Ontario Police urges drivers to stay home

Ontario Provincial Police said roads and highways across the province were covered in car accidents Sunday after a blast of winter weather brought snow squalls and icy conditions to parts of the province.

They’re not coming in one at a time, they’re coming in four, five and six at a time,” said Sgt. Dave Woodford, about the number of calls provincial police officers have been responding to since early Sunday.

We’re urging motorists if they don’t have to go out, don’t go on the roads,” said Woodford, adding some drivers were ignoring the weather conditions.

Officers received about 800 calls involving accidents or cars rolling into ditches on Sunday morning, said Woodford.

But by the afternoon, Woodford said it was too difficult to calculate how many accidents emergency officials had responded to.

It’s treacherous conditions. We’re seeing icy roads, zero visibility, and hundreds and hundreds of crashes,” he said.

Woodford said all major highways have been affected by the weather including Highways 400, 404, 407 and Highway 401.

In Hamilton, parts of Highway 403 were shut down.

Woodford said there have been no major accidents, but plenty of “fender benders.”

Nasty weather here to stay

According to Environment Canada, most of the province has been hit by the bad weather.

“Pick a region,” said Arnold Ashton, a severe weather meteorologist with Environment Canada. “There has been several that are problem areas.”

The Greater Toronto Area saw several centimetres of snow fall during the day.

The Niagara region and snow belts around Lake Huron and Georgian Bay have seen local snow squalls and upwards of 30 centimetres of snow.

“It’s so cold everywhere that the cold air [that] is overrunning the relatively mild waters of the Great Lakes generates these snow squalls,” said Ashton.

“It’s not pleasant being out, not only in your car, but if you have to be out walking for any duration it’s just not pleasant.”

Ashton said the bitter cold weather and snow squalls will likely continue for the rest of the week.