GTA digs out of worst snowstorm in a decade

Aftermath marked by school cancellations and trapped cars

A snowy East York Avenue.
A lone shoveller on East York Avenue deals with the aftermath of the snowstorm. Alana Rayman/Toronto Observer

The GTA woke up on Jan. 27 to a record snowfall that brought 40 centimetres of snow, school cancellations, and many accidents and delays. The winter storm was deemed by the Weather Network as one of the worst  in 10  years.

A parking spot on East York Avenue shows the amount of snowfall from this week’s storm. (Alana Rayman/Toronto Observer)

Many commuters were caught off guard on their drive home the previous evening.  Victoria Reid was one of those  who received a rude awakening when she got on the Don Valley Parkway to drive to Ajax.  “It took me a whole four hours to get home,” she said. “Everyone had to drive really slow as it was so slippery, and visibility was hard, as well.”

Local residents had a lot to clean up after the storm and many decided just to stay home and shovel or look after their kids after many schools closed.

George Papadopoulos was one of those people in the Danforth area who spent most of the day at home but outside with his wife and kids, shovelling and playing in the snow. “We just woke up and saw all the snow and that school was cancelled, so we just decided to keep safe and stay home.”

For some it may of been more of a nuisance than a blessing.  Charles Robbins, who also lives in the Danforth area, took a long time  to dig out.  “I couldn’t even get the car out,” he said. “It’s almost midday and we’re still trying to dig out.”

Some drivers had it worse, getting stuck on the DVP or even abandoning their cars.  Many had to refill their tanks during their commute home, CP24 reported, leading to gas shortages across the city.

The impact of the storm also hit other modes of transportation. According to the Greater Toronto Airports Authority, Pearson International Airport, the storm resulted in 30 per cent of flights being cancelled and hundreds of delays, leaving people stranded until the storm eased up or runways could get cleared.

Metrolinx communications officer Jamie Robinson confirmed that several GO Train lines and UP express trains had delays because of the storm.  The UP express was running every 30 minutes instead of every 15 minutes. Some Lakeshore East GO Trains were able to reach only as far as Guildwood because of track issues later in the day.

The TTC had minor delays.  After a dismal commuting week last week, Paul Gaultier, who travels to Islington station, was glad he got to work.  “I came out earlier and trudged through tons of snow to get to Greenwood station,” he said. “I was glad there were hardly any delays, to my knowledge, and I even got to work a bit earlier despite the storm.”

The same couldn’t be said for the line 3 Scarborough RT, which was closed for three days because of snow and ice on the track.  Student Tasha Cassio had to use shuttle buses instead and it took a lot longer to arrive to school and get home.  

“I think that it’s inexcusable, because we live in a cold country and we rely on the TTC to get to school or work,” she said. “This sort of thing seems to be happening too often now.”

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Posted: Feb 7 2019 2:39 pm
Filed under: News