Thousands blacked out by snow, ice and rain storm in southern Ontario

TORONTO -- Tens of thousands of people across southern and central Ontario remained without power Monday morning as the provinces's massive ice storm transitioned to drenching rain.

Provincial power utility Hydro One said early Monday that its crews were working to reconnect nearly 68,000 customers, while Toronto Hydro was reporting approximately 23,000 customers in the dark. In most cases the crews were dealing with power lines and poles downed by high winds or ice coated trees that snapped in the onslaught.

The mix of snow, freezing rain, ice pellets, rain and powerful winds that battered the region Saturday and Sunday made driving treacherous, with provincial police reporting more than 1,450 non-fatal crashes over the two days.

The storm also played havoc with air traffic, with more than 600 flights cancelled at Toronto's Pearson International Airport and many others delayed -- often for hours. Toronto's downtown Billy Bishop airport cancelled all departing flights on Sunday and received only one arrival all day.

Some universities and colleges cancelled classes and exams due to the weather, and with heavy rain continuing overnight there were concerns about possible localized flooding. Residents were being urged to try to help mitigate the problem by clearing catch basins of snow and ice.

Meanwhile, police issued their standard refrain to drivers to slow down and take extra care, while air travellers were advised to check the status of their flights before heading out.