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Heavy snow expected – possibly even thundersnow – as storm makes way to southern Ontario

Click to play video: 'A big winter storm is headed to southern Ontario: Here’s what’s expected'
A big winter storm is headed to southern Ontario: Here’s what’s expected
WATCH ABOVE: Global News chief meteorologist Anthony Farnell breaks down what southern Ontario can expect from a major winter storm that’s set to impact the region Friday into Saturday – Jan 12, 2024

As the arrival of another Texas low nears, the forecast is becoming clearer, with much of southern Ontario expecting heavy snow to fall in a very short amount of time Friday, as well as strong winds and even the possibility of thundersnow.

Global News meteorologist Ross Hull says another concern is that temperatures will rise, turning the snow to rain, before falling again overnight and leaving behind any icy mess.

“This band of snow… will provide potentially 2 to 5 cm per hour,” said Hull.

“That band of snow is eventually going to turn to rain, the big question is: when does that happen? If we hold on to snow for three hours, well you do the math: five centimeters an hour, for instance, that would be 15 cm.”

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Environment Canada has issued several winter storm warnings for areas northeast of Lake Huron and special weather statements for parts of southwestern Ontario as well as areas closer to Lake Ontario.

The storm is expected to reach Ontario in the afternoon, reaching Sarnia and Windsor around 3 p.m., before reaching the GTHA around 6 p.m. and continuing north towards Ottawa to arrive there at around 8 or 9 p.m. Friday.

Areas like Barrie and Peterborough are forecast to see mostly snow with 15-20 cm expected, Ottawa could see 15-30 cm, while areas further south or closer to Lake Ontario like London, Hamilton, Toronto and Kingston can expect 5-10 cm before the system switches to rain.

As for the possibility of thundersnow, Hull says there’s “so much deep convection, so much energy with this system as it moves in that there’s that possibility, once again of some thundersnow.”

“It’s basically the same concept when you experience a thunderstorm in the summer… but instead of heavy rain, it will initially be likely some heavy snow. And with that also comes lightning. And when we have lightning, you hear thunder. So that’s a possibility, not a 100% chance. But don’t be surprised if it’s something you experienced this evening.”

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