Snow squall warning continues in Barrie, Orillia, Midland, more than 50 cm possible by Friday evening

Snow squalls will continue in the Barrie, Orillia and Midland areas, with more than 50 centimetres possible by Friday evening, according to a weather warning issued by Environment Canada.

The squalls will continue into Saturday morning in Barrie, Collingwood, Hillsdale, Midland, Coldwater, Orr Lake, Orillia, Lagoon City and Washago, the alert says.

Currently, the strongest snow squall is extending from Wasaga Beach to Cundles in Barrie, with snowfall rates under the squall possibly exceeding five centimetres per hour at times. The squalls are expected to move south Friday night.

“Travel will be hazardous at times, and motorists are advised to change their travel plans accordingly,” Environment Canada says. “Local whiteout conditions may occur.”

Many businesses in the region are closed on Friday due to the weather.

Both Barrie Public Library locations are closed. The city’s recreation centres’ registered and drop-in program are cancelled until noon Friday. Fitness centres are also closed, but facilities remain open.

Simcoe County’s services are also altered due to weather. Friday’s waste collection crews have been pulled for all areas, with the exception of collections on open roads in Adjala-Tosorontio.

The Simcoe County landfill and transfer sites are also closed. LINX Transit routes are operating but are behind schedule.

The county’s administration centre is closed, as is its museum, archives offices and many OW offices, including Midland, Collingwood, Alliston and Bradford. Barrie and Orillia’s OW offices remain open with reduced staffing levels.

Springwater’s administration centre is closed.

All Georgian College campuses are closed, and classes have been cancelled.

All classes and exams at Lakehead University’s Orillia campuses are also cancelled for Friday. All the campus services and offices will remain open.

Simcoe Muskoka Family Connexions offices in Barrie, Collingwood, Midland and Orillia are closed for Friday.

On Thursday, Springwater declared a “significant weather event” due to blowing snow and reduced visibility. The declaration was made in relation to Ontario’s Minimum Maintenance Standards for Municipal Highways.

Environment Canada says if visibility is reduced while driving to slow down, watch for tail lights ahead and be prepared to stop. Public Safety Canada is encouraging people to make an emergency plan and get an emergency kit with drinking water, food, medicine, a first-aid kit and a flashlight.

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