds battered parts of the province.

Utility outage map shows nearly 37,000 customers without power as of 10:40 a.m.

10:30 a.m.

Environment Canada is forecasting high winds, heavy snowfall and possible sudden freezing due to the major winter storm hitting Ontario and Quebec today.

The agency issued weather warnings for much of the two provinces.

Meteorologist Mitch Meredith says he’s « only seen a few storms like this in the last 20 years. »

The rain was followed by a drop in temperatures this morning in parts of southern Ontario, which the weather agency said could lead to flash freeze conditions.

This report from The Canadian Press was first published on December 23, 2022.

The Canadian Press


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