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The focus switches to the end of the week for drivers in southern Ontario as lake effect snow paired with strong winds lead to tricky times on the numerous roadways.

Frigid temperatures arrive courtesy of Siberia; commute issues ahead


Dr. Doug Gillham
Meteorologist, PhD

Wednesday, January 7, 2015, 11:20 AM - The focus on the roadways and highways in southern Ontario shifts to Thursday overnight and particularly into Friday morning as brief periods of snow will result in a slow morning commute for many across the region.



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WHITEOUT WARNING: ZERO VISIBILITY

The whiteouts witnessed Wednesday morning in the greater London, Ont., area with the lake effect snow and wind gusts to near 70 km/h at times closed roads and resulted in numerous cancellations. While accumulations were not especially heavy, keep in mind that strong winds can quickly reduce the visibility to near zero even with just a coating of snow on the ground.

During Wednesday night, the wind will turn to the west and then southwest, causing the snow squalls to swing around to areas east of Georgian Bay before diminishing for a while on Thursday.

RECAPPING THE ALBERTA CLIPPERS

Late on Thursday, an Alberta clipper will bring a widespread snowfall to Southern Ontario. Accumulations will generally be near 5-10 cm, and once again blowing snow will be an issue. In addition, heavier snowfall is likely across the Niagara Peninsula and along the 401 east of Toronto due to lake enhancement from Lakes Erie and Ontario.



The widespread snow should be over by early Friday morning, but gusty winds will continue, so the Friday morning commute will be slow and slippery across the Greater Toronto Area due to the blowing snow. Lake effect squalls will also resume in the snowbelt regions southeast of Georgian Bay and Lake Huron during the day on Friday.



The frigid weather will continue on Saturday, but a recovery back towards seasonal temperatures will begin on Sunday.



THE REST OF JANUARY: A QUICK LOOK

The weather pattern will relax somewhat next week with temperatures more typical of January. At this point there are no major storm systems in sight for Southern Ontario. However, the pattern next week will be somewhat favorable for a system to develop over the Southeastern U.S. and track towards Eastern Canada during the middle of next week, but it is too early to determine who would be impacted by this system.



As we head towards the following weekend and beyond (roughly January 17-24), it looks like milder weather will spread east and eventually bring a January thaw to Southern Ontario, though the timing of this period of milder weather is still uncertain.

In addition, it is unlikely that this milder weather will stay around anywhere near as long as it did during December. There are signs that the final days of January and early February will bring a return to a weather pattern similar to what we are currently seeing across Canada with below seasonal temperatures across the Great Lakes region.



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