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Ontario: Unsettled pattern looms following powerful snow squalls

Saturday, February 29th 2020, 9:10 am - The persistent snow squalls will finally end by early Saturday afternoon, ahead of a temperature jump on Sunday

The vigorous snow squalls that caused treacherous road conditions Friday in central and parts of southern Ontario are finally coming to an end by early Saturday afternoon, making way for an improvement in conditions and temperatures by Sunday. Winds, however, will remain gusty in the areas impacted most by the squalls, creating some drifting and blowing snow Saturday afternoon, but will die down in the evening. The milder temperatures on Sunday will continue into early next week, with a chance for more unsettled weather. For a closer look, see below.


WEATHER HIGHLIGHTS

  • Squalls to taper off Saturday afternoon, giving way to cloudy skies, but strong winds could create blowing snow
  • One more day of chilly temperatures Saturday, temperatures jump above zero Sunday and into early next week
  • Rounds of unsettled weather for first half of the week
  • Keep track of active weather alerts in your area

Visit our Complete Guide to Spring 2020 for an in-depth look at the Spring Forecast, tips to plan for it and much more

SATURDAY: SQUALLS TO END, BLOWING SNOW CONTINUES, TEMPS REMAIN CHILLY

Those who've endured the prolonged period of snow squalls in central and parts of southern Ontario will get some relief by early Saturday afternoon, as they are expected to diminish, giving way to a mostly overcast day. Snow squall warnings are expected to be dropped.

For people in the hardest-areas, the squalls brought very heavy snowfall that shut down services, closed several roads and made travel a nightmare for many. While the snow will ease off, the bad news is the winds in the traditional snowbelt regions will remain gusty and could create blowing and drifting snow Saturday afternoon, possibly impacting travel.

ONTempSun

Temperatures will remain chilly Saturday, but by Sunday, daytime values will begin a upward trend and climb to above zero for much of southern Ontario. They will continue to rise Monday, with much of the south seeing temperatures in the mid-to-upper single digits, but with some wet conditions expected.

POTENT SNOW SQUALLS SO LATE IN THE SEASON? HERE'S WHY

Lake-effect snow squalls occur as cold air sweeps in over the ice-free Great Lakes, typically in early winter or late fall, in the wake of a major storm system. The cold, dry air “picks up” moisture from the, relatively, warm lakes, continues over the land and dumps the moisture as snow.

This year's ice-free activity over the Great Lakes has resulted in more lake-effect snow than what's typical for the end of winter. Some consequences are expected to spill into spring as well.

Approximately only 9 per cent of the lakes are covered in ice, which is significantly lower than the typical 42 per cent coverage.

GREAT LAKES: Lack of ice, high water levels will have spring consequences

NEXT WEEK: UNSETTLED PATTERN LOOMS

Though temperatures will trend above-zero for a few days, the skies look to be somewhat unsettled, with a couple of chances of active weather.

Currently, a system moving in Monday looks to bring a period of rain showers, though it could have a few flakes mixed in. Beyond, a more significant system is likely for Wednesday with rain likely across much of the Golden Horseshoe, but wet snow is possible, especially north of the 401.

Temperatures will then drop back closer to seasonal for the end of next week and into the start of the weekend. However, an extended period of milder weather is expected for the second week of March.

Check back as we continue to monitor the forecast across Ontario.

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