Major winter storm brings heavy snow, blizzard conditions to northern Manitoba, Ontario
Monday, March 31, 2014, 11:34 AM -
It's a tale of two seasons across Ontario as some parts of the province bask in seasonal temperatures and others brace for 50 cm of snow.
"A Colorado Low will track up the U.S. plains into extreme southern Manitoba and northwestern Ontario and linger through late Tuesday bringing significant snowfall and blizzard conditions," says Weather Network meteorologist Monica Vaswani.
According to Vaswani, this will be one of the largest storms of both the spring and winter seasons to impact the region.
"Forecast confidence is high that many locales will experience very high snowfall accumulations along with blowing snow," Vaswani says. "Forecast confidence is moderate on the exact regions that will see the heaviest swath of snow as the totals will be very dependent on the storm track."
A slight shift in the track could mean more snow for some and less for others.
"It could also mean more mixing and/or freezing rain along the Superior Shore lines," notes Vaswani.
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Widespread warnings have been issued for both provinces as the "major winter storm" leaves its punishing mark.
"The system intensifies through the day on Monday with heavy snow ahead and west of the warm front and possible mixing on the Superior Shore lines," says Vaswani. "The heaviest swath of snow is expected north and west of Lake Nipigon in regions such as Armstrong and Ignace through to Dryden, with slightly lesser (although still significant) amounts in Manitoba."
Rain, freezing rain and snow are possible along the western shores of Lake Superior and along the international border late Monday into Tuesday.
"Strong and gusty winds may also whip up the freshly fallen snow, resulting in very low visibility in exposed areas subject to blowing snow," adds Environment Canada in the statement Monday morning.
Drivers are being urged to adjust their plans as road conditions will quickly deteriorate as the snow pushes in.
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"When the system continues to move eastward on Tuesday it will pull colder air in behind it likely switching over the areas seeing mixing back to snow," Vaswani adds.
Up to 50 cm of snow is forecast in the hardest hit areas through Tuesday with wind gusts up to 70 km/h possible on Monday.
Is southern Ontario at risk?
Current models indicate that this system will impact mainly those in the northwest, but a touch of rain isn't out of the question for the Greater Toronto Area.
"The system moving through northwestern Ontario Tuesday will bring some light rain to the GTA, just in time for the drive home," Vaswani says.
For a full list of watches and warnings, visit our Alerts page.
Be sure to check back as we continue to monitor this developing system.