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Southern Ontario weekend weather: Six things you need to know

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Cheryl Santa Maria
Digital Reporter

Friday, March 21, 2014, 3:57 PM -

From sunglasses to snow shovels, Friday will be a tale of two seasons across much of Ontario.


SPRING IS HERE: When will the warm-up begin?


A storm is set to move through southern Ontario Friday night.

Environment Canada is calling the system a "potent disturbance" that could cause slippery roadways and messy conditions.

Here are six things you need to know.

1. WHEN WILL THE STORM HIT?

"A low pressure system will track across southern Ontario Friday night into Saturday morning, bringing snow, rain and freezing rain," says Weather Network meteorologist Monica Vaswani.

"The system departs the GTA Saturday morning and lingers into eastern Canada through the day. It will eventually track into Quebec and Atlantic Canada Saturday evening and Sunday."

2. HAVE ANY WARNINGS BEEN ISSUED?

As of Friday afternoon, Environment Canada had issued a series of freezing rain warnings, covering communities in and around Toronto, Hamilton, Vaughn, Huron and Perth.

"Although the duration of the freezing rain is not expected to be significant, the accumulation of a few millimetres of ice will lead to hazardous conditions on untreated roads," EC warns.

Snowfall warnings are in effect for communities in and around Newmarket, Barrie, Owen Sound, Ottawa, Bracebridge and  Haliburton, among other places.

Visit the Alerts section of the website for a full list of weather watches and warnings.


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3. WHAT TYPE OF PRECIPITATION CAN I EXPECT?

"The system will move into southwestern Ontario late Friday evening starting as rain," Vaswani says.

"It will hit the GTA close to midnight, bringing snow to the 401 and northbound and freezing rain along a line from Goderich to Niagara. South of there it will be predominantly rain."

By early Saturday morning, the snow may change to freezing rain in the Toronto area before it departs the region.

4. WILL THERE BE ANY WIND?

Communities along the Ontario and Erie lake shores can expect wind gusts about 70 km/h early Saturday morning. Communities along the Georgian Bay shorelines can expect gusts between 50 and 70 kilometres per hour.

5. HOW MUCH PRECIPITATION WILL ACCUMULATE?

That depends on the region. Here's a breakdown of what meteorologists are expecting:

  • GTA: 5-10 cm with lesser amounts along the lake shore. Toronto can expect between 2 and 5 cm.
  • Mount Forest through Barrie to Cottage Country: 10 - 20 cm.
  • Ottawa to Montreal: 10 - 15 cm.

6. WHAT IS THE FORECAST CONFIDENCE?

"Forecast confidence is high that a low pressure system will bring moderate-to-heavy snow to parts of central Ontario and mixing to the south," Vaswani says.

"Forecast confidence is moderate regarding precipitation type and amounts in the GTA as a result of the potential for freezing rain. Less freezing rain could mean slightly higher snowfall accumulations and vice versa". 

So when will the spring WEATHER actually arrive? Get an expert analysis here.

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