Clocks may have sprung ahead, but winter weather is wreaking havoc on the GTA

Doubling tarmac time limit among changes denounced by airline passenger rights advocates

The winter began with a lamblike ease, but it's roaring like a lion during these final days — grounding and delaying planes, slowing traffic and cancelling evening classes in Toronto and southern Ontario. 

Snowfall began in the early afternoon and, as of 3 p.m., the boards at Toronto's Pearson airport began to emit that frustrating red and yellow glow. 

Sit tight, travellers

At least 48 departing flights have been cancelled through to 8 p.m., while 60 more have been delayed. The Billy Bishop airport, however, saw only four delays and one cancellation as of 4 p.m.

Most of those travellers had been flying elsewhere in Ontario, Montreal or the northeastern United States, all of which are being hit by the effect of two low-pressure systems colliding over the U.S. eastern seaboard, according to the Weather Network. 

Between 10 and 15 centimetres are expected to blanket Toronto through the afternoon, while Hamilton and the Niagara region could see upwards of 30 centimetres of the white stuff, according to Environment Canada.

Grounded in Toronto 

It proved poor timing for Brandon Thomas's first trip to Canada. 

The music producer and musician was here to do some work with Drake, but had planned to catch a flight Monday evening to perform at the venerable South by Southwest Music Festival in Austin, Tx. 

But the weather has got him grounded until Wednesday.

"I know it's snowing and stuff, but I got a concert, you know what I mean?" Thomas said. "I have stuff to do."

The weather also slowed traffic around the region, with Ontario Provincial Police issuing a warning to motorists to match their speed to the poor weather. 

"If you're driving make sure you give yourself lots of time," OPP traffic spokesperson Sgt. Kerry Schmidt said from Highway 403 in Mississauga. "It's going to be one of those days."

He noted that he'd already pulled someone over for using her phone in the car, a move he described as "unbelievably dangerous" given the lack of visibility.

Classes cancelled

At least one institution noted that they'd be cancelling evening classes because of the storm. 

CBC Toronto will continue to provide updates about travelling and transit delays and cancellations throughout the evening.