Risk of freezing rain for southern Ontario on Thursday with threat of weekend ice storm
A mix of messy and potentially severe weather is on the way for parts of southern Ontario as a fast-moving low-pressure system moves across the region in the next several days.
Environment Canada has issued a special weather statement for Toronto, Hamilton, Halton-Peel, York-Durham, Guelph and Barrie due to possible freezing rain early Thursday morning and the potential for an ice storm in areas north of the Greater Toronto Area over the weekend.
The weather service said the freezing rain should be fairly brief near the Highway 401 corridor but may persist for a couple of hours in regions farther north. Areas closer to Lake Ontario will only experience rain.
Global News chief meteorologist Anthony Farnell said the warm temperature forecast for Thursday will not last long.
LISTEN: Anthony Farnell joins The Morning Show on 640 Toronto
“As soon as you get past Thursday evening, it goes right back to this cold air. So much so that we’re going to go from losing that winter jacket tomorrow, to not just putting it back on, but maybe needing the scraper and the shovel,” Farnell told Global News Radio 640 Toronto.
“This weekend, I am very concerned that this system coming in is going to have a swath of ice that should stretch through the GTA and heavy snow up in cottage country. We’re talking 30 to maybe 50 centimetres.”
Environment Canada said areas north of the GTA could see ice accumulations in excess of 20 millimetres due to the potential of an ice storm.
Wind gusts of up to 60 kilometres per hour could cause widespread power outages due to fallen tree limbs and power lines.
Farnell said the weekend weather will start off with rain Friday evening but will quickly turn into something much more fierce as the temperature plummets.
“I’m not overly concerned for downtown Toronto or places near the water. It should be warm enough,” Farnell said.
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“But as you get a little bit further north, as you go up in elevation, this could maybe be a one, two, or two-and-a-half day ice event, so an inch of ice, that coats everything and that’s why Environment Canada is warning of a potential ice storm and power outages associated with it.”
Farnell said the below average temperatures in the Greater Toronto Area for this time of the year are caused by a lingering cold weather system that pushed its way through in March.
“What really has happened is that cold air kind of sloshed over to our side of the pole into North America earlier in March and then the jet stream starts to weaken a little bit as we get later into the season,” Farnell said.
“So those cold pockets of air, wherever they are, they just stay put and that is sort of what we are seeing, this persistent pattern where almost every single day is several degrees below average here in Toronto and really across the entire country.”
Farnell said the weekend storm may likely be the last major cold weather event this spring and warmer temperatures are expected to move in by the end of April.
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