The County of Lambton has declared a ‘significant weather event’ as the Ontario Provincial Police closed Highway 402 between Sarnia and London, and a blizzard warning was issued by Environment Canada, Friday.
“A significant weather event is declared when it is anticipated that approaching or current weather hazards have the potential to pose significant danger to road users within the County,” a county news release noted.
“This declaration is to notify the public that due to the current or anticipated weather conditions, extreme caution is to be exercised when travelling on County of Lambton roads, and that it may take longer than usual to clear roads and bring them back to normal conditions.”
Meanwhile, the Ontario Provincial Police announced the closure of Highway 402 between Sarnia and London, Friday, in response to ‘multiple collisions’ and deteriorating weather conditions.
Middlesex OPP media officer Cst. Jeff Hare said the 401/402 corridor is “one of the worst traffic scenes he’s ever seen,” according to a Twitter post from OPP West Region, including a multi-vehicle collision involving 50+ vehicles on Highway 402 near Kerwood Road.
Residents are being urged to avoid any unnecessary travel, as blizzard conditions are expected to continue into Saturday, Environment Canada noted.
“Travel will be extremely difficult to impossible and is not advised,” the agency said, pointing to wind gusts of 90 to 100km/hr and windchill values near minus 30.
“Remember, it does not take much accumulation in combination with very strong winds for whiteout conditions to develop.”
Visibility will be suddenly reduced to near zero at times in heavy snow and blowing snow.
If visibility is reduced while driving, turn on your lights and maintain a safe following distance.
If you do travel and become lost, remain where you are until the blizzard has passed. Public Safety Canada encourages everyone to make an emergency plan and get an emergency kit with drinking water, food, medicine, a first-aid kit and a flashlight.