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South Ontario Icestorm knocking out power, causing clashes



TORONTO – More than 40,000 people were out of power and a bustling airport in Toronto had to close on Sunday as southern and central Ontario was struck by another day of freezing rain and ice pellets.

Environment Canada released weather alerts for the entire region for the second consecutive day, advising that high winds could aggravate even dangerous conditions.

Toronto's downtown Billy Bishop Airport canceled all outbound flights and received only one arrival all day on Sunday, while more than 600 flights were canceled at the larger Pearson International Airport. Dozens of flights have also been canceled or postponed at Ottawa International Airport.

In the meantime, provincial utility Hydro One said on Sunday afternoon that additional crews are working on more than 42,000 power outages, with fallen trees and broken poles causing the most problems. Toronto Hydro said around 10,800 of its customers were out of town on Sunday night in the city.

The mixture of freezing rain and ice pellets also caused bad road conditions, especially in the Greater Toronto area.

Ontario Provincial Police There were more than 550 highway crashes surrounding Toronto on Saturday – none of them deadly – and there were dozens more on early Sunday.

"These ice pellets behave like very dense snow on the road," said Chris Scott, chief meteorologist at The Weather Network. "That has created insidious driving conditions in much of southern Ontario, but especially in the GTA."

The provincial police said there were about 750 highway crashes on Saturday, and nearly 700 on early Sunday afternoon. None of the accidents was fatal.

Wind warnings were also issued, with gusts of up to 90 kilometers per hour predicted for the Hamilton area – strong enough to cause property damage and other power outages.

Several universities had to cancel their weekend exams because of the dangerous conditions that troubled students like Jamie Nicholson.

The nutritionist at Guelph University added that the situation was getting a headache as the exams would take place next weekend, as some students like him already had plans

"Some people are much worse off because of flights outside in the country or at home, "he said.

Nicholson said the situation was also difficult because he was told that special accommodations such as extra time would not be provided for the newly scheduled exams.

"That was a problem for me because I get special accommodations," he said, adding that in his case his professor could pick him up, but not all the students he knew could find a solution.

Other local events, such as watching outdoor parties for the Toronto Raptors and Maple Leafs, had to be canceled on Saturday due to the freezing rain.

Scott said that areas near Lake Erie most affected by precipitation were the region around St. Thomas, Ont., Which had the most power outages.

"It's rare to get such a winter storm so late in the season," Scott said, noting that southern Ontario has not seen such intense ice storm in April in more than a decade.

The changing weather prompted the city of Mississauga and the Toronto & Area Conservation Authority to issue flood warnings to lakes and rivers.

The provincial police in southwestern Ontario also demanded drivers to be careful and stay home on Sunday, as heavy rain could make the streets unsafe.


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