A passenger pushes a car in a parking lot in Halifax on Sunday. The storm is expected to dump up to 30 centimetres of snow on the region. Andrew Vaughan/Canadian Press
Last-minute shoppers will need to bundle up to stay dry and travellers may be facing delays this weekend as a messy mix of weather is expected across Canada Friday through Sunday.
Environment Canada has posted warnings and special weather statements forecasting a stormy weekend for much of southern and eastern Ontario, southern and central Quebec, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island and Nova Scotia.
Forecasters say the freezing rain will quickly change to rain near the shores of Lake Ontario this morning, but periods of freezing rain will persist into this evening.
But CBC meteorologist Jay Scotland said the worst of the weather is expected to hit Saturday night and into Sunday morning.
Meanwhile the Ottawa Valley and eastern Quebec will see another 10 to 15 centimetres of snow.
Forecasters say regions affected by freezing rain could get as much as five millimetres of ice buildup in some areas.
The ice can also form around powerlines, said Wagstaffe, causing power outages.
Environment Canada said uncertainty exists about which regions will be most severely affected, "but it appears that areas along the Highway 401 corridor have the greatest likelihood for significant freezing rain."
"There is a risk for widespread power outages due to fallen tree limbs and power lines. For areas farther north, there is also the possibility for significant snowfall and ice pellets from Lake Huron eastward to the Quebec border," forecasters said.
Snow expected in Vancouver
Meanwhile, Vancouver area residents could wake up to as much as 10 centimetres of snow and temperatures hovering near the freezing mark, according to Environment Canada. Areas of the Fraser Valley, Sunshine Coast and Vancouver Island are also subject to snowfall warnings with as much as 15 centimetres expected to fall in higher terrain.
In north and central B.C., eight to 10 centimetres of snow is expected with colder temperatures. Showers are expected on Saturday with warmer temperatures and rain in the forecast for Sunday.
Frigid conditions will continue in the Prairies Friday with temperatures reaching –25 C. A mixture of sun and cloud is expected on the weekend with a possibility of light flurries as the chilly temperatures remain.
A windchill warning has been issued in northern Manitoba, with windchill temperatures hovering near –50 C through to Friday morning.
The weather is likely to affect travel plans on what is expected to be the busiest day for travel in the country. As of 6 a.m. ET, a handful of flights at Pearson International Airport in Toronto had been cancelled.
Air Canada has already waived its penalty fees for customers on affected flights to re-book tickets.
WestJet and Air Canada have both issued travel advisories for airports they expect to be affected by the weather, including:
- Toronto's Pearson International and Billy Bishop airports.
- Montreal's Pierre Elliott Trudeau International Airport.
- Ottawa's Macdonald-Cartier International Airport.