Freezing rain and warm temperatures to make for a messy Wednesday commute

After a stretch of bitter cold, Toronto is in the path of a new weather system that could make for a slippery Wednesday morning commute.

Environment Canada has issued a new special weather statement in anticipation of the “dramatic change” that is expected to bring freezing rain, warm temperatures and strong winds to the city.

The weather shakeup is expected to begin Tuesday night, when around two to five centimetres of snow will begin falling. It arrives just as the city has cancelled an extreme cold weather alert that had been in place for several days.

Forecasters said they expect Tuesday night’s snow to turn into freezing rain at around 5 a.m. or 6 a.m. on Wednesday, and the freezing rain could last throughout the morning.

“It’s beginning to look like freezing rain warnings may be required as we may have two to five hours of freezing rain Wednesday morning during the morning commute,” said Rob Kuhn, a severe weather meteorologist at Environment Canada.

The wintry mix of snow and freezing rain will be followed by a brief thaw, which will bring rain and strong winds on Wednesday afternoon.

Temperatures are expected to hit 6 C in the afternoon. Wind gusts could reach 70 to 80 km/h.

Environment Canada says the spring-like weather won’t last long, as the forecasted high for Thursday sits at -2 C, with a chance of flurries.

“Temperatures will fall back below freezing with maybe the odd flurry, and winter will regain its hold across Southern Ontario,” said Kuhn.

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