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Toronto, GTA begin to dig out from first significant snowfall of year

Last Updated Jan 19, 2020 at 1:24 pm EST

The first significant snowfall of the new year – and the new decade – proved to be one for the record books.

Environment Canada says 16 cm of snow fell in Toronto and across the GTA which unofficially makes it the snowiest January 18 since they began keeping records, almost doubling the old snowfall record which was set back in 1987. Some areas outside the GTA were forecast to receive up to 20 cm of snow.

The weather agency says the snow has now tapered off, turning into showers or wet flurries as temperatures edge above zero through the overnight. But those temperatures are expected to plunge throughout the day Sunday.

Some 1,500 City of Toronto workers along with 200 salt trucks and 1,100 pieces of machinery are now tasked with clearing the 9,500 city streets, which spokesperson Eric Holmes said will take about 16 hours to complete.

“They’ll work all night, clearing the roads,” said Holmes. “Sometime tomorrow afternoon, if you still haven’t seen a plow or you don’t think you’ve seen a plow that’s when I would wait to call 311.”

Now that most of the precipitation has eased, the attention turns to the gusting winds which could be as strong as 70 km/h across the GTA. Gusts approaching 100 km/h had been recorded in the Port Colborne region of Niagara where several wind warnings have been issued.

Damage to buildings, such as to roof shingles and windows, may occur alongwith isolated power outages, according to Environment Canada.

The winds are expected to diminish overnight into Sunday morning.

Provincial police say there more than 250 collisions had been reports in and around the GTA since the snow started falling this morning while Toronto, Peel and York Region police were also kept busy with numerous collisions and stuck vehicles. No serious injuries were reported.

Pearson airport experienced delays and cancellations as a result of the snow event. They are reminding everyone to check their flight status before leaving for the airport as operations return to normal.