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Central Canada bracing for marathon of hefty snowfall, travel delays

Tuesday, February 1st 2022, 9:27 pm - Winter's next storm in Central Canada is on the doorsteps, threatening 10-25 cm of snow across parts of southern and eastern Ontario, as well Quebec, over multiple days.

With Canada looking to the groundhogs for some good news Wednesday, southern Ontario and Quebec will be getting hit with another wintry dose, guaranteed. What is expected to be a multi-day winter storm will begin to ramp up its snowy impacts on Feb. 2, potentially lingering into Friday morning. Over the course of those days, up to 25 cm of snow could accumulate through Thursday across the hardest-hit regions of Central Canada. Winter storm warnings and watches, along with weather advisories are in effect as the snow is expected to bring significant travel impacts to numerous commutes over the event's duration. More on the impending snowfall and the impacts, below.

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Winter storm watches and warnings, and weather advisories are in place for southern Ontario ahead of the snow's arrival.

The boundary will be in place Tuesday overnight, first bringing rain to southern Ontario, and snow to eastern areas of the province and Quebec. The Greater Toronto Area (GTA) could be looking at a light drizzle for the overnight period before quickly changing over to a rain-snow mix or wet snow for early Wednesday morning.


By the early afternoon, a full transition over to wet snow will begin for southern Onario and Quebec.

The setup for this week's active weather will be driven by an atmospheric boundary that puts Arctic air flooding in from the north up against warmer, more moisture-laden air from the Gulf of Mexico. As this boundary persists, a swath of winter weather will develop from the American Rockies to the Great Lakes, bringing far-reaching winter impacts.

Heaviest swath of snow is forecast to fall near Lake Erie, Niagara region and eastern Ontario with up to 25 cm of snow accumulating through Thursday. In Quebec, 15-25 cm is possible north of the St. Lawrence River and 15-20 cm south of it. Montreal can expect 10-15 cm.

This week's accumulations will only stack on top of areas that are still grappling with the impacts from the massive storm that hit on Jan. 17.

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In preparations for the incoming snowfall, the City of Toronto’s winter crews are ready to work non-stop to respond to the multi-day event. Operations will be focused on the safety and movement of residents and emergency vehicles, with salting and plowing of roads, sidewalks and bike lanes. The city has the following 24/7 staff and equipment that will be used in response:

  • More than 1,500 personnel (contracted and city staff)
  • 600 snow plows
  • 360 sidewalk plows
  • 200 salt trucks

"We are going to be making every effort to plow snow to the curb, but based on the amount of snow and the limited right of way capacity, certain curb lanes may become impacted. So we will always ensure that there is an active lane and that we haven’t obstructed the sidewalks," Barbara Gray, general manager of Transportation Services, at a press conference.

Plows and salters will be strategically placed across the city, ready to begin operations in their assigned areas as soon as possible in response to the weather. Plowing crews will be deployed on major streets and sidewalks as the snow falls, plowing hard and fast overnight.

PHOTOS: Winter storm brings traffic to a standstill in Ontario, Quebec


Snow will continue through early Thursday morning before becoming very light for areas north of the GTA, cottage country and central Ontario. There is also the possibility of snow stopping altogether briefly as a drier slot pushes in before the second pulse of moisture in the afternoon.

Persistent light snow for Thursday afternoon and evening, especially along the 401 corridor and QEW. Snow may linger into Friday morning for eastern Ontario and in Quebec through the Eastern Townships.

The existing snow would make additional snow removal difficult. Any rain could lead to flooding with clogged storm drains, and then exacerbate the risk of a flash freeze. Icy precipitation would further solidify what’s already on the ground.


This round won't be as fast-moving, either, so it could be both widespread and longer duration, likely impacting multiple commute times right from Wednesday through to Friday.

Beyond the storm, another blast of Arctic air will press over the region late week, with temperatures steadily falling during the storm and frigid weather likely for Friday and Saturday.

While the frigid pattern will relax somewhat as we head into next week, there is no sustained warmth in sight. Arctic air will continue to make attempts at returning, while milder air also attempts to build into the region. This should keep the pattern rather active, with plenty of winter weather still ahead through February.

Stay tuned to The Weather Network and check back frequently for all the latest updates as we head into the beginning of February.

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