Wednesday has seen another day of active weather across Canada, with temperatures across southern Ontario soaring to 10 C or higher — while wind and freezing rain sweep through the Maritimes.
Areas in southern Ontario, such as Niagara, Toronto, and Collingwood, are experiencing southwesterly winds bringing in the mild air from the Gulf of Mexico, says Environment Canada. The Ottawa area is also receiving mild weather after freezing rain overnight.
David Phillips, a senior climatologist with Environment Canada, said Toronto has seen erratic and highly unusual weather this month. "It's about 15 degrees warmer than it should be for this time of the year," he said.
With the warm air, rainfall of 10 to 20 mm is also expected in southern Ontario, with higher amounts possible in locales that receive a thunderstorm, along with some possible flooding. Southern Quebec is also feeling a round of warm and wet weather with about 15 to 30 mm of rain, and 40mm or more possible north and east of Montreal, says meteorologist Jay Scotland at CBC's weather centre.
But the warmth will be short-lived — a sharp Arctic cold front will drag east into Quebec on Thursday and temperatures are expected to plunge to below freezing again.
Meanwhile, in the Maritimes, snow, rain and strong wind gusts have been forecasted. Parts of southeastern New Brunswick have seen freezing rain, where a wind warning of gusts of up to 90 kilometres per hour is in effect.
The forecast has prompted many schools in the Fredericton and Moncton areas to close for the day.
In the Prairies, gusty winds and arctic air are blowing across towards the eastern provinces. Saskatchewan has been in the grips of another cold spell, with temperatures in the mid-minus 20s and wind speeds of 15 to 20 kilometres per hour.
Snow and freezing rain are making for a messy commute this morning in some parts of southern Ontario, as police report almost 500 collisions on Ontario highways.
The Rideau Canal Skateway in Ottawa and all highways around Sudbury, Ontario have been temporarily closed. Some highways are under water while others are too icy.
The blast of winter weather also has Air Canada, WestJet and Porter airlines warning of possible delays and cancellations at Toronto's Pearson and Billy Bishop airports.