'It's come out of nowhere': Icy conditions hit Simcoe County
BARRIE -- Barrie's first big blast of winter didn't let up Sunday.
Most of Simcoe County saw more than five centimetres fall in a matter of hours; from 10 a.m., conditions worsened, and roads and highways were covered in snow and ice.
"It's come out of nowhere, and it's come with a fury," said Katie Thompson.
Ice pellets and blowing snow wreaked havoc for those getting around on two feet. Parth Patel and Prince Singla had their heads down, walking backwards up the hill to their work on Bryne Drive.
"This is my first winter," said Patel, originally from India." It's hitting very hard, and it's too terrible."
His friend and co-worker couldn't believe the drastic change in conditions.
"I didn't expect this much snow in the morning," said Singla. "It was pretty clear; now it's really bad."
Shoppers were scraping ice from their windshields, across the street, cars lined up to have winter tires put on by 11 a.m.
"Next in line, hopefully not sliding all over the road today," said Cara Swan, while waiting in her van outside Mr. Lube.
West of Barrie, near-whiteout conditions made driving along Highway 26 treacherous. Visibility was poor for hours and drivers had difficulty seeing beyond 200 metres ahead of them.
Incessant winds, blowing snow and freezing rain turned road conditions poor in a hurry. Plows, salters, and sanders fanned out across major roadways, trying to clear the mess.
Several vehicles wound up off the road and in ditches. Drivers pulled over on roadsides and at rest stops.
"It's like they've got to learn how to drive in this stuff every year all over again," said tow-truck driver Clint Crawford.