Miserable weather causing Christmas travel delays; possible ice storm on the horizon

On the cusp of one of the biggest travel weekends of the year, Mother Nature is giving an early Christmas present to many travellers across the country. Unfortunately, it's one you'll probably want to re-gift.

Much of the eastern half of Canada is dealing with messy weather conditions this weekend, as two powerful winter storms barreling up from the Gulf states to spread more rain, snow and freezing rain from Ontario to Newfoundland.

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Today's icy weather has already caused slippery road conditions across southern Ontario, and is making an already-busy day at Toronto's Pearson International Airport even worse, causing hundreds of delays and cancellations for flights scheduled to arrive throughout the day. The Montreal-Trudeau Airport authority was reporting upwards of 50 delays and cancellations as they experience light snow on the leading edge of the initial storm. The Maritimes can expect to play host to this storm tonight and through the day tomorrow, shifting the weather-tangled traffic eastward.

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Environment Canada has issued freezing rain warnings from Windsor to Charlettetown and, unfortunately, those with weekend travel plans should expect those warnings to hang around well into Sunday.

This first pass is just a taste of things to come as a second, more powerful, storm swings out of Texas tonight and follows in its predecessor's footsteps, bringing with it the potential for a major ice storm Saturday night into Sunday. While the exact track of the second storm remains uncertain, Environment Canada has already issued statements warning that it is "very likely holiday travel will be significantly impacted." It should make finding a parking spot at the mall all the more exciting, too.

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Easterners aren't the only ones suffering holiday travel woes today, however. The Lower Mainland of B.C. was treated to their own wintry system overnight, sparking snowfall warnings through the Vancouver area, as well as across the strait onto eastern Vancouver Island. While the most of the snow is expected to accumulate up into the mountains, Vancouver International Airport has seen 7 cm so far, and a few dozen flight delays and cancellations to go with them.

Luckily for B.C. travelers, snow near the coast is expected to change to rain and then taper off to drizzle this afternoon and while the rest of the weekend looks wet, temperatures will remain safely above freezing.

(Photo courtesy AP Canada)

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