The potential ice storm forecast to hit the GTA this weekend is upon us, with heavy rain, gusty winds and ice pellets reported throughout the region.

Environment Canada issued a freezing rain warning for southern Ontario on Friday, ahead of a storm system that could leave the area covered in ice.

The weather agency also issued a wind warning for gusts up to 90 km/h in the Hamilton area for Sunday morning, which could cause damage to buildings, toss loose objects and break tree branches.

On Saturday, the agency warned the storm could be “historic,” potentially downing trees and power lines, leading to widespread power outages — somewhat reminiscent of the 2013 ice storm that blanketed the region.

However, CityNews Meteorologist Adam Stiles says this time the ice will accumulate in pellets.

“That’s what’s going to make it different from the ice storm that we had in 2013,” he says. “Yes, it will be an ice storm, but it’s going to be mainly ice pellets here in Toronto, until we get into Sunday when we’ll see some more freezing rain setting up.”

Several universities and colleges across the GTA have cancelled classes and exams and a number of flights have been delayed or cancelled at Pearson International Airport. Travellers are being warned to check their flights online before heading out.


Toronto’s Pearson International Airport is reporting numerous delays and cancellations as a result of the weather.

Rain will likely turn into freezing rain, which is expected to continue for a few hours into the evening. Freezing rain may also become mixed with or turn into ice pellets. The sloppy weather is expected to continue into Sunday until temperatures rise to above freezing sometime in the afternoon.

Environment Canada said the system could affect areas stretching from Windsor, Ont., up to the Muskoka region and east to Ottawa.

The weather has left roads slippery, at a time of year when many people have already removed their winter tires.

Provincial Police Sgt. Kerry Schmidt said there had been over 200 collisions on the highways surrounding Toronto by early Saturday afternoon.

“We’ve got cars in the ditches, we’ve got cars on the concrete wall, we’ve got cars facing the wrong way,” he said. “We’ve got problems all over the place.”

“Some people may think that it’s just wet roads, not realizing that it’s freezing rain coming down,” Schmidt added.


Peter Kimbell, a meteorologist with Environment Canada, said some communities in southwestern Ontario near Sarnia and Lake Erie could get up to 40 millimetres of freezing rain — more than the 30 millimetres that hit Toronto in 2013, leaving parts of Ontario without power for days.

Toronto is expected to only receive 15 millimetres of freezing rain, while Kimbell said areas like Hamilton could receive between 20 and 30 millimetres by Sunday.

Hydro One said it has crews ready to respond to outages 24/7, and additional resources are on standby this weekend. By early Saturday afternoon, over 7,000 people were without power.


Drivers are urged to take extra care, as gusty winds and broken tree limbs could add to the danger on icy roads

Residents from the GTA and beyond are sharing their photos and videos from across the region as the storm passes through their neighbourhoods.


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