Members of the Canadian Forces are set to join the rescue effort for hundreds of motorists stranded by snow on a highway near Sarnia, Ont., according to police reports.
A state of emergency was declared Monday night and remains in effect after severe snow squalls in the area.
Alert update: Environment Canada cancels the extreme cold weather alert for Toronto. An alert is issued when temperatures of -15 degrees Celsius or lower are predicted, without wind chill.
The extreme cold weather alert was issued on Monday.
“We have rescue vehicles stuck in the snow and snow plows stuck in snow, so it’s very difficult terrain right now,” says Sgt. Dave Rektor from the Ontario Provincial Police.
London radio station AM980 is calling the storm Snowmageddon 2010.
Remember when? On January 13, 1999, after multiple snowstorms and two snow emergencies are issued in 10 days, then-mayor Mel Lastman calls in the Canadian Forces to aid with snow removal in Toronto. While the city of Toronto usually receives about 125 cm of snow every year, January of 1999 saw a record snowfall of 118.4 cm in less than two weeks.
The OPP estimates that over 360 vehicles were stuck on the highway between Sarnia and County Road 22. By 9:30 a.m. this morning about 300 were still wedged in drifts.
Snow squall warning for London - Parkhill - Eastern Middlesex County from Environment Canada continued:
Particularly dangerous weather conditions are occurring due to low to nil visibilities in snow squalls. Extensive blowing and drifting snow with wind chill values of -20. Driving conditions in the warned regions have become extremely difficult. Travellers should adjust plans accordingly.
Defence Minister Peter MacKay says up to a dozen of the estimated 300 people trapped in their vehicles in snowstorm have been airlifted off a southern Ontario highway.
Officials say some 150 people have been rescued from the snow-swept highway in southwestern Ontario that, at one point, was playing host to more than 300 stranded motorists.
Prepare for winter driving by getting winter tires put on all four wheels of your car. Take your car in for a tune-up, and stock up on washer fluid.
The Ministry of Transportation recommends drivers keep an emergency kit in their car with the following items:
• Ice scraper/snowbrush
• Sand or other traction aid
• Tow rope or chain
• Booster cables
• Road flares or warning lights
• Gas line antifreeze
• Flashlight and batteries
• First aid kit
• Fire extinguisher
• Small tool kit
• Extra clothing and footwear
• Non-perishable energy foods – e.g., chocolate or granola bars, juice, soup, bottled water
• Candle and a small tin can
When in a pinch Canadian drivers have proven to be resourceful, albeit unconventional. A recent survey conducted by Canadian Tire revealed that 27 per cent of those polled admitted to using a credit card to scrape their windshield. 38 per cent said they have used sandbags to prevent their car from fishtailing. And 18 per cent rely on kitty litter to get their car out of a slippery situation.
But the best advice for safe winter driving? Be prepared and slow down.