The winter that wasn’t, is likely how most Ontarians are feeling about the season right now.
With below normal snowfall, above normal temperatures, and even record warmth to start out the month of February for some, it’s been difficult to put any sort of frosty spin on the winter as a whole. In fact, the last time the city of Toronto reported any snow on the ground was back on January 25, with Ottawa currently only sitting at 5 cm on the ground. December and January were both above seasonal, as well, largely due to El Niño.
That’s all about to change however, as we watch an incoming system and the threat for widespread snow later this week. Between 5-10 cm is expected for much of southern Ontario through Thursday, with 10-15+ cm possible for parts of cottage country north of the Greater Toronto Area (GTA). This will likely have a significant impact on the afternoon and evening commute times, with moderate snowfall rates expected for a few hours. Drivers are urged to plan ahead.
Thursday: Winter returns with some shovelable snow
A low from the U.S. Midwest will track into Ontario Thursday, with snow starting along the Lake Huron and Lake Superior shorelines through the morning hours. Snow will track east during the day, with snowfall rates picking up for the afternoon and evening, likely reaching the GTA in time for the drive home. The snow will spread into the Ottawa area after the evening commute.
It’ll be a rather quick moving system, so snowfall will end for the GTA through the overnight, and by the morning for Ottawa, leaving a fresh blanket of snow.
Snowfall amounts will be highest around and near Lake Huron and Georgian Bay, with lower amounts expected in extreme southwestern sections, as some mixing could reduce the accumulating snow. Between 5-15 cm is expected for most areas.
Lake-effect snow threat kicks off the long weekend
Behind the system, colder temperatures will move into the region for Friday, setting up some lake-effect snow bands off of Lake Huron and Georgian Bay.
Strong northwest winds gusting between 50-70+ km/h will cause extensive blowing and drifting snow with whiteouts for the snow belt regions. The wind will diminish Friday afternoon and evening, but more widespread snow could return to the region Friday night as another system pushes in for the start of the long weekend.
Keep checking back to The Weather Network for more forecast information and updates on your weather across Ontario.