Almost 100 vehicles were involved in a snow squall-related pileup Thursday morning near Barrie, Ontario.
Three people were taken to the hospital, and Ontario Provincial Police told CTV News Barrie that Highway 400 would be closed most of the day as a result of the crash.
The crash occurred about 9 a.m. Thursday.
A snow squall, associated with the passage of an arctic cold front, moved through the area at the time of the crash, AccuWeather.com Canadian Weather Expert Brett Anderson said.
Visibility quickly dropped to less than 0.2 km (one-eighth of a mile) within a matter of minutes.
"It was like driving into a wall of white," Anderson said.
Temperatures were about -13 C (9 F) at the time of the squall with wind gusts up to 65 kph (40 mph).
"AccuWeather RealFeel® temperatures were about -25 to -35 C (-13 to -31 F). It was very cold," Anderson said.
The major pile-up punctuated a very busy day for provincial police.
OPP-stranded motorists urged to stay inside vehicle with 4-ways on. OPP are responding to many calls. Expect delays, We are responding.— OPP West (@OPP_WR) February 27, 2014
The Barrie-area crash was one of two large-scale crash scenes investigated by Ontario authorities. A 16-vehicle crash occurred about an hour before the Barrie crash, CTV News reported.
The crashes are rare for the Barrie area of Ontario because drivers are prepared for a large number of squalls each winter, Anderson said.
"A lot of those vehicles (in the Highway 400) have snow tires. It obviously caught people by surprise," he said. "People tend to slam on the brakes and slow down quickly, and it goes on from there."