Cancellations pile up, risk of power outages growing as snow and ice explode in Ontario

Cancellations pile up, risk of power outages growing as snow and ice explode in Ontario

Cancellations pile up, risk of power outages growing as snow and ice explode in Ontario

Dangerously icy roads and widespread power outages are likely in southern Ontario as a major winter storm sweeps through the region.

Highway 402 will act as a rough dividing line between snow and ice pellets to the north and significant ice crust from freezing rain along the highway and to the south.

People across the region should expect widespread travel issues through Thursday night and prepare for the possibility of prolonged power outages in areas hardest hit by freezing rain.

As the storm increases, the number of transit cancellations increases

This violent storm could last more than 20 hours in some parts of southern Ontario and severely affect driving during both drives Thursday.

The Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) suspended bus service at dozens of stops as of 5 p.m. Wednesday. Operations will be suspended at these stops because they are located at “known icy hilltop hotspots,” the TTC says.

Airlines have delayed or canceled dozens of flights from Toronto-Pearson International Airport through Thursday morning, with disruption likely to increase as the storm intensifies overnight.

RELATED: “Common Sense Driving Tips to Navigate Canada’s Winter”

School districts are expected to make announcements about schedule changes and transportation well into the early hours of the morning. As of Wednesday 8:00 p.m., no major district had announced any changes.

Freezing rain a significant threat in southwestern Ontario

Of most concern is the continued risk of significant freezing rain in southwestern Ontario, from Windsor to London to the Niagara Peninsula. Some of the worst travel conditions will be along Highway 3 north of Lake Erie and along parts of the 401.

Rainfall will reach its highest intensity from Wednesday to Thursday morning.

ONEIce StormIce

ONEIce StormIce

Due to the continued duration of this event, the region is on widespread freezing rain warnings.

The amount of ice accumulation depends on surface temperature, wind speeds and precipitation rates. It’s important to remember when looking at the ice forecast that only about half of the falling sleet will accumulate on surfaces like roads, tree branches, and power lines.

ALSO SEE: How to Stay Safe During a Winter Power Outage

With wind gusts in excess of 40 mph, the risk of tree and power line damage is widespread, with prolonged power outages looming through Thursday.

ONE ice storm failures

ONE ice storm failures

WATCH: Worried about a power outage? So prepare yourself in time

Click here to watch the video

Threat of ice pellets and heavy snow

For the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) and the north and east regions, more cold air flows in from the north. This creates a much shallower melt layer, leading to accumulations of snow and ice pellets.

Plenty of ice pellets are expected for parts of the GTA, probably the most we’ve seen since the April 2018 storm.

Ice pellets don’t accumulate as easily as snowfall. They will still blow around and create smooth surfaces, but the impact will be less than Freezing Rain. Don’t be fooled, however, as ice pellets are very heavy, making them difficult to shovel. Ice pellets can freeze solid after standing for a while, potentially making them even more difficult to shovel away after the storm has passed.

ONEIce StormSnow

ONEIce StormSnow

The GTA can expect combined snow and ice pellet accumulations of around 20cm, with more possible in the north and less in the south.

While ice accumulation will be minimal, widespread winter storm warnings have been issued for the GTA and surrounding areas to the north due to the mix of snow and ice.

There will be additional freezing rain on Thursday, giving travelers and commuters another headache.

Stretching from the shores of Lake Huron to Kingston and stretching across eastern Ontario, there is a higher chance of seeing over 20 inches of snowfall through Thursday.

Amounts are beginning to drop the further northeast you travel, but even the Ottawa region expects more than 20cm of snowfall at this low as the region remains on the cold side of this storm, prompting snowfall warnings to be issued.

The system is scheduled to depart Thursday evening and leave the region on Friday.

Visit The Weather Network for more updates and information on this Ontario winter storm. Information on contingency plans and kits is available at


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