freezing rain warning

Threat of nasty weather shuts down schools and buses all over the GTA

Thousands of students in and around the Greater Toronto Area woke up this morning to every kid's dream — or something like it — with their schools closed and buses being cancelled due to inclement winter weather.

But don't call it a snow day; these cancellations come courtesy of potential freezing rain, strong wind gusts and heavy precipitation.

Literally every region in southern Ontario is currently either under a special weather statement or have severe freezing rain warnings in place due to what Environment Canada calls a "significant rainfall and risk of freezing rain."

"Freezing rain is possible beginning this morning. However it is likely to mainly affect areas north of highway 401. Areas near the shores of Lake Ontario are likely to remain above the freezing mark, and as a result should receive only rain," reads an alert for the City of Toronto specifically.

"Rainfall amounts of up to 20 mm will be possible tonight, resulting in localized water ponding on roads."

Neighbouring regions including Halton-Peel, York-Durham, Waterloo-Wellington, Hamilton and Dufferin-Innisfil are in worse shape, however, with formal warnings in place that say freezing rain is "expected" today and likely to slick local roads.

"Significant freezing rain expected today," reads the alert for Halton, which warns of "freezing rain with ice accretion of 4 to 8 mm" and "strong easterly winds gusting up to 70 km/h leading to possible local power outages."

With the threat of icy roads, highways and sidewalks, not to mention a potential loss of power, some school boards have cancelled buses. Others, such as York Region and Waterloo, have decided to cancel classes altogether.

"Due to inclement weather, transportation services are cancelled and all schools and board locations are closed to students today, Wednesday, March 23, 2022," reads a statement issued shortly before 6 a.m. on Wednesday by the York Region District School Board (not to be confused with the York Catholic District School Board, which has only cancelled buses.)

"PARENTS Do NOT send your child to school today."

"Due to the current weather conditions, all school buses, taxis and special education routes are cancelled and all schools are closed. Extended Day Programs, Child Care Centres located in our schools, and our Education Centre are closed," wrote the Waterloo Region District School Board in a similar announcement.

But unlike those in York, students in Waterloo don't exactly get a day off. Instead, says the school board, "all WRDSB students will participate in a Weather Impacted Remote Learning day."

Did the pandemic-induced shift to virtual learning just kill snow days forever? Eek.

Schools within the Peel District School Board and the Halton District School Board remain open for in-person learning, though bus services have been cancelled in parts of both regions. Simcoe District has paused its entire school bus network for the day, though classes are still taking place in person.

Wherever life takes you on this miserable day, officials are asking all motorists to use caution and prepare to adjust their driving with changing road conditions.

And winter marches on...

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