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Significant Ice Storm, Record Rainfall and Heavy Snow across Ontario

We are tracking a dynamic winters storm across portions of Ontario which will bring record rainfall, significant freezing rain and heavy snow to portions of Ontario.


We have made an extra-detailed forecast for this complex system.

Freezing Rain:


Freezing Rain Forecast, for Southern Ontario. Issued January 10th, 2020.

Into the morning hours, as the precipitation starts to push north, we are expecting a narrow band of light freezing rain from the Bruce Peninsula towards Parry Sound and Huntsville. As this band pushes south, freezing rain is possible through Maynooth towards Ottawa with a trace at most.


Into the afternoon, freezing rain is expected to develop early over portions of Grey-Bruce-Simcoe before moving south. As this moves south, the heaviest precipitation will move in creating heavy freezing rain from Goderich towards Guelph pushing just north of Lake Ontario extending into Eastern Ontario towards Belleville and Kingston. The freezing rain will extend from Cornwall through to Sharbot Lake, Barrie and Port Elgin as well. The freezing rain across these areas could last up between 12 to 16 hours. With increasing winds (see below) into Sunday, the heavy ice accretion combined with the winds will likely create widespread outages, some of which could be long-lasting.


This ice storm has the potential to meet or even surpass totals reached from the December 2013 ice storm and should be prepared for.


Some tips for preparing for an ice storm include:

- Working flashlights

- Radio

- Batteries

- Portable Cell Phone Chargers

- Gasoline for generators and travel

- Emergency numbers

- Candles, matches, and/or lighters

- Blankets

- Manual can opener with non-perishable food


and remember, never run a generator inside a confined space (shed, garage, home, etc)

Regional Breakdown:

Areas in the pink and marked with a '6' can expect ice accretion totals between 15 and 25mm of ice with localized pockets between 25 and 35mm. This includes the Dundalk Highlands, Shelburne, Orangeville, Caledon, Erin, Fergus, Arthur, Mount Forest, Harriston, and Durham. Freezing rain totals will average near 20mm although some areas, especially the higher terrain, could see up to 35mm. Any localized total will be highly localized.


Areas in the red and marked with a '5' can expect ice accretion totals between 10 and 20mm with local pockets between 20 and 25mm. This includes much of Huron County extending from Blyth and Seaforth through to Elmira, Guelph, and just north of Brampton through to Borden, Markdale, Hanover, and Wingham. Most of this area should see between 10 and 15mm of ice with pockets towards 20mm. Areas closer towards Wingham, Markdale, and Listowel may see pockets reach between 20 and 25mm. Into Central and Eastern Ontario, a large swath from Bradford and Newmarket through to Peterborough, Tweed, Tamworth, Westport, Brockville, and Domville can all expect freezing rain totals between 10 and 20mm. Most places will peak at 20mm although a few areas closer to the Ontario-New York border may reach towards 25mm. Any localized total will be highly localized.


Areas in the orange and marked with a '4' can expect ice accretion totals between 10 and 20mm. This extends from Cornwall through to Smiths Falls, Sharbot Lake, Bobcaygeon, Thorton, Stayner, Chesley, Kincardine, Goderich, and Kitchener. This also includes areas in the Northern GTA such as Brampton, Vaughan, and Markdale extending to Pontypool, Belleville and Kingston. A majority of this region will peak near 10mm with only a few areas reaching further above this towards 15mm. These possible enhanced regions include towards Kingston and Cornwall as well as south of Barrie and towards the Northern GTA.


Areas in the yellow and marked with a '3' can expect ice accretion totals between 5 and 10mm. This extends from Kingston into Prince Edward County along the shores of Lake Ontario to include Oshawa, portions of Toronto, Cambridge, and towards Brucefield and Bayfield. This area will likely see near 5mm of ice at most with some uncertainty whether or not the track would support up to 10mm or even more. This is highlighted in the 'area of uncertainty' (below). Towards the north near Alexandria through to Franktown, Plevna, Apsley, Lagoon City, and Collingwood. Freezing rain totals near 5mm are most likely although pockets up to 6 or 8mm are also possible.


Areas in the green and marked with a '2' can expect ice accretion totals between 2 and 5mm. This extends from Ottawa and Hawkesbury west towards Bancroft, Arnprior, Haliburton, Midland, Orillia, and Owen Sound. Freezing rain totals across this region will average between 2 and 3mm although pockets of up to 5mm are also possible. Towards the south, areas near Sandbank Park across to lakeshore Toronto and Toronto Island extending down to Oakville, Morriston, Exeter, St. Marys, and Ayr. Freezing rain totals near 3mm are most likely on average.


