Freezing rain, ice pellets and snow challenge Ontario drivers on the last day of winter
Wednesday, March 19, 2014, 10:52 AM -
Wednesday is the last day of winter, and the relentless season isn't going out without a fight.
"A low pressure system that's tracking across central Ontario and central Quebec is bringing moderate snow and mixed precipitation for the final day of winter into the first day of spring," says Weather Network meteorologist Doug Gillham.
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Although most areas within southwestern Ontario and the Golden Horseshoe will see primarily rain with this system, patchy freezing rain and locally slippery conditions were reported through the morning hours.
Environment Canada issued a freezing rain warning for parts of southern Ontario early Wednesday warning of the potential for "several hours of freezing rain" before temperatures climb above zero and the precipitation changes over to rain.
"The freezing rain threat for the Greater Toronto Area ended by the late morning hours, but the risk will continue to spread east throughout the day," says Gillham. "Mixed precipitation develops north and east of the GTA (cottage country and eastern Ontario) during the morning and continues into the evening with a transition to rain during the afternoon and evening and through the overnight, then changing back to snow on Thursday."
According to Gillham, rain will become much heavier and widespread through the afternoon.
Snow is expected to reach the Ottawa and Montreal regions by the late afternoon hours on Wednesday and will continue into Thursday with a period of mixed precipitation likely overnight.
5-10 cm of snow is forecast for south central Ontario, including cottage country and the Kawartha Lakes.
"7 to 13 cm is likely for the Ottawa Valley, Montreal and Eastern Townships, while 10 to 20 cm of snow is forecast for the Nickel Belt, east of Lake Superior and up to Timmins, as well as for much of central and southern Quebec," Gillham warns.
Wind gusts up to 50 km/h could also result in reduced visibilities in blowing snow.
The stormy conditions prompted some school bus cancellations across parts of northern Ontario Wednesday morning and motorists are being advised to exercise extreme caution, as untreated roads and walkways could become quite slick and icy.
Those with air travel plans are also being urged to call ahead as this latest wintery mix could result in delays and cancellations.
BUT SPRING *IS* COMING, RIGHT? Check out The Weather Network's 2014 Spring Outlook for what the coming season will look like.