Icy grip and squalls to ease heading into the weekend

Highway 400 was closed for several hours between Mapleview Drive in Barrie and Highway 89 due to whiteouts and collisions

Mother Nature has unleashed winter’s fury with frigid temperatures and localized snow squalls powered by wind gusts around 60 km/h.

Around 3:30 p.m., police closed Highway 400 in both directions between Mapleview Drive in Barrie and Highway 89 because of numerous collisions and whiteouts.

The northbound lanes were reopened at 7 p.m., and the southbound lanes also reopened soon after once plows had a chance to clear the road.

This was the second time Highway 400 was closed at Mapleview Drive on Friday afternoon. The southbound lanes were closed for a brief period as police dealt with what OPP Sgt. Kerry Schmidt told Barrie 360 was a collision involving 12 vehicles, but thankfully there were no serious injuries and the southbound lanes were reopened around 2 p.m.

The good news from forecasters is the chill and snowy conditions will not linger. Another night of minus 30 wind chill is expected in the Barrie area through Saturday morning, then a moderating trend with the high on Sunday to top out at just above the freezing mark. The normal high for this time of year is minus 3.

The snow squalls began to fizzle by Friday evening and warnings were lifted around 10 p.m.

The snow and blowing snow that took hold in Barrie during the afternoon was courtesy of squalls coming off Georgian Bay, and that have also hammered the area around Collingwood, Stayner, Wasaga Beach and Creemore.

Provincial police have closed numerous roads in the Collingwood, Wasaga Beach and Stayner area.

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