Freezing rain hits much of southern Ontario as holiday travellers brace for delays
Published Thursday, December 19, 2013 8:30AM EST
Last Updated Friday, December 20, 2013 8:04PM EST
As the busy holiday travel weekend draws closer, commuters in southern Ontario are dealing with treacherous roads after being hit with a messy mix of freezing rain, flurries and ice pellets.
Environment Canada has issued a freezing rain warning across most of southern and eastern Ontario until Sunday as residents all the way from Sarnia to Cornwall brace for icy weather.
The disturbance, which moved into the GTA early Friday morning and brought close to 8 mm of rain, put a damper on travel plans for some commuters as icy conditions caused several flight delays and cancellations.
While the current disturbance is expected to clear out by tomorrow, another more potent winter storm heading in from Texas is expected to move towards the GTA by Saturday evening, bringing up to 30 mm of freezing rain by Sunday morning.
The dangerous weather comes just in time for the holiday rush as more than 115,000 travellers pass through Pearson Airport on Friday, the airport’s busiest travel day of the year.
Air Canada and WestJet have issued travel advisories, warning of possible delays and cancellations throughout the weekend, and have urged passengers to check their flight status before heading to the airport. The airlines have also said they will waive change fees for travelers who wish to switch their travel plans because of the weather.
Those heading out to the malls to do last-minute shopping over the weekend are being asked to plan ahead and take precautions as areas along the Highway 401 corridor will see significant freezing rain over the weekend.
Environment Canada warns that ice accumulation on trees and power lines could lead to possible power outages and downed trees and have asked pedestrians and motorists to avoid untreated roads and sidewalks that may be particularly icy.
A sign showing delayed flight arrivals is seen at Pearson International Airport, where more travellers pass though the airport than usual for the holiday season, in Toronto Friday Dec.r 20, 2013. (Mark Blinch / THE CANADIAN PRESS)
A freezing rain warning and special weather statement has been issued for much of southern Ontario, Friday, Dec. 20, 2013. (Environment Canada)
A special weather statement is in effect for southern Ontario, Friday, Dec. 20, 2013.