Dec 23, 2022

By Christine Ross

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A major winter storm is bearing down on the GTA and the entire province causing havoc on the roads.

OPP Sgt. Kerry Schmidt says a section of the 401 west of London is shut down after multiple accidents.

“Multiple crashes, reports of up to 100 vehicles or more, between Tilbury and Colonel Talbot Road, the 401 is closed in both directions and I also have been advised that highway 402 in its entirety has been shut down because of the weather conditions.”

It’s also difficult getting around using public transit.

There’s no service at 41 TTC bus stops across the city but spokesman Stuart Green says the agency plans to add extra staff and vehicles to ensure service will not be interrupted.

“If you have to leave the house today, leave the car at home and take transit, we’ll get you there safely, it may take a little longer than normal,” says Green. “The other things that I would tell people to do is check our website, subscribe to E alerts, check Twitter, all of the information will be there on impacted routes.”

GO Transit is also reminding riders to check schedules and plan ahead.

By 1:30 Friday afternoon, 80,000 customers were without power across the province. Hydro One spokesperson Meaghan Collie says crews are working to get power restored.

“There could be a delay in restoration time if these blizzard like conditions do materialize, if there is a flash freeze our crews may be prevented from heading to the sites as quickly as they typically might but they are dedicated to getting on site as quickly and safely as possible.”

WestJet has cancelled all flights in and out of Toronto’s Pearson on one of the busiest travel days of the year. And overall, one third of all departures and arrivals in and out of Pearson have been cancelled.

Tori Gass with the Greater Toronto Airport Authority says many of the cancellations are resulting from the storm’s impact in Vancouver and the US.

“I would say that today is probably the highest cancellation rates we’ve seen and that’s due to WestJet’s operation and the decision they made so we have to keep that in mind, otherwise we’re doing pretty good at Pearson.”

Operation Commander with Toronto Paramedic Services Darcy Brebner on how the storm is impacting emergency services.

“We obviously always prioritize the high acuity calls and we send ambulances based on those priorities and will respond to those patients in a timely fashion, our travel times may be a little bit impacted but an ambulance will be on the way, we ask everyone with a medical emergency to please call 9-1-1.”

But for more minor emergencies. Brebner says people should call 811 or visit a pharmacy or walk-in clinic.

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