Don’t let the recent mild temperatures fool you that Winter is coming to an end. Round two is just about to begin.
Remember way back in January when the “Polar Vortex” put most of North America in a prolonged deep freeze? Well, it’s cousin wants to move in for the end of February and early March.
Forecasters with the National Climate Centre, an arm of the U.S. Based National Weather Service says a similar cold snap will put the Greats Lakes Area back into a deep freeze with much below normal temperatures.
The fun all starts Thursday when one of two systems move in to dump up to 15cm on Sault Ste. Marie by Friday. Then a High Pressure will slide in behind to usher in the colder temps.
Just how cold you ask?
Bitter cold – again. Normal daytime temperatures for this period should be in the -3c range, expect to see temperatures struggling to hit -10 after this weekend – lasting through to Early March.
Overnight lows will sit in the -20’s
How about Spring?
National forecasters are saying we should forget amid about a traditional Spring – it will feel more like Winter to Summer for most of Ontario. Traditionally Sault Ste. Marie sees the snow melt at the end of March through mid April. This year expect to see the snow last a little longer into April thanks to a cooler than normal temperature forecast for the next three months.
In the mean time, Environment Canada has issued a statement for the area for Thursday.
An Alberta clipper and a Texas low are expected to develop by this evening and then both will track towards the Great Lakes Thursday. Latest indications suggest both of these weather systems will merge into a major winter storm by Friday which may then track across the Great Lakes and Northern Ontario into Hudson Bay.
This sets the stage for quite a potent and large winter storm Thursday into Friday. Significant amounts of snow are possible for Northwestern Ontario which should remain in the cold Arctic air throughout the storm.
Over Northeastern Ontario, precipitation will probably start as snow then change to ice pellets and freezing rain to rain, with the greatest chance of a changeover to rain near the north shore of Lake Huron and Georgian Bay as milder air tries to move in for a short visit by Friday morning.
Much colder Arctic air will quickly return to all districts by Friday evening as very strong and gusty winds blast through behind a cold front which will also make blowing snow an issue.
This winter storm has the potential for significant impact on travel beginning tonight as snow spreads into Northwestern Ontario. Such winter storms typically produce 15 to 25 cm of snow on their cold northwestern side. On the milder eastern side of the storm, a coating to 10 cm of snow plus 10 to 20 mm of rain along with ice pellets and some freezing rain often occur. Very strong winds in the wake of this winter storm center may also be an issue by Friday along with blowing snow.
There is still some uncertainty as to the exact track of the storm center. This will affect the location of the heaviest snow and how far north the freezing precipitation and rain reach into Northern Ontario.
Environment Canada is closely monitoring this developing situation and will update this statement accordingly. Weather watches or warnings may be required.