UPDATE: Environment Canada issues freezing rain warning for the GTA

Rain in a puddle

TORONTO - Environment Canada is warning that the Toronto will experience freezing rain Saturday night following a dramatic drop in the temperature during the afternoon.

It says Pearson International Airport was hit with heavy rain about 2 p.m. after the temperature plunged over a two-hour stretch to 3 C from an unseasonably warm 11.8 degrees C in the morning.

It forecast that 20 to 30 millimetres of rain would fall in the Toronto area during the day followed by 10 to 20 mm in the evening, before switching to freezing rain about midnight.

Heavy rainfall warnings were also issued for Hamilton, St. Catharines, Ont., and Kitchener, Ont., which was also at risk of freezing rain in the evening.

To the north and east of Toronto, Environment Canada issued heavy rainfall and freezing rain warnings for Barrie, Ont., Peterborough, Ont., and Ottawa.

The unsettled weather is part of a system of severe storms stretching from the southern U.S. to eastern Canada.

A rainfall warning was issued today and tonight a freezing rain warning is in effect. The rain is expected to change to freezing rain around 12 a.m.

Parts of the GTA, could be more impacted than others. In areas like Shelburne and Orangeville, that could mean a couple centimeters of ice building up. 

The freezing rain is expected to change to snow by Sunday morning, but no major accummulation is expected.

Motorists are being warned to drive according the road and weather conditions. 

Police say they are monitoring the situation closely and may have to shut down a section of the Don Valley Parkway, if rising water levels in the Don River become a safety issue.

Constable Dave Hopkinson spoke with our media partner CP24: "We're monitoring the Weather Channel and the City of Toronto's official website to determine what they wish to do. We have partners in emergency management for the city that will also give us warnings as to what the conditions are and how we should be preparing for them. All of that we're monitoring throughout the day."

Constable Hopkinson goes on to issue a warning about the potential for flooding in some areas: "With melting snow and the significant amount of rain that we're getting, we're going to be seeing a large amount of water. It's not going to be absorbed by the ground the way it's supposed to be, so you're going to get pooling and ponding in a number areas. All of the water courses we have in the city, there's a warning against being too close to them, because as you stand on the edge of the stream or river, the ground could give way."

Flooding has already forced the closure of Bayview Avenue, south of Pottery Road. 

And Sunday morning, we could see strong wind gusts up to 50 kilometres an hour, which could increase the chance for power outages.

Stay with NEWSTALK 1010 through the weekend, for updates on this storm system.

And be sure to join Dave Trafford, on The Weekend Morning Show Sunday morning at 6 a.m. for updates on this messy wintry mix.


With files from the Canadian Press