Winter storm in Toronto causes school closures, transportation delays on Tuesday

The winter storm in Toronto has resulted in a number of school closures and transportation delays on Tuesday.

The weather system, which is expected to bring a mix of snow, ice pellets and possibly freezing rain, will pound the region throughout the day.

A winter storm warning is in effect for Toronto with snow, at times heavy, mixed with ice pellets by the afternoon.

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Environment Canada said the precipitation will be accompanied by strong easterly winds gusting near 70 km/h.

Total snowfall and ice pellet of 15 to 25 cm is possible by the time snow tapers to flurries on Wednesday.

Officials are advising people to postpone non-essential travel until conditions improve.

Snow day for most Toronto-area schools

Some school boards across the Greater Toronto Area declared a snow day for students even before the snow started falling early Tuesday.

The Toronto District School Board, the largest school board in Canada with 246,000 students in 582 schools, called its first snow day since 2011. Toronto Catholic District School Board closed all its schools, too.

Meanwhile, schools in York and Durham region remain open but bus transportation has been cancelled.

A number of college and university campuses across the GTA were also forced to close for the day due to the storm.

Most post-secondary institutions issued the cancellation advisory the day before in anticipation of the rough weather conditions.

VIDEO: Come Tuesday, the cold snap that won’t quit, is slated to regain its grip on the region. Shallima Maharaj has the story.

Ontario Science Centre closed

In a rare move, the Ontario Science Centre was also closed for the day due to the weather.

In a media release, officials said all programs, special events and screenings are cancelled.

The last time the Ontario Science Centre was closed was in December 2013 during the ice storm.

In downtown Toronto, the Art Gallery of Ontario and the Royal Ontario Museum remains open as well as main tourist attractions.

Transportation Delays

The Toronto Transit Commission is warning commuters to expect delays throughout the day due to the snow accumulation and high winds, especially on bus and streetcar routes.

Officials at Toronto Pearson Airport have already reported a high number of flight cancellations on Tuesday.

As of 7:30 a.m., close to one third of all flight arrivals and departures have been cancelled due to the winter storm.

Passengers are strongly encouraged to check their flight status prior to arriving at the airport.

Snow clearing efforts and road conditions

Toronto city officials say they have been tracking the winter storm for several days and have snow clearing measures in place to deal with the changing conditions.

“Given the kind of storm we’re going to have, we have deployed all the resources. Every plow, every truck will be out there, every person,” Mayor John Tory said Tuesday.

“I hope if we have the cooperation of people who hopefully will act responsibly and safely, and not drive their cars when they don’t have to and frankly stay home. A lot of kids are staying home from school on this day so I just hope that everybody acts that way and we’ll get through this fine.”

Toronto police are also reminding motorists to avoid blocking streetcar tracks on city streets.

During last week’s winter storm, city officials raised the issue that a number of vehicles were parked next to snow banks and not allowing streetcars to pass.

Police are reminding motorists to drive according to the changing road conditions throughout Tuesday.

A number of collisions have been reported in Durham Region as vehicles veered off the roadway.

There may be a significant impact on the afternoon rush hour commute Tuesday as the storm intensifies.

Authorities say visibility may be reduced at times and it is advised to maintain a safe distance between vehicles.

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