Toronto is bracing for another winter storm, only two weeks after the city was slammed by a historic snowfall from which it is still recovering.
Environment Canada has issued a travel alert for Toronto ahead of a system that is predicted to dump 10 to 20 centimetres of snow on the city by Thursday morning.
Rain showers will turn to snow later this afternoon, according to the weather service, with snowfall expected to last through the night and into Thursday morning.
On Wednesday and Thursday, it is advising drivers to expect “dangerous conditions.”
In advance of the arrival of the storm, the TTC said that it would implement an “enhanced severe weather plan,” which will include the deployment of 50 additional buses on the roads as well as the “proactive” closure of the Scarborough RT “until weather permits it to re-open.” A total of 25 shuttle buses will be providing replacement service along the route.
The transit commission also said that it would be storing subway trains in tunnels along the main lines overnight to avoid any issues getting them out of storage yards in the morning.
During the storm two weeks ago, hundreds of TTC buses ended up stuck in the snow and there were significant impacts on subway service along the portions of Line 1 and 2 that run above ground.
Meanwhile, the city is pausing snow removal efforts that have been ongoing since the Jan. 17 storm to ensure that resources can be focused on clearing roads and sidewalks.
It has said that 600 snow plows, 200 salt tracks and 350 sidewalk plows will be available.
“What we have done is move all the plows and trucks and so on into positions around the city so they are actually positioned to begin plowing once it starts to snow. In the meantime they are starting with the brining and salting operations as soon as the rain starts to freeze so we will be as prepared as possible,” Mayor John Tory told CP24 on Wednesday morning. “They will be plowing later on today and overnight very aggressively and once the plowing is done they will return to the snow removal operation.”
Crews have hauled away nearly 100,000 tonnes of snow over last two weeks
The storm two weeks ago dumped 55 centimetres of snow on some parts of Toronto, which is more snow than the city typically receives during the entire month of January.
Since then crews have hauled away over 92,000 tonnes of snow to five dumping sites but that work remains ongoing and will likely be complicated by the latest snowfall.
“The good news is that this is not going to be as intense a storm as the record snowstorm we witnessed on January 17. This time the snow is falling over a longer period of time, which will allow us to salt and plow the roads effectively but it’s still a lot of snow,” General Manager of Transportation Services Barbara Gray said during a briefing on Tuesday. “I know the last thing people want to see right now is more snow and that certainly includes myself and all of our crew members who have been working non-stop for the past two weeks but let me assure you that it’s an all hands on deck ahead of the storm. We will be plowing as hard and fast as we can to ensure our roads are safe and passable for the morning.”
Gray claims that the snow removal done thus far has left the city in a “far better position” than it would have been otherwise ahead of the storm.
However, she noted that there is still a large amount of snow on some local roads, and that plowing operations are expected to affect several curb lanes.
“We are advising all residents who are able to do so to move vehicles that are parked on snow routes now if you can to let salters and plows to proceed through their operations more swiftly,” she said.
Source_ The Canadian Press