Yet another winter storm is dumping snow across southern Ontario, Quebec and the Maritimes today, giving us yet another reminder of what winter is supposed to be like in Canada.
The snow started to fall around midnight in southern Ontario. By sunrise it was coming down pretty hard, with snow squalls off of the west end of Lake Ontario adding whiteout conditions around the Golden Horseshoe and through the central regions of southwestern Ontario.
Morning commuters have been navigating through treacherous roads and highways across southern Ontario so far. Venturing either into or out of the well-worn tire grooves in the snow is a dicey prospect, at best, and apparently even following along in those 'tracks' is no guarantee of safety.
The Ontario Provincial Police Twitter feed has reported over 100 accidents around the Toronto area so far, starting off early at one every few minutes and steadily growing worse as the morning as progressed, so that there's now nearly one every minute.
Commuters aren't the only ones dealing with these hassles. Pedestrians are enduring a snowy, slushy walk and gusting winds today. Anyone travelling into or out of the storm's reaches are having to deal with numerous flight cancellations and delays. Toronto Pearson Airport has reported about 200 cancellations so far, and more flights might be called off before the end of the day.
Weather warnings that were issued last night for just around the western end of the GTA, Hamilton and Niagara were expanded to include regions from Windsor to Goderich and all the way east to Kingston, and with sights like this greeting people this morning, it's not surprising:
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A poll conducted just last week by The Weather Network showed that 75 per cent of of the nearly 40,000 Canadians who responded to the poll are sick of this winter already. All of this is a hassle, for sure, but is this winter really all that bad compared to what we're used to (or perhaps what we should be used to)?
It's definitely been much colder than we've seen the past few years (at least due to the wind chills), and there's been a lot more snow than the past few years as well. So far, Toronto has seen more than double what fell by the end of January last year, and nearly triple what fell by this time the winter before. Looking back further, though, the city is pretty close to the average amount of snow, at least for the winters between 1981 and 2010. The season's not over yet, either, and February and March are known for having some pretty big snowstorms pass through. So, the snow we have isn't going anywhere anytime soon, and we're very likely to get even more on top of it (regardless of what some of the groundhog forecasters have been saying this year).
When it comes down to it though, we are Canadians, and we're supposed to be used to this kind of weather. There's a lot of dire predictions due to global warming and climate change that threaten to take the 'snowy' part of our national identity away. However, since a lot of our character seems to come from enduring this kind of weather, I sincerely hope that we can do something about the problem soon, so that our tolerance for winter doesn't completely slip away.
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