Update: 4:30 p.m. - Correction to earlier storm update: All Perth County roads are CLOSED except for Line 86 Listowel to Dorking. Not expected to open soon.
Update: 2:30 p.m. - The City of Stratford has opened a warming centre at the Kiwanis Community Centre for stranded motorists.
The Avon Maitland District School Board (AMDSB) has also sent out a notice advising that several students and staff were on route to school this morning when the weather took a sudden turn for the worst, and before any decisions were made about cancellations and closures. The board worked with police to ensure students stuck on buses were looked after.
"AMDSB is hopeful that conditions will improve before the end of the school day," said a press release on the board's website, "so that buses can run in areas where students were transported to schools."
Original story below:
Roads in and around Stratford remained closed early Thursday afternoon as motorists continue to cope with an unexpected burst of winter that’s brought snow squalls causing sudden whiteout conditions.
Police closed all roads in Perth County, including Highway 7/8, around 9 a.m. this morning, and was asking the public to refrain from traveling until they are reopen and road conditions improve.
“The Perth County OPP is currently inundated with calls for assistance from motorists involved in collisions and from those that are stranded due to whiteout conditions,” read a police notice sent out shortly after.
The elements have caused unsafe conditions for emergency responders as well. According to the OPP West Twitter feed, a Perth County officer sustained minor injuries earlier today when a motorist operating a pickup truck drove over the flares on the road and struck a cruiser.
Warming centres were opened to assist stranded travellers at the Mitchell and District Arena, the Perth East Recreation Complex in Milverton, the Elma Logan Recreation Complex in Monkton, and the Elma Memorial Community Centre in Atwood.
The County of Perth announced in the early afternoon that Perth Line 86 from Listowel to Dorking was being reopened, and that police are looking to get other roads open soon.
Any improvements might be short lived, however. According to Environment Canada, the region is expected to see a quick dumping of up to four centimetres of snow beginning this afternoon.
The snow squall warning advises, “Snow squalls will extend inland from the lake across the regions this afternoon and tonight. The main issue with these snow squalls are frequent whiteout conditions from blowing snow and bursts of heavy snow.”