Travel will be compromised across much of Ontario on Wednesday with heavy snow and powerful winds impacting different parts of the province. A swath of 10-20 cm of snow has prompted winter travel advisories throughout northern Ontario, while wind warnings and special weather statements are in effect for potentially damaging gusts in the south. There is also the risk of localized power outages from Wednesday's wicked winds. More on the timing and impacts across the province, below.
DON'T MISS: January promises nationwide 'pattern shakeup'
WEDNESDAY: HEAVY SNOW SPREADS ACROSS NORTHERN ONTARIO, DANGEROUS TRAVEL CONDITIONS AMID BLOWING SNOW
A system pushing across parts of northern Ontario prompted winter weather travel advisories through Wednesday. Heavy snow is expected to continue during the day before gradually easing through the evening and overnight hours. Snowfall rates of up to 3 cm an hour are possible at times.
A heavy swath of 10-20 cm is possible from just east of Lake Superior and northern Georgian Bay shores through Timmins and into central Quebec.
Northerly wind gusts will also pick up across northwestern Ontario, with gusts of 40-60 km/h expected to persist through the day on Wednesday, reducing visibilities in blowing snow.
"If visibility is reduced while driving, slow down, watch for tail lights ahead and be prepared to stop. Surfaces such as highways, roads, walkways and parking lots may become difficult to navigate due to accumulating snow. Visibility may be suddenly reduced at times in heavy snow. Road closures are possible," Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC) says in the winter weather travel advisory.
POWERFUL WINDS THREATEN LOCAL OUTAGES ACROSS THE SOUTH
Meanwhile, across southern Ontario, a mild and southwesterly flow will dominate. This will bump up temperatures briefly, however, bands of flurries will be possible at times as a cold front crosses the region on Wednesday afternoon. Any accumulations would be minimal if the snow does fly.
Winds will also strengthen across much of the region on Wednesday afternoon and areas along Lake Erie and Lake Ontario may experience gusts as high as 90 km/h into the evening hours. These areas include: Niagara, Simcoe, Dunnville, as well as Kingston and Prince Edward County.
Drivers are being urged to adjust with the changing road conditions due to the high winds.
There will be the risk of isolated power outages, and if you have any loose outdoor furniture, place them inside or ensure they're tied down.
By the late evening and overnight hours, winds will gradually ease and shift out of the northwest. This will allow for some relatively weak lake-effect bands to form off of Lake Huron and Georgian Bay through the day on Thursday.
LOOK AHEAD: TEMPERATURE ROLLER-COASTER CONTINUES THROUGH MID-JANUARY
Forecasters were closely watching a developing winter storm tracking south of the U.S. border for the end of the week, though at this point, it looks like most of the heavy snow will stay well south of the border.
Temperatures will remain cold through the first half of the weekend, briefly warming up on Sunday with rain showers expected.
By early next week, a strong cold front crossing the region threatens some of the coldest weather of the season so far, with overnight temperatures set to dip into the -20s, feeling even colder with the wind chill.
After this quick shot of arctic air however, milder temperatures are expected to return during the second half of next week, with a changeable temperature pattern set to persist through mid January.
Be sure to check back for the latest weather conditions as we kick off this new year in Ontario.