Ontario: Storm moves out, dangerous squalls, wind move in
Wednesday, February 13, 2019, 10:37 AM - As much of southern Ontario digs out and de-ices from Tuesday's powerful winter storm, damaging winds, some lingering snow flurries and dangerous squalls will make for yet another difficult day on the roads for thousands. Blowing snow and localized whiteouts are the main issues as the winds continue to blast through. More on the mid-week travel mess below, plus a look at the NEXT system that approaches the region as early as Thursday.
- Widespread light snow continues through Wednesday as the low finally tracks across northeastern Ontario and into western Quebec
- Strong, persistent winds will cause extensive blowing snow and blizzard-like conditions Wednesday
- Next system approaches on Thursday with more snow and freezing rain threatening the region as temperatures fall by Friday
- Latest warnings HERE
WATCH BELOW: LINGERING FLURRIES AND LAKE-EFFECT SNOW
STRONG WINDS PERSIST, BUSES PULLED FROM THE ROADS
Though the worst of the storm's impact is over across southern Ontario, strong winds with gusts up to 70 km/h are sweeping through the region and blowing much of that freshly fallen snow around. Poor visibility in snow and blowing snow is expected to persist over some areas through the day. Ice build-up from Tuesday's mix of freezing rain and ice pellets has also left many surfaces encased in a cement-like mess.
"This ice build-up combined with strong winds may cause tree branches to break, possibly resulting in power outages," warned Environment Canada in a special weather statement issued early Wednesday.
Wednesday's poor conditions prompted early morning school bus cancellations for the Halton, Peel, Dufferin and Durham districts, although schools remain open, including in Toronto. Meanwhile, all bus service and all schools are closed in the Hamilton-Wentworth public board. School closures are widespread in eastern Ontario as well, after the City of Ottawa made the pre-emptive call to close ALL Catholic and Public schools on Tuesday in anticipation of the heavy snow that has since fallen. By 6 a.m. on Wednesday, nearly 30 cm was already recorded in the city.
DANGEROUS SNOW SQUALLS RETURN, WARNINGS ISSUED
Lake-effect snow will impact areas east of Lake Huron and Georgian Bay through Wednesday as the Colorado Low responsible for this latest winter punishment departs.
"Visibility may be suddenly reduced to near zero due to blowing snow," warns Environment Canada, adding that some areas may see snowfall amounts upwards of 20 cm by day's end.
Bands of lake-effect snow will also extend into parts of the Golden Horseshoe at times with quick bursts of heavier snow possible through the day on Wednesday.
"Difficult travel is likely across the snow belts with blowing snow and localized whiteouts as the wind continues to gust to 60 to 80 km/h," says Weather Network meteorologist Dr. Doug Gillham.
WATCH BELOW: EYES ON THE NEXT APPROACHING STORMS
As the snow eases to flurries from west to east through the day on Wednesday, we're watching the next system approaching southern Ontario Thursday.
"Thursday will be mostly cloudy with rain showers developing across the southern Golden Horseshoe, possibly starting as freezing rain, during the mid to late afternoon," Gillham says. "Snow is likely for the northern half of the Golden Horseshoe, roughly north of the 401."
The rain will continue through Thursday night south of the 401/407 with between 4-8 cm of snow expected across northern parts of the Golden Horseshoe.
"The precipitation will end early on Friday with temperatures then falling through the day," Gillham says. "The high temperatures will occur during the morning with temperatures falling below freezing for the afternoon throughout the region."
Colder weather will return to the region for the weekend with high temperatures a few degrees colder than normal. We are also closely watching the track of yet another Colorado Low that will track well south of the border during Sunday.
"If this system tracks just a bit further north than currently expected, then we will see snow develop across southern parts of our region, especially for Niagara and into southern parts of the GTA," Gillham says.
Please be sure to check back for updates as we continue to monitor this weekend system.
LOCKING INTO A COLDER PATTERN FOR LATE FEBRUARY
After a temperature roller coaster for the first half of February, the second half of the month will feature a more consistently cold pattern.
"We know that there will be an abundance of frigid weather in Canada - the question is whether that will remain focused across western Canada or will the Arctic air return to the Great Lakes region during the second half of the month?," Gillham says. "At this point we expect that colder than normal temperatures will dominate during the second half of February and this pattern is expected to persist through the first half of March."
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