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Snow squall threat and frigid temperatures continue to grip southern Ontario

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Andrea Bagley
Digital Reporter

Wednesday, February 26, 2014, 9:57 AM -

SNOW SQUALL THREAT CONTINUES

It could be another challenging day for drivers across southern Ontario. 


HIGHWAY 400 CLOSURE: Multi-vehicle crash closes Highway 400 in Barrie


The snow squall risk continues across much of the region Thursday, with widespread snow squall watches and warnings issued by Environment Canada. 

"A sharp arctic cold front blasting southeast across the regions has a band of heavy snow flurries and snow squalls associated with it," EC said in the statement Thursday morning.

Officials say the squalls may have significant impact on travel on Highways 401 and 402 near Lake Ontario and Highway 69 near Georgian Bay.

"The most significant issue with these snow squalls will be sudden zero visibility in white out conditions from blowing snow and bursts of heavy snow," EC warns. 

The poor conditions prompted several school bus cancellations early Thursday. 


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Local snowfall amounts of 5-10 cm are expected, with a quick 2-4 cm in the Greater Toronto Area.

BURST OF HEAVY SNOW IN THE GTA

"Not everyone in the GTA will see the impact of these squalls equally, but a burst of quick, heavy snow is likely in some places late Thursday morning," adds Doug Gillham, a meteorologist at The Weather Network. "This risk should end in the GTA by the early afternoon hours, so there's no concern for impact on the evening commute."

Visibility with these squalls may suddenly be reduced to 250 metres or less in bursts of heavy snow and blowing snow as the cold front moves through.

Motorists are urged to leave plenty of extra time and adjust travel routes to avoid the snow squall activity.

FRIGID END TO #FEBBBRUARY

"Frightfully frigid finale to February," that's how Gillham describes the final week of this month in southern Ontario.

Wind chill warnings covered parts of the region early Wednesday, as values near -30 were recorded.

"This is incredible. This is colder than we should be even in January," adds Gillham. "We do see an upwards trend in the long range, but the next couple of days will feel rough and even colder with the wind chill."

The extreme cold weather alert that was issued for the city of Toronto earlier this week also remains in place.

TREND CARRIES INTO MARCH

"We have some meteorological March madness on the way with temperatures still much colder than they should be," Gillham says. "There's really no sign that we're going to burst into spring before at least mid-March."

Another system is also expected to bring more light snow to the region this weekend.

"We have a system that will bring the potential for 2-5 cm of snow on Saturday," Gillham says.

As of Thursday, Toronto's Pearson Airport had already seen 81 consecutive days with snow on the ground, the current record for the city. 

"And we're going to blow past the record of 81 days this week and it looks like we have a shot of getting to 100," says Gillham.

Multi-vehicle crash closes Ontario's Highway 401 near Cobourg
Lake effect snow and frigid temperatures continue to impact southern Ontario
Polar vortex returns to the country

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