Residents of Ontario's cottage country are being told to stay home Friday amid predictions that a massive snowstorm could dump as much as 80 centimetres of snow in some areas along the Bruce Peninsula and Georgian Bay.

The warning was issued early Friday morning by local officials and the Ontario Provincial Police.

By 7:30 a.m., more than 50 centimetres of snow had already fallen in Huntsville, according to Mayor Claude Doughty.

"It's continuing to come down in buckets," he said.

"We have so much snow that when a plow goes by a street we end up with a four or five-foot high wind row," he said via a webcam interview from his home. "Cars can't get through that and it gets tough."

The heavy snowfall warning prompted Doughty to declare a snow emergency for the area. Local residents are being asked to stay home and off the snow-covered roadways.

The OPP issued a travel advisory for cottage country, warning people to stay away from the area.

"Heavy accumulations of snow have made roads unpassable," the advisory says. "Snow plows are working diligently to clear the roads but at this time they are still not driveable."

Police closed Highway 400 at Horseshoe Lake Road in Parry Sound because of poor visibility and dangerous driving conditions. Authorities said they can't predict how long the closure will last.

A winter storm warning was issued by Environment Canada in several areas across the region, including Huntsville, Gravenhurst, Niagara, Peterborough and Barrie area.

"Strong and cold westerly winds are producing major snow squalls off Lake Huron and Georgian Bay," said a warning posted on the Environment Canada website. "Zero visibilities in whiteout conditions from bursts of heavy snow and blowing snow are associated."

The national weather agency said it expects about 80 centimetres of snow to fall in Huntsville by late Friday. Other regions could see between 15 and 20 centimetres.

 The winter weather is being blamed for several bus cancellations in the following districts:

  • Dufferin-Peel Catholic District School Board
  • Trillium Lakelands School Board
  • Wellington-Dufferin
  • Simcoe-Muskoka

Parents are being asked to contact their local school boards for more information.

In Toronto and the GTA, Environment Canada has mostly predicted a dry but frigid Friday.

The city will see some cloudy periods coupled with a lot of sunshine but temperatures will dip to -3C. With the wind chill, it will feel more like -20C.