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First major snowfall ushers in bitter cold across the GTA

Last Updated Jan 19, 2019 at 8:28 pm EST

One of several crashes on Toronto streets following the first major snowstorm of the season. CITYNEWS/Ken Townsend

The snow continues to fall across the GTA as bitterly cold temperatures welcomed the first major snowfall of the season Saturday.

Toronto is under a special weather statement from Environment Canada with accumulation expected to be around five to 10 centimetres near Lake Ontario and up to five centimetres north of Highway 7.

A large part of Southern Ontario is also under a winter storm warning, including Burlington and Oakville, where snowfall amounts of up to 25 centimetres are expected.

680 NEWS weather specialist Denise Andreacchi says we can expect to see about one centimetre per hour and that will continue through the early evening.

As of 2 p.m. Saturday, Toronto police said they had responded to a total of 25 collisions across the city while OPP Sgt. Kerry Schmidt says they had investigated over 200 crashes across GTA highways in the past 24 hours.

The CAA says they’ve responded to more than 556 rescues in Toronto alone and they anticipate around 900 calls on Sunday, the majority being for battery boosts due to the chilly overnight temperatures.

An extreme cold warning is also in effect for Toronto, Mississauga, Brampton and other parts of southern Ontario. Wind chills are expected to fall to near -30 by Sunday morning and will remain in that range for most of the day with wind gusts of between 60 to 70 km/h. Environment Canada says the warning is in effect until Tuesday.

Toronto’s medical officer of health has also issued an extreme cold weather alert for the city until further notice.