Areas in the blue and marked with a '1' can expect a trace to 2mm. This includes a large portion of Cental and Eastern Ontario towards Algonquin Park, much of Renfrew County over to Parry Sound, Tobermory, Britt, and south towards Grand Bend, Woodstock, and Brantford. Areas in the north will likely see a trace and a mix of ice pellets. Areas towards the south may see no freezing rain or a trace to 2mm. This is in the area of uncertainty.


Areas in the 'area of uncertainty' are currently forecasted to see the 'low' end of each corresponding scale to their number and color. If the track of the system shifts slightly south, these areas could receive more than what is shown with either amounts at the high end of their scale or into the next region. It remains unlikely for this to happen although with the difference of decimal degrees, it's nearly impossible to forecast with complete accuracy.

Ice Pellets:


Ice Pellet Forecast, for Southern Ontario. Issued January 10th, 2020.

Into the morning hours, as the system crosses into Ontario, snow will impact portions of Northeastern Ontario with rain in the south a narrow path of freezing rain or ice pellets. At the moment, it appears that freezing rain will initially take over across the Bruce Peninsula before a quick change into ice pellets. These ice pellets will push east into Central and Eastern Ontario through Parry Sound towards Burk's Falls. As the system pushes into the region, the precipitation will move south with the ice pellets moving towards Central/Southern Grey-Bruce Counties towards Port Elgin and Owen Sound into Midland and Muskoka. There is some question if the ice pellets will push south past Highway 26 past Collingwood. We think this is likely. The ice pellet path may extend into Eastern Ontario towards Ottawa and Renfrew into the afternoon although the difference between snow, rain and ice pellets will be within a few kilometres and only a few decimal points difference when referring to temperature.


Into the late afternoon, ice pellets will remain constant across the Southern Bruce Peninsula and Northern Grey County through Simcoe towards Orillia, Bancroft and into the Matawatchan area. As the heaviest precipitation of the system pushes into the region, the ice pellets will continue east across Eastern Ontario towards Ottawa, Hawkesbury into Plevna as well. The heaviest precipitation will bring ice pellets across much of Central and Northern Grey-Bruce extending into Simcoe and the Kawarthas as well as into Muskoka and Northern Cottage Country.


The difference between ice pellets and freezing rain will be the matter of only decimal points and timing. We are expecting significant ice pellets across Eastern Ontario with freezing rain being the predominant threat along the United States border in Eastern Ontario with a strong cutoff line into Southwestern Ontario.


Depending on the force of the warm air pushing north and the speed of the high pressure pushing south, the ice pellet area and freezing rain cutoff may adjust this map completely north or south moving areas like Ottawa out of the hardest hit while areas like Barrie could be harder hit, for example. The final area of the ice pellets is unknown.

Regional Breakdown:

Areas in the orange and marked with a '4' can expect ice pellet totals between 6 and 12cm. This extends along a line which the freezing line will just be south of. This extends from Wiarton and Owen Sound through to Midland and Orillia lasting through to Haliburton, Bancroft, Maynooth into Arnprior, Ottawa, and Hawkesbury. Most places in the region will only see up to 6-8cm with pockets towards 10cm, although a few areas may see totals surpass 10cm towards 12cm. This would be for areas such as Owen Sound through to Midland who will see mainly ice pellets from this event.


Areas in the yellow and marked with a '3' can expect ice pellet totals between 4 and 8cm. This extends from Casselman through to Perth, Coe Hill, Orillia, and Collingwood, as well as MacTier through to Dorset, Combermere, and Renfrew. Ice pellets may mix with snow at times along the north side and may mix with rain and/or freezing rain along the south side. Amounts will generally sit between 4-6cm.


Areas in the green and marked with a '2' can expect ice pellet totals between 2 and 4cm. This extends from Smiths Falls through to Kawartha Highlands Provincial Park over to Lake Simcoe and Barrie. This also includes portions of Grey-Bruce over Tiverton through to Chesley and Holland Centre. Ice pellets in this area will range closer towards 2cm with freezing rain. Areas towards the north including Lion's Head, Parry Sound, Huntsville, and Barry's Bay could see up to 4cm from ice pellets, especially between Parry Sound and Huntsville. Areas closer towards Barry's Bay may see only up to 2cm with more predominate snow.


