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More than 500 crashes reported around Toronto during messy winter storm

It's a cold, slow and dangerous day for motorists across Southern Ontario as the entire region works to recover from a fierce winter storm that, apparently, isn't even over yet.

Heavy snow and freezing rain made for treacherous road conditions in and around Toronto this weekend, resulting in hundreds of collisions since the storm hit early Sunday.

"We've had about 500 crashes already in the last 24 hours just here in the GTA," says OPP Sgt. Kerry Schdmit. "The majority of those are ones that OPP officers were called to... there's also been many more that we were never notified of, and many more that went straight to collision reporting centres."

Schmidt says that, while highways have already been plowed and salted, lingering snow is making it hard to differentiate lane markings, obscuring shoulders and off-ramps.

Snow plows are also getting stuck in the same heavy traffic as regular motorists — some of whom aren't behaving to begin with — compounding the problem.

"Take it easy out there and make sure you give yourself lots of extra time to get where you're going," Schmidt advised drivers on Twitter Monday morning.

"Let's not have this number of crashes continually skyrocket."

At least two people have been killed on area highways so far a result of the storm — one, a 24-year-old woman whose jeep collided with a truck in the Niagara region, the other, a 33-year-old man involved in a 30-40 vehicle pileup near Kingston.

No fatalities have yet been reported within the City of Toronto, though 12 vehicles were involved in a collision near Davenport and Avenue Roads on Sunday.

Toronto Police continue to report collisions as the work day gets underway and are asking drivers not to pass snow plow operators.

City plows will be out in full force clearing the streets until "late Monday evening," according to municipal officials.

Even those who've stayed off the roads or inside their homes altogether were negatively impacted by yesterday's onslaught of ice and wind.

Toronto Hydro reported a mass power outage in the city's west end on Sunday evening after a large tree branch was blown onto a wire.

Thousands of people were without power for more than 12 hours as crews worked to restore service amidst brutal weather conditions.

Snow is expected to taper off Monday afternoon as the Colorado low that's been moving through Southern Ontario finally leaves, but Weather Network meteorologist Dr. Doug Gillham warns that conditions may not improve much.

"Monday night will be clear and cold, so untreated surfaces may become icy again," he said of Toronto-area roads. 

And then there's the threat of falling ice as things warm up through the GTA.

Toronto Police reported around 11:15 a.m. that a "large piece of ice hanging from building" was spotted near the northwest corner of St. Clair Avenue and Yonge Street.

"Appears it will fall off," wrote police on Twitter of the ice hunk. "Sidewalk closed to pedestrians."

Commuters would be best advised to watch for frozen surfaces when out and about today, under their feet, under their tires and above their heads.

Lead photo by

Sgt. Kerry Schmidt

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