Monday, February 18, 2008

The Scope Of Things Today

Leo (July 23 — Aug. 22)

One moment all is going well, then bam, it all fizzles out. Destiny likes to test our resolve. You're in luck. All will fall in place – and just at the right time, too.

Gemini (May 21 — June 21)

You can sense that something unusual is in the air. A long-awaited change, for which you have been yearning, is rapidly approaching.

Scorpio (Oct. 24 — Nov. 22)

Certain financial considerations will improve providing you remain positive and self-assured.

Pisces (Feb. 20 — March 20)

Your imagination and youthful dreams are calling out for fulfilment. Uranus will help you. Vast improvements will take shape as a result.


Wet day aids dig-out
Ron Bull/ Toronto Star
A city crew works on Gough Avenue in Toronto Saturday Feb. 16, 2008 to remove snow.
2,000 workers, 83 crews, 600 trucks digging out many clogged arteries
February 17, 2008

Staff Reporters
Freezing rain turned to rain in the city this afternoon but driving conditions remained treacherous and police urged drivers to stay off the roads if possible.

The Ontario Provincial Police reported 197 accidents today between 6 a.m. and 1:30 p.m.

All eastbound lanes of Hwy. 401 at Avenue Rd. were reopened by 2 p.m. after being closed for a minor collision.

"We shut it down mainly for the safety of the person in the accident and the officers on the scene," said Const. Dave Woodford of the OPP.

Roads iced with freezing rain caused crashes and backups over much of the GTA and surrounding area.

“Coming down the 400, it’s very foggy. If there were a collision in front, drivers wouldn’t be able to stop. People aren’t driving slowly enough for the icy conditions," said Woodford.

Another road mishap on Hwy. 407 and Kennedy Rd. ended with a car rolling over, Woodford noted. "There’s no need for that. If you’re driving out there like an idiot, you’re going to get caught and you’re going to get charged."

He suggested staying indoors. "If you don’t have to go out, stay off the road. Highways are busy for a Sunday. It takes time for salters to get to a location, especially with the traffic."

Numerous collisions were also reported on southern Ontario roads into the Niagara region.

"It’s not just a snowstorm, it’s everything mixed in at a time so drivers have to deal with rain, freezing conditions, a bit of everything. The best thing is to take it easy and slow down."

Woodford urged drivers to make sure they have plenty of windshield washer fluid and that their car lights are working, and to always keep a safe distance from other vehicles.

The good news is today’s rain is expected to help the city with its snow cleanup plans.

Weather officials say the temperature will rise steadily throughout the day and the city and surrounding areas may see 15 to 20 millimetres of rain. According to one forecaster, we could set a temperature record as a warm front passes briefly over the region.

Kevin Witt, a meteorologist with, says we could reach 9C by 3 p.m., surpassing the 8C record set in 1984.

The warmth won’t last long though. There will be flurries tomorrow morning as a colder front sends the temperature back below zero. “It’s going to be pretty brisk,” Witt said, adding that Wednesday will be the coldest day this week.

Bryan Tugwood, a severe weather meteorologist for Environment Canada says today’s relatively warm temperatures and rain should help the city with it’s post-storm cleanup.

“It won’t get rid of all our snow, but it’ll erode a lot of it,” said Tugwood.

City workers were spending the weekend digging out from under the 70 centimetres of snow that have accumulated on side streets over the last two weeks.

As part of the effort, the Gardiner Expressway westbound was closed for part of the morning.

The city was using snow blowers to munch through snow banks, while dump trucks trails behind to catch the mess.

Most of those snow blowers haven’t been used since January 1999 when 79.6 centimetres of snow accumulated on the city’s side streets. That was the winter when former Toronto mayor Mel Lastman called the army for help.

Quartarone says the city’s snow blowers are so old, they keep breaking down.

"It really slows down the operation," said Quartarone.

The city has split its snow removal force into 83 crews, dispatching them to residential streets across town at a total cost of some $20 million.

On several streets, snow removal crews had to work around abandoned cars despite posted street signs and flyers that were delivered to homes, notifying residents 48 hours in advance to remove their parked cars. As a result, many streets remain only partly cleared.

"Wedo need people’s help," Mayor David Miller said yesterday. "Clear your walk and move your cars. There are orange signs up on the streets where the snow’s going to be removed. We can do more streets faster if you move your cars."

Miller said he hoped the removal crews would have 30 per cent of the city’s residential streets cleared by tomorrow evening.

"The rest of the snow will be removed, subject to weather, within the next 10 to 14 days," he said.

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