Widespread winter weather warnings span Ontario and Quebec, as freezing rain and heavy snow threatens difficult travel through Saturday. For places like Montreal, this will be the first measurable snowfall of the season so far. Across southern Ontario, where conditions remained relatively mild with rain showers on Thursday, cold Arctic air flooding into the region will translate into some passing flurries throughout Friday. Cold northwesterly winds over the still unfrozen Great Lakes could also generate as much as 15 cm of lake-effect snow for the traditional snow belt regions. Snow squall warnings are in effect. More on the timing and impacts, below, plus a look at a more widespread snow expected as early as Sunday.
FRIDAY INTO SATURDAY: WIDESPREAD WINTRY WARNINGS IN EFFECT, THREAT FOR 20+ CM OF SNOW OVER PARTS OF QUEBEC
As a low pressure system pushed into the Great Lakes region on Thursday, at-times heavy snow spread across parts of northern Ontario. A winter weather travel advisory remained in effect for the region Friday morning, warning of icy road conditions, with the colder temperatures and accumulating snow.
The dip in temperatures also resulted in freezing rain warnings for areas in southern Quebec early Friday, with around 2 mm of freezing precipitation expected.
While mostly snow flurries are likely for southern Ontario on Friday, a gusty northwest wind will fire up the lake-effect snow machine once again. Snow squall warnings are in effect, with local accumulations of 5-15 cm expected by Saturday morning in areas that experience the most persistent squalls.
"Travel will likely become difficult and motorists are advised to exercise caution," warns Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC).
These snow squalls are forecast to gradually taper as the winds ease by early Saturday morning.
The system snow however, will continue over eastern Quebec, with 10-20+ cm expected between Friday night and Saturday. In Montreal, closer to 5 cm is likely, though this will be the first measurable snowfall of the season for the region and could catch some drivers off guard.
Strong winds in behind this system could produce blowing snow and reduced visibilities through the hardest hit areas of Quebec on Saturday.
"Quickly accumulating snow will make travel difficult," ECCC says. "While driving, be prepared for areas of near zero visibility. Consider modifying any non-essential travel plans."
Wet roadways and sidewalks will also be extra slick early Saturday across both Ontario and Quebec, as much colder air will have firmly settled in.
SUNDAY: MORE POTENT WINTRY CLIPPER BRINGS FIRST WIDESPREAD SNOW
A more potent wintry clipper will track across the Great Lakes and southern Ontario on Sunday, with forecasters watching the potential for widespread light snow.
"This would be our first widespread snow of the season, with the potential for much of southern Ontario to see several centimetres of snow," says Dr. Doug Gillham, a meteorologist at The Weather Network, adding that a general 2-5 cm is likely.
Higher totals are currently forecast southwest of the GTA, with 5-8 cm possible for places like London and Chatham. The exact storm track is still uncertain however, and that will highly impact who sees the heaviest snow.
Near or slightly below seasonal temperatures will persist through early and mid next week, with the potential for a couple more clippers to track across the region. It is still too early to have confidence in the track and impacts of those systems.
Be sure to check back for the latest weather updates across Ontario and Quebec.