Jamie Smith, tbnewswatch.com
A city snowplow works to clear snow from a residential street on Tuesday morning.
Winter weather on April Fool's Day is taking things too far.
Mother Nature added insult to injury to city residents beleaguered by a prolonged winter, delivering a mixture of rain, snow and ice on the notorious day of pranking.
It has been no joke for city workers who have been working throughout the day on Tuesday to improve driving conditions and keep roadways safe during the latest arrival of inclement weather.
Brad Adams, the manager of the city’s roads division, said crews hit the ground running when precipitation began falling Monday evening and were doing snow removal in the early morning hours.
“When the storm eventually got here we had sanders out throughout the night and we did mobilize for plowing operations for the main streets and sidewalks,” Adams said.
“We’ll continue to do that throughout the storm and we’ll be out again at 2 a.m. to plow again. It’ll be a continuous effort for us.”
The duration of the weather system, which is expected to approach 24 hours, has been taxing for the workers.
Adams said the division has to ensure the 64-person crew follows regulations for how long each worker can be operating equipment.
“They’re doing a very good job and it’s a long event that’s draining on them,” he said. “We’re running into a little bit of difficulty on that end.”
Adams added the division hopes to have everything cleared up by early Wednesday afternoon.
All rural schools and buses for the Lakehead District School Board were closed on Tuesday.
Thunder Bay Police Service traffic Sgt. Glenn Porter said the combination of rain, snow, and freezing conditions have created treacherous driving conditions.
“The last 24 hours have been really ugly,” Porter said. “It’s going to be a really layered roadway that people are going to be driving on.”
As of mid-afternoon, there had been eight collisions reported to city police, a number that Porter acknowledged was much lower than he had expected.
One of them was a collision involving a vehicle and pedestrian on Arthur Street where an individual stepped off a Thunder Bay Transit bus and walked behind it and tried to cross the road, running into the side of a passing car.
The pedestrian did not suffer any serious injuries and has been charged with jaywalking.
Environment Canada forecasts a low temperature of - 13C for the overnight hours, which will approach the point where road salt becomes ineffective.
The drop in temperature has resulted in many people finding their windshields and windows completely covered in ice.
Porter advised motorists to take an extra couple of minutes before embarking on their journey to clear their view and scrape any snow and ice.
“Visibility is critical in this kind of weather,” he said. “You have to be able to see what’s going on around you.”