Commuters board a TTC bus at Pape and Mortimer avenues on March 1. Both Environment Canada and Toronto's Road Operations advise people to take public transit instead of driving their own vehicles. The heaviest snowfall is expected during the evening rush hour.

Toronto braces for major winter storm

1,300 snow plows ready as over 20 centimeters of snow expected overnight

A major winter storm is expected to hit the Greater Toronto Area, Southern Ontario and parts of Southern Quebec today, according to Environment Canada.

Toronto is ready for it, says Hector Moreno, manager of road operations for the city’s transportation services.

A total of 1,300 snow removal vehicles — including 200 road salters, 600 road plows and 300 sidewalk plowing machines — are to be deployed throughout the duration of the storm, Moreno said.

“Our major challenge are the morning and afternoon rush hours,” Moreno says. “It is difficult to manoeuver around the increased number of vehicles. We also must ensure that a line of salting is done by 6 p.m.”

Blowing snow, caused by wind gusts of 70 kilometres per hour, are expected for cities along Lake Ontario, Environment Canada says.

In Toronto, snowfall will begin Tuesday afternoon and intensify into the evening. More than 20 centimetres of snow is expected to fall during the night. Areas around Lake Erie are expected to see freezing rain and freezing ice pellets.

Clearing of residential roads and local streets will take 14 to 18 hours to complete, as road crews are only deployed in these areas after eight centimeters of snow has fallen, Moreno says.

To help with the cleanup process, Moreno lists some tips for Torontonians:

  • Try not to park on city roads to allow easier access for snow plows.
  • Clear sidewalks in front of your property.
  • Do not push snow onto the road or street in front of your property.
  • Take public transit.

Road operations are expected to be clearing roads well into Wednesday afternoon.