Major winter storm to be highly disruptive across Ontario
This past weekend it became apparent that the pattern was ripe for an ice storm; unfortunately, that is coming to fruition. The total amount of precipitation is greatly enhanced from the Gulf of Mexico, so this will likely become a memorable winter storm for many.
It should be no surprise this is our number one impact with this dangerous Colorado low, and a couple of factors make a significant ice storm likely. The total hours of freezing rain are extensive for many regions north of Lake Erie.
Moreover, a secondary wave of moisture brings additional freezing rain through Thursday, but it's the gusty northeast winds that will tip us over the edge in terms of long-duration power outages.
Impacts include less snow to shovel for regions between heavy freezing rain and heavy snow. Ice pellets do not accumulate as readily as snowfall; they’ll still blow around and create slick surfaces, but much less dangerous than freezing rain.
There'll be a substantial amount of ice pellets wedged between the snow and freezing rain. Some areas across the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) might see upwards of 10 hours of ice pellets as the dominant precipitation type.
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It’s a tall order to forecast this wintry cocktail with precision for regions in this transition zone, so precipitation type will tend to fluctuate across the GTA with this event.
This is probably the most normal aspect of this storm, but further north, these snowfall amounts will still become problematic. From the shores of Lake Huron and cottage county extending across eastern Ontario, there’s a higher probability to see over 20 cm of snowfall through Thursday.
Amounts start to fall off the closer to Quebec you travel, but even the Ottawa region is looking at in excess of 15 cm of snowfall with this low.
The system will also initially start off as heavy snowfall for most across southern Ontario and the GTA before the warm air aloft has enough time to push in from the south, transitioning the precipitation to a wintry-mix. This will create some serious commute troubles by Wednesday evening.
SEE ALSO: Here's how to stay safe during a winter power outage
The Colorado low will slide across the region beginning early Wednesday, starting with light snowfall for many.
Southern Ontario will see the peak of the system on Wednesday afternoon and overnight into Thursday. Winds drastically increase out of the northeast, with freezing rain intensifying north of Lake Erie. This combination will guarantee power outages for some, perhaps becoming long-duration in nature.
Thursday will see a lull in the precipitation in the forecast as the first area of low pressure departs towards the east, but another wave of low pressure threatens to bring another lighter coating of freezing rain and mixed precipitation across southern Ontario, causing additional impacts throughout the day.
The system is expected to die down Thursday night and depart the region on Friday.
Thumbnail courtesy of Mark Robinson.
Stay tuned to The Weather Network for more forecast updates for Ontario.