Areas in the blue and marked with a '1' can expect ice pellets from a trace through to 2cm. This includes much of Algonquin Park over to Britt and Manitoulin Island, including Tobermory where a trace is likely. Areas closer towards Tobermory and between Britt-Burk's Falls-Parry Sound could locally see up to 2cm. Areas in the south towards Kincardine, Singhampton, Peterborough, Cornwall, and Sharbot Lake will only see a trace with many areas only seeing freezing rain or rain and no ice pellets. On Sunday as the snow wraps around, the transition may briefly contain ice pellets across portions of Southwestern Ontario into Wellington-Huron-Perth Counties.

Snowfall:


Snowfall Forecast, for Northern Ontario. Issued January 10th, 2020.

As this system crosses into Ontario early in the day on Saturday, we are watching a band of moderate to heavy snow which will set up across Northeastern Ontario spanning from Manitoulin Island through to Britt, Sudbury and North Bay. This band will be narrow and may shift north into Sudbury and Sault Ste. Marie and may shift south towards Central Algonquin Park and Tobermory. The exact track of the system is currently unknown and will adjust this band. Either way, snowfall totals between 4-6" or 10-15cm is likely.


Into the afternoon, this band will shift south as the cold air and high pressure centred far into Northern Ontario begins to push south and east. This will force the snow line south towards Lion's Head and possibly Wiarton as well as Parry Sound, Pembroke, and possibly Huntsville. The band will produce snowfall totals between 1-3" or 2.5 to 7.5cm. As the band shifts south, snow MAY push just south of the Ottawa river and affect portions of the City of Ottawa towards Renfrew and Hawkesbury. This could result in 4-7cm which is included in the 5-10cm range in the forecast map.


There may be a break of precipitation across Northeastern Ontario into Algonquin Park as the precipitation dives south, although the heaviest precipitation will move into the region overnight Saturday into Sunday. This should produce some significant ice pellets across portions of Central Ontario near Parry Sound extending towards Wiarton although the snow will develop north of this region and push into Northeastern Ontario towards Sudbury, North Bay and Temagami. Ice pellets may mix with the snow over portions of the Bruce Peninsula towards Britt and Powassan. Areas north of this into Northeastern Ontario should expect to see snow, with moderate to heavy snow at that. As the heaviest accumulations move through, areas like the Tobermory may see ice pellets, this would reduce snowfall totals by 1-2" (2.5 to 5cm) from what is shown in the forecast images. When the heaviest snow moves through, travel will be near impossible with reduced visibility to near zero across the North Bay-Powassan-Sudbury and the Eastern Manitoulin-Britt-Mattawa regions.



Snowfall Forecast, for Southern Ontario. Issued January 10th, 2020.

Following the system, the snow will 'wrap' around the backside of the system with a general trace to 2cm across Southern Ontario extending from Lake Huron towards Lake Ontario and the Quebec border.


Depending on how far north the system tracks, the snow across Northeastern Ontario may decrease the further north you go or a slight increase. The exact track remains unknown although we are confident in this forecast.

Regional Breakdown:

Areas in the red and marked with a '5' can expect snowfall totals between 15 and 30cm. This extends from Lake Huron from Tobermory and Manitoulin Island through to Britt, Espanola, Sudbury, North Bay, Powassan, Mattawa, and Temagami. Snowfall will range between 20 and 25cm for most places although some areas closer towards Lake Nipissing may see up to 30 and even 35-40cm, especially between North Bay, West Nipissing and Thorne. Snowfall amounts towards 15cm are most likely towards areas just north of Parry Sound towards Tobermory where ice pellets may dominate over snow.


Areas in the orange and marked with a '4' can expect snowfall totals between 10 and 15cm with isolated pockets towards 20 and 25cm. This includes portions of Northeastern Ontario extending from Cobalt towards Pogamasing through to Spanish and Western Manitoulin Island. This is where snowfall totals closest between 10 and 15cm are likely. Towards the south over the Northern Bruce Peninsula near Lion's Head through to Parry Sound, Burk's Falls, and much of Algonquin Park, snowfall totals will range between 10 and 15cm. Up to 15cm is possible with local pockets towards 20cm over the Bruce Peninsula towards Parry Sound and Burk's Falls although ice pellets may reduce totals to only 10cm. Across Algonquin Park, snowfall totals around 15cm are likely with pockets up to 25cm. Ice pellets are likely to remain just south or in the western portion of this region, therefore, the highest threat for heavy snow is towards the Quebec border.


