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News - All - 15 Apr 2018

News Item 7 of 4367 

Miscellaneous: 15 Apr 2018
Waterloo Region back in icy bullís-eye as freezing rain warnings issued

Rain and sleet falls on Waterloo region Saturday afternoon. Wilfrid Laurier University students William Mewhiney, left, and Emily Young, carry an umbrella to protect themselves against the driving sleet as they walk in Uptown Waterloo. - Peter Lee

WATERLOO REGION ó Much of southern Ontario is bracing for the potential for a significant ice storm this weekend as a powerful, messy system bears down.

Environment Canada issued freezing rain warnings Friday for much of southern, central and eastern Ontario, including Waterloo Region. A flood watch has also been issued for the Grand River watershed.

It was looking, a couple of days ago, like we might dodge the worst of the icy weather. Now, not so much.

The challenge remains pinpointing exactly where the worst of the ice will be, as a slight temperature variation means the difference between prolonged freezing rain, ice pellets, snow or heavy rain.

"We've got the battle of the Arctic air surging south, and impressive warmth to our south," said Doug Gillham, meteorologist at The Weather Network. "Where is that boundary going to set up?"

The storm is set to unfold in two acts. On Saturday, rain changes to freezing rain or ice pellets, and Waterloo Region will sit right on that dividing line. Freezing rain paired with strong wind gusts increases the risk for tree damage and power outages. Ice pellet accumulation can have bigger impacts on transportation, Gillham said.

A lull is expected Saturday evening before freezing rain returns during the pre-dawn hours Sunday. The question Sunday will be how quickly temperatures rise above the freezing mark and the precipitation changes back to rain, heavy at times.

Gillham said that could take longer than expected, especially if the ground is covered in a layer of ice pellets from Saturday. "I expect that there will be significant tree damage and power outages within your area," he said, noting the same storm can have a wide range of impacts over a relatively compact geographic area.

"It's two storms in one," Gillham said. The Saturday storm "has such an influence on Sunday."

Environment Canada is warning of 10 to 20 millimetres of ice accretion, with some areas potentially receiving more. Rainfall totals could top 90 mm in certain areas; others further north could see upwards of 15 cm of snow.

With significant precipitation on the way, the Grand River Conservation Authority has issued a flood watch. Rivers and streams will be flowing quickly, and the authority recommends that residents in flood-prone areas take appropriate precautions. People should stay well back from slippery creek and riverbanks.

So where's spring? "We might have to be more patient than I thought," Gillham said. Consistent warmth likely holds off until May. "There will probably be the sense that we missed out on spring," he said. "There's no question this year has been unique."

bdavis@therecord.com, Twitter: @DavisRecord



Brent Davis Waterloo Region Record/AA
 

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