Drivers stuck along major Toronto-area highways as winter storm blasts southern Ontario

Thousands of drivers out along Toronto-area highways are stuck in snow as a historic winter storm blasts southern Ontario on Monday morning.

OPP Sgt. Kerry Schmidt said drivers are stuck in a standstill along Highway 401 eastbound around Keele Street and is urging drivers to stay home.

“The biggest problem right now is the plows are stuck in this as well,” Schmidt said. “They can’t clear the highways, and you’re not going anywhere … if you’re stuck in traffic, you might be here a while.”

“Please if you haven’t left the driveway, stay home.” Schmidt said.

Over along the Highway 401 eastbound ramp to Highway 400, transport trucks have been stuck for hours and the drivers are trying to shovel their trucks out. The ramp is blocked, Schmidt said.

Read more: Southern Ontario wakes up to snowfall dump, blizzard warning lifted for most regions

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A photo of cars stuck along Highway 401 west of Keele Street on Monday, Jan. 17, 2022. MTO

Meanwhile, Toronto police temporarily shut down the Gardiner Expressway and the Don Valley Parkway.

“This is to help move any existing vehicles that are stuck and allow snow plows to clear the routes,” police said in a tweet issued shortly after 10 a.m.

Just before the closure was announced, northbound Don Valley Parkway was at a standstill due to a crash near Don Mills earlier in the morning. Motorists there reported being stuck in traffic for well over an hour.

Click to play video: 'Ontario sees ‘biggest winter storm’ in several years' Ontario sees ‘biggest winter storm’ in several years

Ontario sees ‘biggest winter storm’ in several years

Read more: Gardiner Expressway reopens, northbound DVP still closed following massive snowfall

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Environment Canada put Toronto, Peel York, Durham, Halton, Hamilton, and Niagara regions under a “blizzard” warning. That warning has since been lifted.

Snow accumulation of up to 60 cm is expected, Environment Canada said.

Wind gusts of up to 60 km/h will cause blowing snow resulting in widespread near-zero visibility, the weather agency continued.

Toronto Police Chief James Ramer said the city is facing a “serious” weather event.

“Toronto Police & other first responders are doing their best to keep our city safe. You can help by staying off the roads unless absolutely necessary & only using 911 in an emergency, an imminent threat to life/property,” Ramer said.

Dozens of TTC streetcars and buses across the city are also out of service due to the significant snowfall.

Global News’ Chief Meteorologist Anthony Farnell said as of just before 8 a.m., 37 cm of snow has fallen in Toronto’s east end. He said there is likely another 10 to 15 cm left of snow to fall.

“Sidewalk plows are doing their best. But it hasn’t snowed like this in years. If you don’t have to go anywhere don’t. Cars stuck all over the place,” Farnell said.

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