Toronto under winter storm warning, could see 25 cm of snow Friday

The GTA is getting another dumping of snow on Friday — and a lot of it.

Toronto can expect to see between 15 and 25 centimetres of snow Friday evening into Saturday, said Environment Canada in a winter storm warning alert that was issued late Thursday afternoon.

Environment Canada meteorologist Gerald Cheng said the snow is expected to start falling around 5 p.m. on Friday, in the middle of the evening rush-hour commute.

“People will get to work OK but, unfortunately, getting home will be a problem,” said Cheng. The City of Toronto said in an email that residents are advised to take public transit instead of driving, if possible.

Environment Canada’s warning notes that, once it starts, snow may quickly become heavy as snowfall rates could reach up to four centimetres per hour.

“Heavy snow in combination with strong easterly winds will create significantly reduced visibility and hazardous travel conditions,” the warning said.

Hamilton and Halton regions, Cheng added, could potentially see closer to 30 centimetres of snow.

“Be prepared for the spill that’s coming. Stay safe and take it slow, because snow does affect visibility and it does make roads slippery not only for drivers but also for pedestrians.”

Warming centres

The city of Toronto confirmed in an email that walk-in warming centres will open Friday in anticipation of the winter weather.

Scarborough Civic Centre, Mitchell Field Community Centre and Cecil Community Centre will all open at 7 p.m. tomorrow. The warming centre downtown at Metro Hall is currently open.

The city’s snow clearing operations

Snow clearing operations, expected to continue into next week, was to begin at 8 p.m. Thursday with a salt brine applied to expressways and major roads, the city said in an emailed statement.

Salting will start when the snowfall begins, and plowing will commence when snow reaches 2.5 centimetres on highways, five centimetres on major roads, transit routes and streets with hills, and eight centimetres on residential streets.

Sidewalks and bike lanes will be cleared when the snow buildup is two centimetres.

The city is asking residents to contact 311 at least 16 hours after the snow stops falling to submit a service request.

The rest of your weather forecast

Snow is expected to continue into Saturday and temperatures are forecast to hit a high of 7C.

The snow will likely end come Sunday, with the day looking to be relatively clear and no precipitation. The high will be 6C with an overnight low of -4C.

Monday is expected to bring a mix of sun and clouds with a high of 5C and an overnight low of -3C. Tuesday will continue with cloudy periods and a high of 4C and an overnight low of -7C. Wednesday will also produce a mix of sun and clouds and a high of 1C.

Wild winter weather continues

The GTA hasn’t been the only region to be hit with wallops of winter weather.

Michigan residents went days without power following an ice storm this past week.

Meanwhile, one person died after powerful winds swept through Oklahoma. In total, nine tornadoes were reported in Kansas and Texas. One of those tornadoes damaged more than a dozen homes in Kansas.

An avalanche warning was issued for the backcountry around Lake Tahoe, on the border of California and Nevada, where up to six feet of snow was expected in the region earlier this week.

In California, a 145 kilometre stretch of U.S. Route 395 was shut down Monday evening due to whiteout conditions, state transportation officials said.

Six hundred students at science camps in the Southern California area were also stranded last weekend after snow began falling.

With files from the Associated Press

Ana Pereira is a breaking news reporter, working out of the Star’s radio room in Toronto. Follow her on Twitter: @anabpereiraa


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