What to expect from the storm on Saturday: Strong winds, blowing snow, slightly better conditions

What to expect from the storm on Saturday: Strong winds, blowing snow, slightly better conditions

Stormier weather is expected in Toronto on Saturday as part of a major winter storm, but Environment Canada says conditions are expected to improve from Friday.

Environment Canada officially ended its winter storm warning for the city just after 6 a.m. Saturday, replacing it with a less severe weather advisory.

Strong winds and blowing snow will continue, but snow is forecast to turn to flurries in the afternoon. However, it will be quite cold and Toronto residents will need to wrap up warm.

“It’s still not going to be very comfortable outside,” Monica Vaswani, chief meteorologist for Environment Canada, told CBC Toronto on Friday.

Saturday will be better than Friday, but not by much, she said.

“Unfortunately, Saturday is still not expected to be ideal for travel as there could still be snow on the roads and we will still have snow. That being said, conditions will improve slightly on Saturday compared to what was experienced on Friday.”

The strong wind is expected to subside by early Sunday.

The forecast for Saturday is:

  • Light snowfall expected to end around noon, then 40% chance of snow flurries in the afternoon. There will be blowing snow. Snowfall amounts could be two to four centimeters.
  • Strong winds with gusts up to 70 km/h all day and into the evening.
  • The maximum temperature is expected to be – 6 C.
  • Wind chill readings make the weather appear like – 9 p.m. and – 3 p.m.

Snow flurries and blowing snow as well as strong winds with gusts of up to 60 km/h are forecast for Saturday night. The temperature is expected to stay steady at -6C but the wind chill will make it feel like -15.

Vaswani said Saturday’s snow will be lake-effect snow coming from Georgian Bay and Lake Huron. Some drifting snow is possible and the snow could accumulate.

Areas north and east of Toronto, including the York and Durham areas, could see snow gusts from Georgian Bay. Snowfall levels in those areas could be five to four inches by Sunday morning.

Winds will remain gusty throughout Saturday, into the evening and into Sunday morning. Any relief from the winds will be by early Sunday, she said.

The forecast for Sunday is as follows:

  • A mix of sun and clouds with a 60 percent chance of snow flurries.
  • It’s getting windy.
  • A high temperature of -4 C and a low temperature of -10.

Travel conditions continue to require “attention on the roads” as visibility on the roads could be poor at times, she added.

She urged people to heed weather clocks and warnings over the weekend.

A person pushes a shopping cart full of shopping bags into a snowy grocery store parking lot.
Shoppers make their way to their cars amid blowing snow in a grocery store parking lot on the east end of Toronto on December 23, 2022. (Evan Mitsui/CBC)

“This storm is particularly strong”

Vaswani said the winter storm combines snowfall with strong winds and the storm’s intensity makes it unusual.

“This storm is particularly strong,” she said.

“I myself have not actually seen a storm in about 10 years of experience that has produced such widespread high winds and then storm-like conditions in the province of Ontario.”

The storm for Toronto is expected to be over by Monday morning. The depression is heading northeast towards Quebec, she said.

On Friday, the storm made travel difficult with strong winds and snow blowing throughout the day and into the evening. The temperature also dropped throughout the day.

Vaswani said it will be a white Christmas, with the definition of a white Christmas being two centimeters of snow on the ground.

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