Environment Canada has issued a snowfall warning for Toronto ahead of a “messy mix of wintry precipitation” expected to begin on Thursday afternoon.
The federal weather agency says 15 cm to 25 cm of snow is expected. The snow could be heavy at times and is forecast to fall between Thursday afternoon through to Friday morning.
There will be reduced visibility when the snow is heavy and blowing, Environment Canada said on Wednesday. Surfaces will be icy and slippery.
Environment Canada said it expects rain to begin on Wednesday night and turn to snow on Thursday afternoon. Freezing rain and ice pellets are also possible Thursday morning and afternoon, the agency said.
“If you can avoid travel when the winter precipitation starts, far better because it’s going to be difficult getting through all the snow and freezing rain,” said Peter Kimbell, a warning preparedness meteorologist with Environment Canada.
It says a low pressure system forecast to track northeast across Lake Erie and Lake Ontario on Thursday night is bringing the rain and snow to southern Ontario.
“As the track of the low pressure system remains uncertain, precipitation timing and amounts may change,” Environment Canada said in the warning.
Special weather statement for Toronto
Toronto remained under a special weather statement on Wednesday night in addition to the snowfall warning.
The forecast called for between 15 mm and 25 mm of rain on Wednesday night through to Thursday night. It says freezing rain mixed with ice pellets is possible on Thursday afternoon or evening.
In the statement, Environment Canada says residents can expect localized flooding as well as possible road closures and utility outages.
The City of Toronto says its winter crews are ready for the snow.
The city said the following staff and equipment will work around the clock:
- More than 1,500 personnel, both on contract and city staff.
- 600 snow plows.
- 360 sidewalk plows.
- 200 salt trucks.
Salt trucks will be on the roads as soon as the rain changes to freezing rain, the city said.
Plows will be deployed as soon as there is 2.5 cm of snow on expressways, five centimetres on major roads and eight centimetres on local roads. Sidewalk and bike lane plows will be in use at two centimetres.
Extreme cold weather alert issued
Meanwhile, the City of Toronto also issued an extreme cold weather alert Thursday morning that will remain until further notice.
The city’s Medical Officer of Health issues these alerts when temperatures are forecasted to reach -15 C or when the wind chill pushes temperatures to feel like -20 or colder.
Environment Canada is forecasting temperatures will feel like -7 in the evening and -17 overnight across Toronto.