Major winter storm will be very disruptive across Ontario
Last weekend, it became clear that the pattern was ripe for an ice storm; unfortunately it works. Total rainfall is greatly increased by the Gulf of Mexico, making this likely to be a winter storm to remember for many.
It should come as no surprise that this is our biggest impact on this dangerous Colorado depression, and several factors make a significant ice storm likely. Total hours of freezing rain are extensive for many regions north of Lake Erie.
Additionally, a secondary moisture wave will bring additional freezing rain through Thursday, but it’s the gusty northeast winds that will tip us over the edge in terms of prolonged power outages.
Impacts include less snow to shovel for regions between heavy freezing rain and heavy snowfall. Ice pellets don’t accumulate as easily as snowfall; They will still blow around and create slick surfaces, but much less dangerous than freezing rain.
There will be a significant amount of ice pellets stuck between snow and freezing rain. In some Greater Toronto Area (GTA) areas, ice pellets may be the dominant precipitation type for more than 10 hours.
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Accurately predicting this wintry cocktail for regions in this transition zone is a tall order, so the precipitation type for this event will tend to vary across the GTA.
This is probably the most normal aspect of this storm, but further north these snowfall levels are still becoming problematic. From the shores of Lake Huron and Cottage County, which stretch across eastern Ontario, there is a higher chance of seeing over 20 inches of snowfall through Thursday.
The closer you travel to Quebec, the less snow falls, but even in the Ottawa region, expect more than 15 inches of snowfall at this low.
The system will also initially begin as heavy snowfall for most of southern Ontario and the GTA before warm air above has enough time to infiltrate from the south and turn the precipitation into a wintry mix. This will cause serious commuter problems through Wednesday night.
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The Colorado low will slide across the region beginning early Wednesday, beginning with light snowfall for many.
Southern Ontario will see the system peak Wednesday afternoon and overnight through Thursday. Winds from the Northeast are increasing drastically, with freezing rain increasing north of Lake Erie. This combination will guarantee for some power outages that may be permanent.
On Thursday, precipitation in the forecast will ease as the first area of low pressure flies east, but another low pressure wave threatens to bring another lighter layer of freezing rain and mixed precipitation over southern Ontario, with additional impacts in the whole country caused day.
The system is expected to shut down Thursday evening and leave the region on Friday.
Thumbnail courtesy of Mark Robinson.
Stay tuned to The Weather Network for more forecast updates for Ontario.