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Confidence growing for classic snow storm in southern Ontario, Quebec next week

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By Chris Scott
Chief Meteorologist
@ChrisScottWx
Friday, January 31, 2014, 5:50 PM

After Saturday's heavy, wet snow confidence is growing for a classic snow storm in southern Ontario and Quebec next week.

Computer models have been surprisingly consistent for the past two days in showing a Texas low approaching southern Ontario late Tuesday, tracking near or just south of Lake Erie and Lake Ontario Wednesday.


THE FIRST LOOK AT THIS STORM: Read more about the tweet that started it all


This track would put southern Ontario on the cold side of the storm. This type of setup typically gives southern Ontario some of its most widespread snow falls and is one of the classic tracks for what most people would perceive as a snow storm – significant plowable snow, cold with moderate winds.

One caveat to this is a track slightly farther north that would put places like Niagara in line for mixed precipitation.

The official forecast from our forecast centre has around 10 cm of snow projected to fall Tuesday evening into Wednesday for many of the big cities in southern Ontario and Quebec with about 15 cm across the Maritimes.


STORM WATCH:  Heavy, wet snow to hit Ontario this weekend.


Our meteorologists have a very difficult job in that they have to decide on one number for a snow fall forecast which is many days out.

In reality with a storm like this, there is a huge range of possibilities given that the seed of this system is still over the Pacific Ocean. This is our greatest challenge in meteorology – communicating uncertainty and potential impact to the public.

My best advice is to watch the forecast carefully in the days leading up to the storm and watch our videos/articles to get that nuance around the forecast.

Depending on the exact track, the amounts could be significantly higher, or slightly lower.

GREATEST IMPACT?

At this point, the odds favour a large area of eastern Canada being impacted by this storm – from Windsor, Ontario to Windsor, Nova Scotia to Grand Falls-Windsor, Newfoundland. This would include all the big urban centres in between like Toronto, Ottawa and Montreal.

In the US, the impact will likely be felt all the way from Denver through St. Louis, Chicago and Boston. New York will be right on the line between snow, ice and rain, but may escape the worst.

Whatever the case, there will be enough major airport hubs affected to snarl air travel across North America Tuesday pm through Wednesday.

By Sunday, we’ll have a much sharper picture of the expected impact from this storm.

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