BY SOUTHGREY.CA STAFF –
Snow squalls have hit Grey and Bruce counties hard, just a few days prior to Groundhog Day.
Video: Radar Wednesday evening 9pm - 11pm, Ontario Storm Tracker.
Beginning Wednesday, January 30, severe weather took its toll on the region and continued overnight with snow squall warnings continuing until early Thursday evening. In some areas near Georgian Bay, over 30 cm of snow has fallen.
The Weather Network cautions that the most intense squalls are expected over the Bruce Peninsula and Tobermory with an additional 10 to 15 cm of snow possible by this evening. In addition, strong westerly winds are also producing areas of blowing snow giving further reduced visibilities.
Travel continues to be hazardous due to reduced visibility. OPP have issued road closures across the region. Many motorists became stranded overnight on county highways prompting the OPP in Grey Highlands to direct locally stranded motorists to the Markdale Arena. The arena will be open and provide a warm shelter until road conditions improve. OPP also advised that everyone should play it safe and stay home until the storm has passed and crews have adequately cleared all roads.
The weather mayhem is not restricted to the Grey-Bruce area. Early Thursday morning, a multi-vehicle accident caused Highway 11 to be closed north of Orillia. Conditions to the east of Georgian Bay were predicted to deteriorate throughout the day. Instant Weather Ontario reported that stationary snow squalls stretching from the Bruce Peninsula/Northern Bruce-Grey counties and inland between Orillia and Barrie blanketed the area with the full extent of squalls likely stretching all the way into the Kawartha Lakes and Lindsay region.
In a rare move, the Bluewater School District closed all schools within it's jurisdiction on Thursday, January 31. Buses were likewise cancelled.
Environment Canada (EC) has also issued an extreme cold warning for most of Ontario. A prolonged period of very cold wind chills reaching near -30°C are expected for the remainder of the work week. Although conditions should improve during the day on Thursday, wind chill values may approach -30°C again overnight and into Friday. Milder air is expected to move into the region as Friday progresses.
EC warns that the health risks of extreme cold weather are greater for young children, older adults, people with chronic illnesses, people working or exercising outdoors, and those without proper shelter.
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