A rare and “historic” winter storm is quickly making its way to southern Ontario and people in Toronto are being asked to consider alternative travel plans throughout the holiday weekend.
Pearson Airport is already seeing many flight cancellations and delays.
The winter storm is expected to come in at full force Friday into Saturday, leading to heavy snow, damaging winds, a flash freeze, rain, and risk of ice pellets.
Winter storm watches, blizzard warnings, rainfall warnings, and special weather statements have all been issued for the multi-day storm that’s expected to make holiday travel a complete nightmare.
The system is expected to arrive in the GTA on Thursday with a light mix of snow and rain. Throughout the evening, precipitation rates will increase as snow transitions into rain.
Temperatures will start in the low single digits on Friday, but as the day progresses, temperatures will take a huge dive, meaning wet surfaces from the rain could ice over. According to Environment Canada, the flash freeze could produce icy and slippery surfaces.
Rapidly falling temperatures will also come with damaging winds, and extensive blowing snow is expected to develop on Friday morning.
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According to The Weather Network, snowfall will not be major in the GTA, however with the influx of holiday travel, road conditions could be messy.
“Travel is expected to be hazardous due to reduced visibility in some locations. Surfaces such as highways, roads, walkways, and parking lots may become icy and slippery,” reads a special weather alert by Environment and Climate Change Canada.
Snow accumulation is expected to be 10-15 centimetres in Toronto, with the risk of power outages, road closures, and flight cancellations or delays.
Weather alert: A major storm is expected to hit Toronto. Additional crews are ready to support customers 24/7 throughout the holiday weekend. Remember to build or refresh your emergency kit to help stay safe & warm in case of outages.
— Toronto Hydro (@TorontoHydro) December 22, 2022
By Saturday morning, snowfall rates are expected to decrease but freezing surfaces are expected to stay in Toronto, making weekend travel a headache.
Luckily, conditions are set to drastically improve just in time for Christmas Day and will continue to improve into Boxing Day.