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Toronto prepares for commute home as winter storms shuts down community centres, schools

Last Updated Feb 12, 2019 at 2:29 pm EST

A snow-covered road in Toronto, as seen on Feb. 12, 2019. CITYNEWS

It’s going to be a messy commute home as ice pellets, blowing snow and possible freezing rain hamper Toronto and the GTA.

A winter storm warning remains in effect for the region. Environment Canada is predicting 15 to 20 centimetres to accumulate by the time the storm tapers off on Wednesday. Strong winds gusts near 70 km/h could also significantly reduced visibility, according to the weather agency.

Salt trucks hit the streets early this morning and snowplows are out clearing arterial roads.

However, the city says it won’t be able to plow side streets until the storm ends. They expect to begin local snow clearing around midnight Wednesday and for the operation to take about 18 hours.

Temperatures are forecast to reach a high of 0 C, leading to a risk of freezing rain, said City News weather specialist Denise Andreacchi.

Worsening weather throughout the day resulted in early closures for community centres, attractions and several college and university campuses in the GTA and surrounding areas.

The City of Toronto cancelled indoor recreation and aquatic programs at all of its facilities as of 12 p.m. Toronto Public Library branches closed at 2 p.m. and Toronto Animal Services shelters planned to close at 4:30 p.m.

There are also flight delays and cancellations at Pearson International Airport and Billy Bishop Airport. Travellers are advised to check with their airline before leaving home.

Children in Toronto, Peel and Halton were treated to a snow day as school boards closed schools and cancelled buses.

Schools in York and Durham regions stayed open for the day but school buses, night classes and several evening recreation programs were cancelled.

Click here for a full list of school bus cancellations and school closures in the GTA and surrounding area.

More flurries and strong winds are expected for Wednesday as well.

Representatives from the City of Toronto and TTC say they are prepared for the evening commute. Watch below.