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Intense snow squalls stream across Ontario


Lyndsay Morrison, staff writer

December 8, 2010 — Another day, another round of snow squalls in Ontario. The Weather Network breaks down what has already fallen, and what's still to come.

Snow squalls forecast to continue through Wednesday
Snow squalls forecast to continue through Wednesday

Snow squalls are once again rolling across parts of southern Ontario, bringing staggering amounts of snow to some communities.

153 cm of snow has already fallen in the community of Lucan, northwest of London. The city of London has also taken one of the biggest hits. Over 95 cm has fallen, and more is forecast through Wednesday. Schools were closed across the region for the third day in a row Wednesday. Fanshawe College and the University of Western Ontario shut their doors as well.

Areas north of the city of Toronto have also taken a beating from this week's snow squalls. Beeton, south of Alliston, has been hammered with more than 100 cm of snow. Significant accumulations have also been reported in places like Thornbury, Newmarket, King City and Barrie. For a second straight day, all school buses were cancelled in Simcoe County on Tuesday.

In many regions, road conditions have deteriorated significantly and authorities are warning drivers to slow down. Hundreds of collisions have been reported since Sunday with reduced visibility on many roads and highways. On Wednesday, a massive pile-up occurred on the west-bound 401 near Woodstock, Ontario. Snow squalls were rolling across the region at the time.

Morla the dog enjoys the snow in London, ON
Morla the dog enjoys the snow in London, ON

According to Environment Canada, a storm system over Quebec and the Maritimes and a ridge of arctic high pressure in the Prairies are creating the perfect ingredients to bring snow to Ontario.

Brian Owsiak is a meteorologist at The Weather Network. He says there's more snow in the forecast throughout the day Wednesday.

“We still have winds coming from the northwest, and that's allowing these streamers to keep coming off Lake Huron and Georgian Bay,” he says. “Some communities could easily get hit with another 20 cm of snow, and that's on top of what has already fallen.”

The gusts are picking up moisture over the lakes and producing sudden, heavy snow in narrow areas. That has some people wondering, why is there snow “here,” but not over “there?”

“The winds are coming from the northwest, and therefore these snow squalls will affect areas downwind -- particularly areas southeast of Lake Huron and Georgian Bay,” says Owsiak. “There is always going to be a favoured area when we're talking about snow squalls given the shape and size of the lakes.”

The snow squalls are expected to begin tapering throughout the day on Wednesday, with dry weather forecast for Thursday.

With files from Andrea Stockton and Lisa Varano

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