Thursday, March 24, 2016

Freezing rain warning for Montreal and eastern Ontario

Roads were impossible to drive on around Denver on Wednesday, as a late winter storm blasted the region. (CSP Photo)
Strong low pressure continues to lift north this morning from Iowa towards the Great Lakes. An elongated warm front stretching from the storm lies to the south of Montreal, over New England. This front separates very warm air from cold air here in the St. Lawrence Valley. Precipitation will arrive this morning in Montreal, in the form of snow. Expect 5 to 10cm of snow for Montreal, with 10-15cm north and west of the city including Ottawa. The snow will change to sleet and freezing rain in Montreal this afternoon, and continue into the overnight hours. Several hours of freezing rain are possible. Temperatures will be chilly today, with a persistent northeast wind, but will warm overnight to the freezing point and above for Friday. Any precipitation will taper off to showers on Friday morning. The balance of the long weekend looks good, with dry weather and mild temperatures through Easter Sunday.

This morning, southern and eastern Ontario are reporting freezing rain and snow. The result has been widespread power outages, along with school closings and flight cancellations at Pearson Airport in Toronto. Travel along the 401 and 417 will be difficult today. Weather warnings are posted for all of southern Ontario and Quebec for today and tonight.

This storm's main area of low pressure has produced some wild weather over the past 24 hours. As is typical with most spring storms, this system has a big variation in temperatures. On Wednesday, heavy snow fell west of the storm track in Denver, with numerous road closures and nearly 80,000 without power. At the same time, on the warm side of the storm, strong winds were fueling brush fires in Oklahoma and Texas, with severe thunderstorms and tornadoes in Kansas and Nebraska. Today, blizzard conditions stretch across the upper Midwest from Minnesota to Michigan. Heavy snow will move into central Ontario and Quebec later today, with up to 30cm forecast.

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