After a few blissful warm days in Toronto, winter will be making a comeback.
A threat of ice pellets and freezing rain Wednesday prompted Environment Canada to issue a winter weather travel advisory for the city and many surrounding areas.
The travel advisory warns of ice pellets beginning in the morning, mixing with freezing rain at about midday. Toronto could see around 2 to 4 cm of ice pellets, the weather agency said.
As a result, buses were cancelled to schools in the Toronto District, Toronto Catholic District, York Region District, York Catholic District, Durham District and Durham Catholic District school boards Wednesday morning. Schools remain open.
All schools, offices and buses in the Peel District, Hamilton-Wentworth District, Waterloo Region District, Dufferin-Peel Catholic District, District school board of Niagara and Halton Catholic District school boards have been cancelled.
The University of Waterloo cancelled its campus locations Wednesday.
Freezing rain may continue for several hours leading into the evening or overnight. Icy roads are expected for the evening commute.
“We’re looking at a prolonged period of freezing rain, especially on bare roads it could mean formation of black ice. So, it could be complicated driving conditions for the return home,” Environment Canada meteorologist Marie-Ève Giguère said.
“The key element is that it will last several hours,” she said.
Environment Canada is advising people to keep up to date with local forecasts.
Wednesday’s daytime high will be -3 C, but with wind chill it will feel like -10 C.
The travel advisory is in effect for Caledon, Mississauga, Brampton, Kingston, Peterborough, York and Durham Regions, and more.
Peel Operations in the south district has called a full truck roll out ahead of the freezing rain advisory.
“We’re looking at dangerous driving all across, from southwestern Ontario to the GTA, Kitchener, Waterloo, Oshawa,” Giguère said.
There is some good news on the horizon, Giguère said that temperatures are supposed to dramatically warm up Thursday, seeing a high of 5 or 6 C.
However, Giguère said the changing weather patterns will continue.
“Thursday it will all melt, just in time for Friday when we go quite abruptly back to cold temperatures,” she said.
OPP Sgt. Kerry Schmidt told reporters early Wednesday morning “it looks like winter has arrived again,” citing a lot of ice pellets on the ground. Ramps on the highway are slippery, and the potential for crashes are “very real,” he said.
Because the roads won’t be experiencing as much snow to remind drivers to slow down, “drivers are likely going to be going a lot faster than they should and that is going to lead to a lot of problems,” said Schmidt.
Friday’s daytime high in the city is expected to be -3 C and the low -11 C.
with files from Lisa Queen at YorkRegion.com and Emerald Bensadoun.
Claire Floody is a breaking news reporter, working out of the Star’s radio room in Toronto. Follow her on Twitter: @claire_floody