Drivers hoping to get a head start on March break travels will encounter dangerous driving conditions through Friday night as an impactful wintry system bids farewell to southern Ontario.
The system packed a bit of a punch as it cranked up on Friday, bringing full-fledged blizzard conditions to Hamilton as a hefty blanket of wind-driven snow enveloped the region.
Saturday will see much calmer conditions for yet another wintry cleanup, but there’s no rest for the weary—all eyes are on the next system on track to arrive by Sunday.
Authorities across southern Ontario urged residents to avoid travel when possible as dangerous snowfall rates and high winds led to very low visibility at times.
"Roads are slick!," the OPP Highway Safety Division tweeted. "Please avoid travel or slow down if you need to go out."
At one point on Friday morning, all westbound lanes on Highway 401 were blocked near Milton after a five-vehicle collision that involved three transport trucks.
Hamilton Airport met the criteria for a true blizzard on Friday afternoon, with snow coinciding with at least 4 hours of winds higher than 40 km/h, and visibility of 400 m or less.
It’s certainly not the most snow we've seen, especially compared to recent storms. But the timing couldn’t have been worse, with highways full of both daily commuters and vacationers heading south for March break.
Those with air travel plans are being advised to keep a close eye on the forecast and to check flight schedules ahead of time as well.
WATCH: Strong winds, snow make for a challenging commute in the GTA
More unsettled weather, colder conditions through March break
The snow will draw to an end during the nighttime hours on Friday, but light flurries will remain into Saturday morning.
Another snow event is possible Sunday night as a system on the Prairies weakens and interacts with a developing storm along the U.S. East Coast.
Widespread light snow is forecast across the region Monday, with the potential for more significant snow across eastern Ontario and southern Quebec.
Blustery and cold conditions will occur for the first half of next week, with colder-than-seasonal temperatures expected to dominate through the week.
More unsettled weather is possible late in the week and weekend, potentially impacting travellers at the end of March break once again.
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Be sure to check back for the latest weather updates across Ontario.