02/09/2013 10:30 EST | Updated 04/11/2013 05:12 EDT

Toronto Storm Cleanup Could Top $4M


It came, it caused a multitude of problems, and then it left. Now the cleanup can begin in earnest.

Toronto's worst snowstorm in years swept across the country's largest city on Friday leaving clogged roads, delayed trains, cancelled flights and hundreds of thousands of frustrated commuters in its wake.

By the time it stopped snowing late Friday night the city had picked up about 30 centimetres — other spots in the Greater Toronto Area reported even higher accumulations.

The city is slowly getting back to normal but it will probably take the rest of weekend until roads and sidewalks are cleared of ice and snow.

Coun. Denzil Minnan-Wong said the city would like people to "show some level of patience" as crews make their way through the city.

The major arteries are always the main focus.

"It's been a storm," said Peter Noehammer, the city's director of transportation services, indicating it could be Sunday before city streets are clear.

"We estimate it'll be about $4 million when it's all said and done," Noehammer said.

The storm started on Thursday evening, but only reached its peak in time for the Friday morning commute.

An armada of snowplows, salt trucks and just regular people armed with shovels, attacked the snow

Before it could do too much damage a number of school boards surrounding Toronto cancelled classes. School buses were pulled from the road, hundreds of flights were delayed or cancelled at Toronto's busy airports, and traffic came to a crawl on the busiest highways in the country.

It was the biggest storm to hit Toronto in five years.

Schools closed in Peel, Halton and Hamilton-Wentworth. In Toronto, Durham, York and Simcoe all schools were open, but buses were cancelled.

The death of an elderly Hamilton woman who was shovelling snow was blamed on the storm.

The burst of snow caused numerous accidents on the province's roads, which accounted for at least two other deaths.

Durham regional police said a 49-year-old Oshawa, Ont., man was killed as a result of a multi-vehicle collision in Pickering, east of Toronto, on Friday morning.

Further east, Provincial police reported a 57-year-old Ottawa man died when his car crashed in blizzard conditions along Highway 401 near Prescott, Ont.

Much of the traffic-related trouble was centred in Toronto where more than 350 collisions were reported in a 12-hour period.

"We're urging people to stay off the roads at this time so we can get the highways cleaned up," OPP Sgt. Dave Woodford told Canadian Press.

Passengers flying out of Toronto's Pearson and Bill Bishop airports faced a raft of cancellations as Ontario's wintry weather and a massive storm dumping nearly a half-metre of snow on parts of the U.S. combined to scuttle flights.

Surprisingly. the snow is unlikely to stay for too long.

Sunny skies are forecast for the weekend — followed by temperatures shooting to plus 7 Celsius on Monday, with rain predicted.

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