Sunday will see the grand finale of a historic lake-effect snowstorm as a wind shift puts new parts of southern Ontario in play for heavy snowfall and periods of dangerous travel to end the weekend.
This has been a snow squall outbreak for the ages.
Wiarton, Ontario, reported 66 cm of snow from Thursday night to Saturday morning, with more snow in the forecast.
Some communities just across the border in western New York reportedly saw more than 70 inches of snow. That’s more than six feet, or nearly 200 cm, in some communities near Buffalo.
It’s tough to wrap one’s mind around the unbelievable mountain of powder that represents. It would take seven corgis stacked on top of one another to match the height of the deepest snow near Buffalo. It’s nearly the average height of a professional basketball player. And that doesn’t even take into account the drifting that occurred against homes and vehicles.
WATCH: Cleanup begins after massive snowstorm around Buffalo, NY
That kind of snow is a legitimate emergency. Side streets are impassable, making it impossible for folks to go to work, school, grocery shopping, or even allow for emergency crews to reach them if needed. It’ll take days—and a herculean community effort—to dig out the hardest-hit areas.
The favourable setup that buried western New York and sections of southern Ontario will begin to shift as we head into the day Sunday. Snow squalls will continue through the night Saturday into Sunday morning before winds begin to switch direction.
Southwesterly winds that allowed for those powerful snow squalls will rotate around and blow from the northwest by Sunday afternoon, realigning the snow bands that will affect the region.
Sunday’s snow squalls will blow off of Lake Huron and Georgian Bay, with the Bruce Peninsula, parts of cottage country, and the northern shores of Lake Ontario facing the potential for this event’s heaviest remaining snow.
All told, we could see significant additional snow accumulation by the end of Sunday. The southwesterly and northwesterly snow squalls combined could lead to isolated totals of 15-30 cm throughout southern Ontario and cottage country. The heaviest totals are likely across the Bruce Peninsula, where 30-40 cm of additional snow may fall.
It’s not going to be a gentle snowfall, either. Blustery conditions will accompany the squalls into the day Sunday, with winds of 50-70 km/h starting the day on an exceptionally chilly note across southern Ontario. Winds could gust up to 90 km/h along the Huron shores.
The combination of heavy snowfall and gusty winds will lead to more travel woes across the region. Conditions can rapidly change from clear to near-zero visibility over short distances in and near snow squalls.
Prepare for sudden drops in visibility and extremely difficult travel throughout southern Ontario on Sunday. Avoid driving if possible.
LISTEN: See (and hear) all the thundersnow caught on camera Friday
Stay tuned to The Weather Network for the latest on conditions across Ontario.