Toronto hopes to clear snow by week's end, but forecasts suggest more winter weather looms
The City of Toronto says it hopes to finish clearing snow left behind from last weekend's major snowstorm in the coming days, but meteorologists say there may be more snow in store later this week.
Barbara Gray, transportation services manager for the City of Toronto, says snow plowing operations are mostly completed and crews are focusing on cleaning up blocked sidewalks and bike lanes, and will start to remove snow from large piles that are restricting traffic.
"I'm hopeful that we'll get it all done this week. That's the hope," said Gray.
Residents and contractor crews have been busy digging out from the 20 to 30 centimetres of snow dumped on top of the Greater Toronto Area Friday night into Saturday morning.
Starting Monday, the city and police will begin enforcing a declared "major snowstorm condition," which prohibits the parking of cars in snow routes. Vehicles that remain in these areas will be ticketed and towed, and Gray says the city will extend this condition until all snow clearing operations are complete.
Meteorologists also say there is the potential for more winter weather to hit the region in the coming days.
Geoff Coulson, a warning preparedness meteorologist with Environment Canada, says forecasts show two storm systems could pass through the GTA at the end of this week and the start of next week. If snowfall isn't cleared by then, the snow will likely layer on top of what's already on the ground.
"Whether it's going to give us as much snow as this [last] one did, it's still too early to tell," said Coulson.
"But as we go through the week and get closer to the the approach of this storm, we may well start to see some statements coming from Environment Canada."
Coulson says last Friday's storm was "quite significant" and the heaviest we've seen this season, with Toronto Pearson Airport picking up 24 centimetres Friday night into Saturday morning. Places like Scarborough and Newmarket got 32 centimetres of snow, while areas like Brampton got 27 centimetres.
CBC Toronto Meterologist Colette Kennedy says the snow made for rough conditions, such as slushy sidewalks with areas that still had ice build-up from previous snowstorms that pose a danger for people with mobility concerns.
But if the rest of March continues with the above freezing temperatures the region also saw this weekend, removing snow might not be as difficult, she says.
"We see a lot of melting occurring which helps to take care of the accumulations," said Kennedy.
The city could end up seeing five to 10 centimetres of snow this Friday, Kennedy said. For now, winter lovers should take advantage of the last-minute snow after a mild winter, she added.
"Some good news for those who enjoy winter sports as it has been a very challenging season," said Kennedy.
"The pattern turns mild again after the next two weeks or so ... March may indeed go out like a lamb."