Going outside, on foot or on wheels, could prove treacherous starting later on Friday.
Environment Canada is forecasting freezing rain throughout the weekend.
Meteorologists says significant ice buildup due to freezing rain is expected, perhaps even an ice storm.
A moisture-laden low pressure area over the central U.S. will amble slowly towards the lower Great Lakes this weekend. As the low gets closer, brisk northeasterly winds will pump in cold arctic air, forcing temperatures to fall to near or below the zero degree mark on Saturday, according to Environment Canada.
Rain is expected to arrive tonight and then will change to freezing rain by Saturday afternoon. The freezing rain will likely persist for a number of hours into Saturday evening. Freezing rain may become mixed with ice pellets at times over a few locations Saturday.
The freezing rain may taper off to patchy freezing drizzle for a brief time Saturday night. However, as the low gets close to southern Ontario later Saturday night, freezing rain is expected to quickly return, and may persist well into Sunday before changing to rain. Some uncertainty exists as to the time the precipitation switches to rain on Sunday. Enough rain may fall later Sunday into Sunday night for some flooding to be an issue to deal with then. Rainfall warnings may be eventually required.
The Grand River Conservation Authority (GRCA) posted a flood watch on Thursday likely to continue until Tuesday.
“Rainfall totals over a five day period are expected to reach upwards of 90 mm based on the current forecast. This amount of rainfall, combined with wet or frozen ground is expected to result in elevated flows in rivers and streams across the watershed. Flood coordinators should monitor conditions closely and be prepared to warn residents in areas upstream of major reservoirs, such as Grand Valley and Drayton, and in unregulated areas, such as New Hamburg and Ayr on the Nith River. Residents in areas typically prone to flooding should be aware of these conditions and take appropriate precautions. Conditions will be monitored closely through the weekend and updates will be issued as necessary.”
Ice build up of 10 to 20 mm appears quite likely across the region by Sunday morning. Ice accretion may be considerably less in areas very close to Lake Erie as temperatures there may actually remain very close to the freezing mark.
Some areas inland from Lake Erie may receive more than 20 mm of freezing rain, which would result in higher amounts of ice accretion especially if temperatures hover a couple degrees below zero.
Ice accumulations of this magnitude combined with gusty northeast winds to 60 km/h may result in widespread power outages due to fallen tree limbs and power lines.
Dangerous winter driving conditions are expected on untreated roads Saturday and Sunday.