Ontario storm leads to power outages, flooding, 1,400 Toronto-area collisions

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A wintry storm brought rain, freezing rain and ice pellets to much of southern Ontario over the weekend, causing power outages, flooding and an ‘almost unprecedented’ 1,400 collisions on slippery Toronto-area roads.

The weather system affected most of southern Ontario on Saturday and Sunday, and freezing rain warnings were issued Sunday afternoon for parts of southern Quebec including Metro Montreal.

Ontario Provincial Police Const. Kerry Schmidt told CTV Toronto that there were about 700 reported collisions on Greater Toronto Area roads on Saturday and another 700 by dinnertime Sunday.

“It has been an overwhelming day,” Schmidt said. “Almost unprecedented in the number of crashes. Mostly single vehicles. Mostly property damages. No serious injuries thankfully to report.”

Schmidt said motorists need to remember that if they get into a collision, they should get off the road as quickly as possible. “Don’t be a distraction,” he said. “Steer and clear.”

As of Sunday evening, more than 42,000 customers in rural Ontario were without power, according to Hydro One. Toronto Hydro said thousands in the city were in the dark.

There were also outages in the Windsor area, which was expected to get up to 40 millimeters of rainfall by Sunday night, with up to 60 milimetres possible in some local areas. The heavy rains led to flooding and downed trees.

Toronto homeowner Ihor Borowetz had a tree fall on his property in the Mimico neighbourhood. He said he heard a “big crack of the tree limbs and … boom, the whole house shook.”

“We were pretty shaken but thank God nobody got hurt,” he said.

Geoff Coulson, a warning preparedness meteorologist with Environment Canada, told CTV News Channel that the rain could impact the Monday morning commute.

“We’ll still see some impacts from the storm Monday morning in terms of the last of the rain,” said Coulson. “It could be a sloppy commute for a lot of folks on Monday morning.”

Toronto Mayor John Tory said clean-up crews were “well-equipped” to handle the mess, despite not being at peak winter capacity.

“We just have to hope the rest of the weather event is something that we can get through, and then maybe spring will actually be here,” he told reporters earlier on Sunday.

Toronto’s Pearson Airport and Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport urged passengers to check the status of their flights before heading to the airport, as hundreds of flights had been cancelled, including nearly all flights at Billy Bishop.

Pearson airport said late Sunday that while operations were “moving steadily,” people should continue to check the statuses of their flights on Monday.

“Higher than normal passenger volumes (are) expected early this week as passengers are rescheduled for departure,” the airport said on Twitter.

With files from The Canadian Press

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