Risk of travel impact this weekend, up to 10 cm of snow coming to Ontario

·2 min read
Risk of travel impact this weekend, up to 10 cm of snow coming to Ontario
Risk of travel impact this weekend, up to 10 cm of snow coming to Ontario

After setting a new daily record for December warmth on Thursday, winter returns to southern Ontario in full force this weekend, as a stateside system threatens up to 10 cm of snow into Saturday. The western end of Lake Ontario could see even higher amounts with lake-enhancement. In addition to the snow, gusty easterly winds could reduce visibility at times. Impact to travel along the 401 and QEW corridors are likely, with slippery and snow-covered roads expected on the final weekend leading up to the holidays. More on the timing and impacts, below.

WEEKEND: TEMPERATURES FALL, WIDESPREAD SWATH OF SNOW PUSHES IN

Though remaining brisk, the damaging wind threat continues to ease across southern Ontario after Thursday's potent windstorm knocked out power to more than 20,000 customers throughout the day.

The upside to the winds however, was another surge of warmth, with Toronto setting a new daily December record, as daytime highs soared above 17°C. While Friday will be much cooler, combined with abundant sunshine, temperatures will still remain well above seasonal.

Icons OntarioGTA1 ThisAfternoon
Icons OntarioGTA1 ThisAfternoon

Conditions will turn much colder on Saturday, as a system is set to track south of the Great Lakes, bringing widespread snow and gusty winds to the region.

"Widespread snow totals of 5 to 10 cm are expeced across the Greater Toronto Area and Niagara region, though most places should end up being closer to 5 cm than 10 cm," says Dr. Doug Gillham, a meteorologist at The Weather Network. "The snow will start early in the morning and continue through the afternoon."

ONSnow (14)
ONSnow (14)

For areas on the western end of Lake Ontario, some higher amounts with lake-enhancement is possible. Meanwhile, areas along the Lake Erie shoreline from south of Windsor to Niagara could see a brief mix of ice pellets or light rain. Areas across cottage country can expect around 5 cm of snow or less.

Drivers are being urged to expect slippery and snow covered roads, especially across the 401 and QEW corridors. Reduced visibilty could also impact travel, with easterly winds gusting between 40-60 km/h.

ONWind (5)
ONWind (5)

LOOK AHEAD: CHANCES FOR A WHITE CHRISTMAS WILL COME DOWN TO THE WIRE

While the pattern next week looks to be more seasonal, changeable conditions are still expected, with exact storm tracks being the key to a white Christmas.

MUST SEE: Canada's 2021 Holiday Snow Report

"A white versus green Christmas will likely come down to the wire," says Gillham. "We are keeping an eye on the potential for a system around Christmas Eve. It is too early to make a call on the exact track and whether that will bring us snow or rain and that will likely be the deciding factor for a white versus green Christmas."

Be sure to check back for the latest updates on the changeable pattern across Ontario.

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