Wicked winter weather was the top news story throughout the Collingwood, south Georgian Bay region over the holidays, as the region was firmly in the grip of a prolonged period of frigid weather with dangerously cold wind chills.
Passengers were boarding a bus along Second Street in downtown Collingwood during heavy squall activity on Saturday morning
An Arctic ridge of high pressure brought cold temperatures and brisk northwesterly winds to Southern Ontario. Windchill values were greeting us each morning from minus 35 in urban locations to minus 42 in rural areas.
Strong overnight winds resulted in huge drifts on Saturday morning. Crews were out early to clear downtown streets.
On January 5th and 6th, Collingwood Mayor Sandra Cooper was out and about bright and early travelling through the community. Mayor Cooper told us town crews were keeping town streets in fairly good shape considering the continuous winter weather of poor visibility and frigid temperatures.
“The works crews worked 30 days straight taking rest time as required. We are so fortunate to have this dedicated group of employees keeping up to and exceeding the roads maintenance standards.
I have ridden in the snow plow truck and with a 13ft wing span, and I can tell you that it can be a challenge even for the experienced. Other than maneuvering the large truck the driver has to be aware of parked cars on the road, taking the corners, watching for water hydrants and community mail boxes.”
Cooper said the main corridors were cleared continuously.
“There are always budget implications when the weather is extreme. The business owners are responsible for clearance on the main street and they have been doing a great job of keeping up with clearing snow during this winter blast. It is a time of year when our patience is being tested.”
High winds produced whiteout conditions in downtown Collingwood Friday morning
Whiteout conditions at the busy First Street and Pine Street intersection
Friday morning produced the coldest January 5th temperatures on record. At 4 a.m., with Pearson International Airport dropping to -21.9 C. That reading surpassed the previous record low temperature of -20.6 C set in 1959.
Blowing Snow Triggered Road Closures
Driving conditions in and around Collingwood were hazardous at best on Friday morning (January 5th) due to high wind gusts and blowing snow causing whiteout conditions on area roadways. The OPP reported numerous collisions in the area. As a result Highway 26 between Barrie and Collingwood was closed throughout the day on Friday as was County Road County 91 between Highway 26 at Stayner & Highway 124 at Duntroon. The buses were running in Collingwood while Clearview Public Transit was temporarily halted due to poor road conditions.
Throughout the bitterly cold period, the Town of Collingwood set up warming stations at the Library, Centennial Aquatic Centre, Central Park Arena and the Collingwood Youth Centre.
The second blast of frigid arctic air came on the heels of a very cold, stormy Christmas day.
Collingwood residents woke up on Christmas Morning to frigid temperatures, gusty winds and heavy snowsqualls.
The back-to-back systems handed us the coldest Christmas/New Year’s season in recent memory.