A year ago, Toronto spent millions to dig out from nearly 50 cm of snow

A year ago, Toronto spent millions to dig out from nearly 50 cm of snow
A year ago, Toronto spent millions to dig out from nearly 50 cm of snow

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Southern Ontario has had its fair share of memorable snowstorms, and the Jan. 17, 2022 event is one Torontonians, in particular, won't be forgetting any time soon.

The major city and other southern Ontario communities were blasted by a significant winter storm that brought rapid snowfall and accumulations of 55 cm in some areas. Toronto recorded a wide range of totals -- anywhere from 33 to 48 centimetres -- depending on where you were in the city.


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The event yielded one of the top 10 highest snowfall amounts ever recorded at Toronto's Pearson International Airport (33 cm). The storm was accompanied by extremely cold temperatures.

The snow fell at a rate of up to five centimetres per hour, much more than what is considered heavy (defined as at least one cm an hour). Just for context, any storm that brings at least 10 cm of snow to the city is considered to be a significant event for Toronto.

Toronto snow/Mark Robinson
Toronto snow/Mark Robinson

(Mark Robinson/The Weather Network)

Toronto's biggest snowstorm in years resulted in numerous accidents and road closures, with police temporarily shutting down the Don Valley Parkway and Gardiner Expressway. Road closures were reported elsewhere in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA), as well.

The Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) reported dozens of collisions throughout the GTA, with vehicles spinning out, losing control and getting caught in the snowbanks, or ending up in the ditch amid the slick conditions.

There were reports of motorists becoming trapped on Highway 401, some having been stuck on the roadway since the morning hours.

WATCH: January 2022 snowstorm declared one of the costliest in Toronto's history

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In addition to vehicle impacts, Pearson International Airport (CYYZ) shut down in the mid-afternoon until 6:30 p.m., due to a lack of taxiway routes and gates.

As well, the City of Toronto declared a special "major snowstorm condition" to help crews remove snow on streets as quick as possible.

City of Toronto spent more than $17 million on snow removal

A city staff report released in March 2022 pegged the cost of the snow removal effort at more than $17 million -- approximately 20 per cent of the annual winter maintenance budget for Transportation Services.

The snowstorm required several rounds of plowing on all roads, sidewalks and bike lanes, removing almost 180,000 tonnes of snow.

Contains files from digital writers at The Weather Network.

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