Choose your adventure, Ontario: 20-40 cm of snow, or 20-40 mm of rain?
Ontario will barely have a chance to unwind from the sharp squall that screamed through parts of the province on Wednesday before the next storm arrives to close out the week.
The storm’s track will cut a sharp divide across the province, with heavy snow plastering parts of the north and steady rains soaking the south. Expect significant impacts to travel across areas expecting heavy snowfall.
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Heavy snow to the north, heavy rain to the south, gusty winds all around
March has no intention of “going out like a lamb” this year as a significant storm tracks toward Ontario—just in time to begin the weekend and the new month.
A beefy Colorado low will drag plenty of moisture north across the border, fueling a significant round of snow for parts of northern Ontario while folks across the south deal with a spell of soaking rains.
This low-pressure system will deepen in a hurry on Friday as it pushes into the Great Lakes from the west. The centre of the low will track close to Georgian Bay overnight Friday into Saturday, placing the dividing line between rough wintry weather and dismal spring-like weather right through the heart of cottage country.
We’ll see precipitation push into central and southern Ontario early Friday morning, with a soggy commute on tap for much of the region. Precipitation will grow heavier overnight Friday into Saturday.
A surge of warmer temperatures ahead of the storm will bring above-seasonal temperatures to much of southern Ontario, with some communities possibly reaching the mid-teens for the first time this year.
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A steady, drenching rain will leave behind widespread totals of 20-40 mm in the gauges by the end of the storm on Saturday, with higher totals possible toward the shores of Lake Huron. Gusty winds will also accompany the rain and warmer temperatures.
Wind gusts of 60-80 km/h are likely across southern Ontario heading into the day Saturday. The combination of gusty winds and wet soils could lead to localized tree damage and power outages.
Farther north, cold air will make for a significant snowfall event for parts of northern Ontario. Folks from Sault Ste. Marie to Sudbury could see 30-50 cm of snow by the time the storm clears out on Saturday. The swath of heaviest snow is narrow and will heavily depend on the ultimate track of the low-pressure system.
Heavy snow and gusty winds will lead to low visibility on roads at the height of the storm. Travel will be significantly impacted throughout the region, including along stretches of the Trans-Canada Highway.
Calmer and cooler conditions will prevail behind the storm by Sunday. An active pattern with changeable temperatures is expected to continue through the first week of April as a few more significant systems track across the region. For some areas, the warm temperatures on Saturday could be a preview of what’s ahead next week.
Be sure to check back for the latest weather updates across Ontario.