UPDATE: Snowstorm virtually shuts down city

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It's a snowmobiler's dream - but a commuter's nightmare.

A massive winter storm is thundering through Cornwall Thursday - bringing with it howling winds and as much as 30 cm of snow.

A Cornwall Transit bus became stuck at the corner of Pitt and Second streets and needed to be pushed out of a jam with a city truck. Witnesses said it took 30 minutes to finally work the bus free.

Witnesses also report a slew of vehicles in ditches on Highway 401, including tractor-trailers and smaller cars.

"The 401 is reallly snowpacked," said Bill Fell, operator of City Tow and Recovery. "I pulled one out at 3 a.m. and it's been really busy.

"But anything that's in there now is staying there until the highway gets clear."

The OPP later confirmed that vehicles stuck in the ditch will not be removed until conditions improve.

Police also warned motorists to remain at home until the storm passes.

Police also confirmed "numerous" vehicles are in the ditch or centre median of the 401 from the Quebec border to South Dundas Township.

Fell said he's seen plows working on the highways - but it's a struggle.

"They clear it out, and then in no time it gets filled in again with more snow," he said.

A portion of Second Street was closed near Brookdale Avenue as crews worked to clear snow.

The littany of commuter problems in downtown started with the fact that most parking lots are snowed in, making it nearly impossible for merchants and customers to find a place to leave their vehicles.

Stuart Gordon, of Gordon Jewellers on Second Street, was busy clearing the sidewalk in front of his store as the snow piled up around him.

Gordon was told he had the cleanest sidewalk in the city.

"Not for long," he deadpanned.

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