A potential ice storm across much of southern Ontario over the weekend may cause widespread power outages impacting thousands of customers, hydro officials warn.
The major weather event, which will last around three and a half days, is expected to pummel much of southern Ontario with heavy rain, freezing rain and ice pellets beginning late Friday evening and into Sunday.
“Yesterday we were thinking more freezing rain, less ice pellets,” Global News chief meteorologist Anthony Farnell said.
“Now, that cold layer is a little bit deeper, so this is going to be an ice pellet event for much of Saturday.”
Environment Canada has issued a special weather statement for all of southern Ontario with some regions in the west receiving more rain, whereas areas north of Toronto there will be snow and the bulk of the ice pellets.
The weather office also issued a freezing rain warning for the Greater Toronto Area on Friday.
Areas in eastern Ontario will see snowfall amounts of between 10 and 15 centimetres, along with freezing rain and ice pellets.
“Snow up to the north — freezing rain — there’s still a big risk in London and even Niagara,” Farnell said. “The models are shifting south but that doesn’t change things as we move into Sunday.”
The rain will begin in the Greater Toronto Area late Friday evening and turn into freezing rain on Saturday followed by ice pellets as colder air moves into the region.
The national weather office said another surge of moisture will move back into the area late overnight or early Sunday morning.
“A prolonged period of freezing rain is possible Sunday before changing over to rain heavy at times later in the day,” Environment Canada said in an advisory on Friday.
WATCH: City of Toronto confident limited number of salt trucks can tackle ice storm. Kamil Karamali reports.
Farnell said parts of southern Ontario will receive about a month and a half’s worth of rain, freezing rain and snow.
The weather system will also result in wind gusts of up to 70 kilometres per hour in some areas which may cause power outages.
Hydro One said crews are ready to respond to emergencies throughout the weekend and workers will be on standby.
Officials are also warning hydro customers to stay away from downed power lines caused by fallen tree limbs and to contact authorities to report outages.
Motorists are being advised to avoid unnecessary travel on highways and roadways late Saturday and early Sunday.