Midwest blizzard brings heavy snowfall, powerful winds to southern Ontario

A massive winter storm pushed into southwestern Ontario last night, turning roads into a slushy, slippery mess and causing scores of flight cancellations at Pearson International Airport.

With the mix of rain and heavy, wet snow overnight, hazardous driving conditions are being reported across southwestern Ontario and the Greater Toronto Area, making for a miserable commute this morning. Adding to the difficulty are the persistent mild temperatures, which is turning this wet snow into slush, making driving even more difficult and turning city sidewalks into a nightmare for anyone not wearing hip waders.

“The biggest impact from this one will be a slower drive on Wednesday to work," said meteorologist Geoff Coulson, according to The National Post. "The Wednesday evening commute will also be affected,” he said. “Because temperatures will be around freezing point, some GTA regions will be more wet and others more slippery.”

The combination of this wet, snowy weather and strong winds has also grounded multiple flights this morning, with Toronto's Pearson Airport reporting 140 departure cancellations and just as many cancelled arrivals, all to and from destinations impacted by this storm.

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Also, with some sewer grates blocked up due to last night's snow piling on top of what's already on the ground, pooling and flooding is being reported. According to CP24.com, a Toronto Police official said that the pockets of flooding on the QEW were “too many to count,” and flooding was also reported at ramps on and off the Gardiner Expressway, as well as at Bayview and Bloor, Allen Road and along Royal York Road.

Several power outages have been reported throughout southwestern Ontario and around the GTA from last night and this morning, including around 5,000 residents in Markham, 3,500 in Toronto and another 1,800 or so in Mississauga, all believed due to wet switches and other wet-weather-related issues.

In the Twitterverse, the storm is being referred to as 'Slushmageddon', with a few people sharing their opinions

and some choice pictures of the conditions outside,

with some appropriate replies,

The heavy snow and powerful winds from this storm — named Winter Storm Rocky by the U.S. Weather Channel — are responsible for shutting down air traffic across the Midwest and bringing most roads across the region to a standstill on Tuesday, stranding travelers and causing at least two deaths due to the hazardous driving conditions.

At the same time, this wide-ranging system has been sending strong thunderstorms across the U.S. Southeast, with heavy rainfall and wind gusts causing at least another two deaths, in Georgia, due to downed trees. Much of southern Georgia and central Florida were under tornado watches on Tuesday, and a waterspout was reported in the Tampa area.

A man walks among snow-laden cars and trees in Kansas City, Missouri on Tuesday, Feb. 26, 2013

Tens of thousands were without power at various times of the day, due to either the heavy snow, ice accumulation or powerful winds, adding to the difficulties from this storm.

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The combination of heavy snow and strong winds is already moving across eastern Ontario this morning, with forecasts calling for 5-10 cm of snow across eastern Ontario and southern Quebec before the end of the day, and reduced visibility due to blowing snow. Areas near the shores of Lake Ontario and along the St. Lawrence River will likely receive more of a wet mix, with a brief shot of freezing rain possible.

With this storm moving through the area so slowly, periods of wet snow are expected to last throughout the day and overnight tonight, dropping another 2-5 cm on top of what we're already getting. With temperatures lingering around the freezing mark, 'slushmaggedon' will persist overnight tonight, with some local areas with more freezing, and since more wet flurries are expected on Thursday, this will ensure that Ontarian aren't going to be done with this miserable weather anytime soon.

(Photo courtesy: Keith Myers / The Kansas City Star / The Associated Press)

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