Lake-effect snow squalls persist in Ontario, bring travel impacts

·3 min read
Lake-effect snow squalls persist in Ontario, bring travel impacts
Lake-effect snow squalls persist in Ontario, bring travel impacts

The week began strikingly similar to the previous one in southern Ontario, with a bout of system and lake-enhanced snowfall that brought traffic to a snarl in the eastern areas of the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) Monday. That is expected to ease in the overnight period, but travel will likely remain tricky during this time. That isn't the end for the snow, however, as another round of lake-effect squalls is expected to set up once again Tuesday, forming off of Lake Huron and Georgian Bay. Expect interruptions to travel due to reduced visiblity from the blowing snow in these regions. Once they wind down by Wednesday, another shot of Arctic air will send temperatures plummeting once more. More on the snow squall timing and impacts, as well as a look ahead to the frigid temperatures, below.

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TUESDAY AND BEYOND: MORE LAKE-EFFECT SNOW SQUALLS, ARCTIC AIR SHOT

Combined with a clipper, southwesterly winds over Lake Ontario enhanced snowfall rates in the eastern GTA Monday, especially for areas closer to the lakeshore. Snow squall warnings and winter weather travel advisories are in place, but will drop once conditions subside in the overnight period. Some areas in the eastern GTA may see 10-20 cm of snow by the time it winds down.

Reduced visibility due to higher snowfall rates and slick roads made travel more difficult along the 401-east stretch of the highway, and will likely remain hazardous through the overnight period.

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Once the clipper passes, more snow is expected as a result of lake enhancement and squalls developing again for Tuesday. Bands of heavier lake-effect snow will develop off of Lake Huron and Georgian Bay, and may linger into Wednesday, as well.

ONSNOW
ONSNOW

Through Wednesday, areas near Lake Huron may see see 5-20 cm of snow, with 5-10 cm for areas near Georgian Bay.

Ontario is facing a persistently cold pattern through much of this week. A shot of reinforced cold air will make a return to southern Ontario Tuesday night into early Wednesday morning.

Temperatures are expected to dip into the -20s, briefly. The coldest day of the week will see daytime high temperatures struggling to reach the -20s for Ottawa and staying below the -10-degree mark for the GTA.

ONTEMPWED
ONTEMPWED

Beyond, Thursday will see see temperatures moderate somewhat, but then another shot of Arctic air will send temperatures back well below seasonal Friday and on the weekend.

LOOK AHEAD TO FEBRUARY AND SEVERAL QUESTIONS REMAIN

A bigger pattern change is expected for the start of February, as the frigid weather will shift back to Western Canada and remain there for the month. While the pattern will definitely be milder than what we are seeing for the second half of January, it is possible that early February will also include some high-impact and messy storms.

"The question is whether the warmer weather can take over and give us an extended thaw or whether the Arctic air to the west will fight back and attempt to push back into the region at times — resulting in a changeable and stormy pattern," says Dr. Doug Gillham, a meteorologist at The Weather Network.

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Thumbnail courtesy of Miguel Girary, taken in Scarborough, Ont.

Check back for the latest forecast across Ontario.

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