Hint of winter tests area drivers
Though he’s not supposed to show up with his frost-covered beard for another two month or so, Old Man Winter put on quite a display Thursday in many parts of Northwestern Ontario.
Meteorologists say the fast-moving storm that spooled up a few days earlier around North Dakota moved furiously through the region, closing some provincial highways and dumping up to seven centimetres of slushy snow in places.
“It moved rapidly, resulting in poor visibility in some areas,” said Environment Canada’s Geoff Coulson.
By mid-afternoon North Shore towns like Marathon saw the snow had melted.
But Coulson said temperatures are to remain below normal values until Saturday. The temperature will climb, but the weather isn’t expected to be peachy: the forecast calls for plenty of scattered showers.
The normal daily high for Thunder Bay at this time of year is in the range of 10-11 C.
The long-term outlook for Northwestern Ontario continues to be warmer than normal, “but perhaps not as warm as last fall,” said Coulson.
Though the storm was an inconvenience, many areas hit by drought this summer are likely welcoming moisture in any form, Coulson added.
There were several incidents of black ice, minor collisions and trucks in ditches on routes between Nipigon and Marathon, but no reports of serious injuries, said regional OPP spokeswoman Acting Sgt. Anne McCoy.
McCoy reminded the public not to call police when seeking information about road conditions and closures. The Ministry of Transportation’s information line is 511. Information can also be found online at mto.gov.on.ca.
Thursday’s blinding storm sent some motorists right to automotive shops to have snow tires mounted.
“We were so busy we didn’t have time to turn around,” said Grace Abbott, a clerk at a Marathon tire dealer.
Police used the occasion of the storm to pass on a list of winter-driving tips.
Highlights include keeping a shovel, snack food and a candle in your vehicle. Driving tips include installing snow tires, lowering your speed, and maintaining a greater distance from vehicles in front.
A complete list of tips is available online at mto.gov.on.ca/english/safety/winterdrive/winterdrive.shtml#highclo