In a so far winter that really hasn't amounted to much, all eyes are now on a significant storm set to impact much of central and eastern Canada early next week. Parts of Ontario and Quebec are in line for some hefty snowfall amounts, which could end up impacting travel through Monday. Exact storm totals will be dependent on the storm track and how close it remains to the U.S. East Coast, but this will still be one to watch in the days ahead as it could bring some of the biggest snowfall of the season so far. More on what we know so far, and the bitter wind chill that kicks off this bold return to winter, below.
FRIDAY: BUNDLE UP, THE WICKED WIND CHILL RETURNS
After starting the week with some of the coldest air of the season so far, temperatures quickly rebounded mid-week, with daytime highs soaring above the freezing mark once again across southern Ontario.
While splashes of sunshine will kick off the weekend on Friday, a brisk north wind will see the return of the wind chill, which will drop into the -20s and -30s for parts of the region.
Saturday will remain mostly sunny and frigid, as eyes turn to the potentially significant snowmaker that looms.
SATURDAY INTO SUNDAY: THE STORM TO WATCH FORMS IN THE U.S.
The storm that’ll affect much of Eastern Canada early next week is rooted in what’s happening across the United States this week. Two systems — one swooping in from the Pacific Northwest, and another rolling off the Prairies — will merge over the southern states and kick off this disruptive system.
You may have noticed a huge uptick in chatter about this storm on social media. That’s largely driven by weather enthusiasts stateside who are eagerly awaiting their first significant thump of snow and ice this season.
This winter storm will track from the Mid-South straight through New England, affecting many major cities, including places like Atlanta, Charlotte, and Washington, D.C. Any wintry weather in the southeastern U.S. is a big deal due to a combination of lack of winter driving experience and a deficit of equipment like snow plows, salt/sand trucks, and winter tires.
The system could produce widespread snowfall from Georgia to Maine, with significant icing from freezing rain following the track of the storm into the northeastern states. Gusty winds will make matters worse, potentially instigating widespread power outages in some areas.
MONDAY: BRACE FOR TRICKY TRAVEL AS THE STORM SWEEPS INTO ONTARIO AND QUEBEC
We’ll have to closely watch the system once it reaches the northeastern U.S.
After an up-and-down week of temperatures, cold air will be firmly entrenched over the eastern half of Canada come this weekend and beyond.
As the system pushes into the northeastern states this weekend, moisture will spill over the international border into that cold air parked over Ontario and Quebec, leading to a period of snow through the day on Monday into early Tuesday.
This is a complex forecast with lower-than-normal confidence in the track of the system. As of right now however, computer models are suggesting heavy snowfall to set up across southeastern Ontario late Monday morning, continuing through the day, with major impacts likely along the 401 towards Kingston and into the Ottawa Valley. It appears likely that a swath of 15-25+ cm of snow is possible somewhere in eastern Ontario and southern Quebec through Tuesday.
The precise track of this system will determine where the greatest snow totals fall, and even where accumulating snow falls at all. A track slightly toward the west would put the GTA in play for accumulating snow, while a track slightly toward the east would leave the GTA on the western fringe of the snowfall.
"We are still days out from this low pressure system forming. A slight wobble in the track or positioning of it can really tip snowfall accumulations one way or the other," explains Jessie Uppal, a meteorologist at The Weather Network. "Regardless, the heavy snow potential is there."
Snow totals near 10 cm are possible for most of the GTA, with a wide range in totals likely for the Niagara region -- from near 10 cm for Hamilton to 20-25 cm across eastern parts of the region, including Niagara Falls and Fort Erie.
All of precipitation associated with this storm however, is expected to fall as snow thanks to all of the cold air to interact with centered over Ontario and Quebec.
Make sure to check back frequently heading into this weekend as forecasters get a clearer picture of what this storm will look like as it approaches Ontario and Quebec.
WATCH: TEMPERATURE SWINGS CAN BE PROBLEMATIC FOR INFRASTRUCTURE
A LACKLUSTRE WINTER SO FAR FOR SOME
Despite the occasional bursts of cold and snow, it’s been a relatively lacklustre winter across parts of Ontario and Quebec. The pattern that brought a bounty of winter weather and frigid temperatures to Western Canada is largely responsible for the relative dearth of cold and snow in the east so far this winter.
The city of Montreal has only seen 52 cm of snow so far this season, which is below the city’s average of about 85 cm through the middle of January. A typical winter in Montreal picks up around 210 cm of snow. The upcoming storm could add to those totals, helping to close the snowfall deficit that’s grown this winter.
BEYOND: A WINTRY END TO JANUARY DOESN'T LOOK TO LAST INTO FEBRUARY
The rest of next week looks rather wintry, with temperatures near seasonal or tipping to the colder side of seasonal. A potent clipper system is expected Tuesday night and into Wednesday, followed by another shot of Arctic air.
This wintry pattern is expected to continue into or through the final week of January, with the potential for another shot or two of frigid weather to end the month. A milder pattern however, is expected to return for much of February.
Stay tuned to The Weather Network for the latest updates on this snowfall potential.