Areas in the yellow and marked with a '3' can expect snowfall totals between 10 and 15cm. In Northern Ontario, this extends from St. Joseph Island through to Mississagi River Provincial Park and Temiskaming Shores. Snowfall totals mainly towards 10cm are likely although some pockets, especially towards St. Joseph Island towards Mississagi River Provincial Park will see up to 15cm. Across Southern Ontario, there is a tight line extending from north of Wiarton through to areas just south of Parry Sound and Burk's Falls into much of Renfrew County. Snowfall totals around 10cm are most likely, although areas that see fewer ice pellets may see up to 15cm. An isolated pocket towards 20cm can't be ruled out in rural Renfrew County.


Areas in the green and marked with a '2' can expect snowfall totals between 5 and 10cm. This extends from Wiarton through to MacTier, Huntsville, Maynooth, Ottawa, Renfrew, Arnprior, and Hawkesbury. Most areas will see towards 5cm although pockets of 10cm are possible towards Barry's Bay through to Ottawa along the Ottawa river. If ice pellets are more predominate across the Muskoka region, areas towards Huntsville and MacTier may only see a maximum of 5cm. Into Northern Ontario, this extends from Matheson and Kirkland Lake through to Gogama and Ranger Lake where 4-6cm is likely. Local pockets over 7cm are possible.


Areas in the blue and marked with a '1' can expect snowfall totals from a trace to 5cm. This extends from Grand Bend through to Woodstock and Hamilton into Eastern Ontario. As the temperature falls behind this system, rain and freezing rain will change to light snow with a general trace across the region. Not everywhere will see accumulation snow although the best chances are through portions of the snow belts with some very brief and weak lake enhancement across those areas. Some of the snow could be heavy at times and therefore, snowfall totals may exceed this category. Into Northern Ontario, this extends from Cochrane and Timmins through to Chapleau, Wawa, Montreal River and Sault Ste. Marie. Areas that are closest to Sault Ste. Marie may see up to 5cm and locally past towards 7cm. There

Rainfall:


Rainfall Forecast, for Southern Ontario. Issued January 10th, 2020.

Significant rainfall is expected across much of Southern Ontario across Saturday extending into Sunday. Rainfall will push into the region in the morning lasting through the overnight with moderate to heavy showers from Huron-Perth-Waterloo-Wellington south. As the day goes on, heavier precipitation will develop and cross into the region with heavy rain along the 401 corridor extending along the shores of Lake Ontario. Due to the heavy precipitation and fast accumulation rates near 5-10mm/h, flooding is likely across low-lying areas. For areas in which the ground is frozen, widespread flooding is possible and likely with basement flooding being a large concern.

Regional Breakdown:

Areas in the red and marked with a '5' can expect rainfall totals between 50 and 100mm. This extends from Goderich through to Kitchener and Guelph lasting through Toronto and Oshawa into Belleville and Kingston, including everything south. Most areas will average between 50 and 75mm although a few pockets of 75-90mm are possible between Sarnia-Windsor-Woodstock-Stratford.


Areas in the orange and marked with a '4' can expect rainfall totals between 40 and 75mm. This includes much of Southern Ontario extending from Port Elgin and Sauble Beach through to Markdale down to Shelburne and Orangeville lasting into Newmarket, Barrie and Orillia through to Ottawa, including everything south. Most places will average 40 to 60mm although a few pockets up to 75mm are possible across Southwestern Ontario. A local 90mm reading is possible along a line from Goderich to Kitchener.


Areas in the yellow and marked with a '3' can expect rainfall totals between 25 and 50mm. This extends from Wiarton and Owen Sound through to Collingwood, and into the higher terrain near Singhampton and Shelburne. This also extends from Midland and Orillia through to Haliburton, Baysville, Bancroft, Barry's Bay, and Renfrew. Most areas will see around 25mm although up to 50mm is possible across Muskoka and around Georgian Bay.


Areas in the green and marked with a '2' can expect rainfall totals between 10 and 25mm. This includes Lion's Head through to Parry Sound, Huntsville, Burk's Falls, Algonquin Park and Pembroke. The average total will sit near 10-15mm due to ice pellets and snow although up to 25mm is possible.


Areas in the blue and marked with a '1' can expect rainfall totals between a trace and 10mm. Areas from Tobermory and Britt through to North Bay and Mattawa. Most areas will see a trace due to the primary threat being ice pellets and snow.

Alongside the rain, snow, and ice impacts, strong wind gusts between 50 and 70km/h are expected across the region late Saturday into Sunday with gusts between 80 and 100km/h along the shores of Lake Erie and Lake Ontario. Power outages are likely. Poor road conditions are possible. For those who see snow, heavily reduced visibilty is expected.


If you have any questions, please message our page as we prepare to 'now-cast' and live update this storm.


This is expected to be our final update although we may issue one final update tomorrow before the main ice event begins in the mid-late afternoon.

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