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Wintery Mix & Ice Storm (Feb 22-24, 2023): Preliminary Forecast Southwestern Ontario

A major winter storm will impact Southern Ontario, starting on Wednesday and lasting through to the end of the week.


Wednesday

A strengthening low-pressure system will move across the United States on Tuesday and into Wednesday, nearing Ontario through Wednesday morning. Precipitation will start to fill in across Southern Ontario through the morning hours, likely in the form of snow!


Sporadic periods of snow will continue into the early afternoon hours before a larger burst of moisture moves into the region, bringing an increase in temperature profiles across the region with heavier precipitation.


Models are not consistent/not in agreement regarding how Wednesday will actually play out. There are three primary tracks which models are leaning towards:


Track A (Southerly): With the southerly track, the snow will change over into freezing rain for areas near Lake Erie with ice pellets closer to Sarnia and London. The ice pellet-snow line will be further south as well, likely closer to the southern half of areas east of Lake Huron extending from Goderich to Toronto and southward with snowfall to the north.


Track B (Central): With the central track, the changeover will take place further north, bringing freezing rain to portions of Sarnia, London, and into the Niagara region with ice pellets approaching the southern cities of the GTHA and into places like Waterloo Region and portions of Huron and Perth Counties. The snowfall is edged further north to the northern shores of Lake Ontario extending westward to Lake Huron through Grey and Bruce Counties and northward towards Northern Ontario.


Track C (Northerly): With the northerly track, the changeover will take place further north, bringing freezing rain to portions of Huron and Perth Counties, Waterloo Region and into the southern half of the GTHA. Ice pellets will exist further north into Wellington County and including cities such as Brampton and Toronto. The snowfall is edged further north from Grey and Bruce Counties eastward to Ottawa, through most of central and eastern Ontario.


 


 


This precipitation which falls under any of these tracks will continue to fall throughout the remaining half of the afternoon, extending into the evening hours. The heaviest precipitation rates will occur in the late afternoon through the evening, bringing a hazardous Wednesday evening commute.


As of this point (Tuesday afternoon), we are expecting that Track B will occur, however, we will have an updated post on Wednesday to confirm which track models have agreed upon.

Hazards:

  • Blowing snow through the afternoon for areas with snowfall due to an increase in winds and following snowfall

  • Road closures are possible due to snowy and icy conditions

  • Strong winds may result in power outages; the combination of icy conditions will amplify power outages. Longer than normal outages are possible due to the number of outages which may occur

Unknowns:

  • The exact track (and hence the precipitation types) across the region


Thursday

In the very early morning hours on Thursday (12am - 5am), precipitation will start to move out of the region across much of Southwestern Ontario in a west-to-east direction.


Through the remainder of the morning hours lasting through the afternoon and into the evening, scattered bursts of flurries, ice pellets, and/or freezing drizzle may occur across the region. This will just add to the continued wintery conditions and driving conditions throughout the day.


Summary

Based upon the current model guidance, we are leaning towards Track B, which is the more central track bringing both a snowstorm and ice storm to portions of Southwestern Ontario.


This is a preliminary forecast and may be updated on Wednesday before the bulk of the precipitation arrives.


For those bracing for the ice storm conditions, preparation for potentially multi-day power outages should be made. Outages could last several days to over a week depending on the severity of damage caused by the storm, something which is not predictable.


We will be actively updating road closures on our website here: https://www.weatherwatcher.space/road-closures


If you are looking for road closures in Huron and Perth County, we recommend joining this page: https://www.facebook.com/groups/HuronPerthWeatherWatch

 


 

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