Toronto crews prepare for first blizzard of 2011
The director of transportation for the City of Toronto says residents on side streets could be the worst hit in the city’s next big storm.
Weather forecasters are warning that southern Ontario will experience a severe snowstorm beginning Tuesday night and continuing into Wednesday afternoon.
Peter Noehammer is in charge of the city’s snow-plowing operations. He said to accelerate the clean-up along side streets, people should avoid parking their cars on the side of the streets.
“Side streets take about 16 hours to plow, so people should have a little patience,” he said. “Our objective is to have main streets and side streets plowed by Thursday.”
Meteorologist for Environment Canada, Geoff Coulson believes Toronto will receive 20 to 30 centimetres of snow.
“Flurries will start Tuesday morning and … turn into light snow and will intensify and be the heaviest from 1 a.m. to 1 p.m. Wednesday,” Coulson said. “This snowstorm is particularly noteworthy because we generally expect these storms to be coming from the Texas area, but this snowstorm is coming from the Prairies and there’s significant amount of moisture.”
Coulson said this winter southern Ontario hasn’t received many snowstorms compared to past winters, but he said this snowstorm won’t be the last.
“We do have a bit of winter left to go,” he said. “Right now it’s too early to tell, but we do expect winter to go until March,” Couslon said.
Noehammer said he and his staff are prepared.
“Right now, we’re monitoring the snow, but when the snow starts to come down we put salt on the roads so it doesn’t turn into ice,” he said. “When it starts to hit two-to-three centimetres we’ll go onto the expressways. At five centimetres we’ll start plowing the main roads, bus routes and routes for emergency vehicles; after eight centimetres we start plowing the local side streets.”
Right now there are 1,600 people involved in winter operations, Noehammer said.
“We have 200 salt truck dispatched, 600 snow plows and 300 sidewalk plows,” he said.
Coulson said this snowstorm might also be noteworthy because it will be the first time since Feb. 6, 2008, that Pearson International Airport will be hit with 30 cm of snow on the ground.
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