Potent snow squalls continue over southern Ontario, another major warm-up coming

Thursday travel will be hazardous across the traditional snow belts in Ontario, but the winds of change are coming. Get ready for a major warm-up after this quick, but brutal, blast of winter

After a brief fling with spring, southern Ontario was quickly snapped back into winter reality, with a major temperature drop, and dangerous snow squalls picking up across the region.

The abrupt switch came after rare February thunderstorms bubbled up throughout the day on Tuesday, with some cells even dropping some hail. New record-setting warm February temperatures were also set that day.

RELATED: Rare winter hail pelts southern Ontario communities

By late Wednesday afternoon, temperatures had dropped by as much as 15 degrees in just one hour's time, leading to a flash freeze in many locales, as well as potent snow squalls near Lake Huron and Georgian Bay. Those squalls continue through the better part of Thursday, with as much as 30 cm possible in some of the hardest hit areas.

Snow squall warnings remain in place, with drivers urged to adapt to the changing conditions, and reduced visibility.

Visit our Complete Guide to Spring 2024 for an in-depth look at the Spring Forecast, tips to plan for it and much more!

Thursday: Much colder temperatures, snow squall threat

Once the temperatures plummeted Wednesday, it didn't take long for the lake-effect machine to kick into high gear as the wind directions changed.

The snow squalls that developed Wednesday evening will continue through Thursday afternoon before ending in the evening. Be aware of sudden icy and snowy surfaces, and adapt your travel plans accordingly.

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Travel will extremely difficult and dangerous within the snow squalls, as 50+ km/h winds and snowfall rates near 3 cm an hour will significantly reduce visibility. Snowfall amounts will be quite variable due to the nature of the squalls, but there is the potential for a localized region to pick upwards to 30 cm.

The drive home later Thursday will likely be clear, as wind directions change, and we kick off March drier and warmer than normal.

Mild weather returns after new all-time record warm February records set

Another extended stretch of exceptionally warm weather will return by Friday across southern Ontario.

Temperatures will soar well above seasonal through this weekend and early next week, with high temperatures more typical of late April and even early May. For many areas, daytime highs will reach the mid- to upper teens. Onshore flow will keep many lake shore areas much cooler, and that will include the GTA at times.

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Windsor became the first place in Ontario this year to reach the 20°C mark on Tuesday afternoon. Temperatures reached 21.4°C in Windsor, beating the city's previous record February high of 20.4°C set in 2000.

Sarnia also broke its own record high for February on Tuesday, with temperatures climbing to 20.7°C -- beating out the previous record of 19.4°C, also set in 2000.

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Ottawa reached its warmest February day on record by Wednesday after hitting 15.7°C ahead of the cool down. That beat out the previous February record of 12.5°C set back in 2017.

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Stay with The Weather Network for all the latest on your forecast across Ontario.