Environment Canada has issued warnings or statements for this holiday weekend from coast to coast.
Every province and territory is experiencing extreme weather prompting the federal organization to warn Canadians during the busiest travel weekend of the year.
Winter storm warnings, cancelled flights, power outages and travel advisories are dominating this holiday season.
Three rounds of a snow-rain mix will batter the west coast while another storm system is expected to flood then freeze the east. The Prairies and territories are under prolonged extreme cold warnings, as Canadians prepare for a weekend spent inside.
Here’s a region-by-region breakdown of what you can expect this weekend:
Drivers in southern B.C. are being warned to stay off the roads, as a third storm system hit the region on Friday.
This comes after a week of wild weather for the coast after parts of the lower mainland received more than two years’ worth of snow in less than three days.
Environment Canada is warning of heavy snow, ice pellets and freezing rain for Metro Vancouver, Vancouver Island and the Fraser Valley through Saturday.
“On the B.C. coastline, you can expect round one today, round two into Saturday,” Kelsey McEwen, CTV’s Your Morning meteorologist said Friday. “By late Sunday, the third round of rain and snow hits the B.C. coastline.”
Metro Vancouver is expecting another 5 to 20 centimetres of snow, after receiving 10 to 15 centimetres earlier this week.
“Portions of Vancouver Island we’ll see 100 millimetres of rain as we go into the weekend,” McEwen said.
In preparation for a “three rounds of moisture” Friday, WestJet proactively cancelled flights at airports in B.C.
Flights to and from Vancouver International Airport from 11:50 p.m. PST on Thursday through late Friday afternoon were cancelled, leaving passengers scrambling to find alternate routes.
“Rarely do we see such heavy snowfall followed by freezing rain and heavy rainfall. We want everyone to remain safe,” Rob Fleming, Transportation Minister for B.C. said at a news conference Thursday.
Environment Canada upgraded its winter storm watches to winter storm warnings for Vancouver Island late Thursday morning. All types of winter weather, from freezing rain to snow is expected for the island from Thursday to Saturday.
Much of northern B.C. is under extreme cold warnings, according to Environment Canada.
Most of Alberta and Saskatchewan are still under extreme cold warnings with wind chill values dropping below -40 C.
Environment Canada says temperatures will rise over the weekend.The federal body issues extreme cold warnings when there is elevated risk to health such as frost bite and hypothermia.
By Sunday the last round of moisture hitting B.C. will move towards the Prairies bringing snow into Saturday and Sunday for Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba, McEwen explained Friday.
Like many airports across the country, travellers are stranded at Calgary’s International Airport as flight cancellations for WestJet continue to pile up. Some people have been stuck trying to get to B.C. for days as all WestJet flights to and from Vancouver were cancelled through late Friday afternoon.
The airline said they are allowing people to change or cancel their flights for free before Dec. 26.
Due to the extreme cold in the Prairies flights are being cancelled or delayed due to ice.
Saskatchewan is also under extreme cold warnings, through Friday with some areas feeling relief with milder temperatures coming.
Flights were cancelled at Regina’s airport with the president and CEO of the Regina Airport Authority saying in a video posted to Twitter, the airport is seeing a 30 per cent flight cancellation rate this week with a 50 per cent delay rate.
Northern and southern Manitoba are under extreme cold warnings, Environment Canada said on Friday. Warnings are issued for Winnipeg, Brandon and Portage la Prairie, with wind chill values near -40 C Friday.
Some communities are also under a blowing snow advisory, with poor visibility expected to ease by Friday evening.
Shelters in Manitoba are filling up as people attempt to keep warm over the holiday weekend.
A “weather bomb” is happening across Ontario starting Friday, through Sunday. As the warmer air from the Gulf of Mexico mixes with arctic winds overtop of the province, Ontarians can expect strong winds, snow and freezing rain as conditions “rapidly deteriorate.”
“As that cold front shifts its way eastward it’s already prompting temperatures to fall dramatically from Windsor up towards Hamilton,” McEwen said. “So expect any rain you have to quickly flip over to snow.”
School boards in London, Waterloo, Toronto and Ottawa have cancelled classes today with city crews preparing for a multi-day cleanup.
Southwestern Ontario and the Greater Toronto Area woke up on Friday morning to rain with temperatures hovering around 0 C. By midmorning, temperatures were already dropping in Hamilton.
“Hamilton your temperature has gone from above freezing to below and you’ve got a significant wind chill with really gusty winds already,” McEwen said at 9:00 a.m. EST on CTV News Channel. “There will be a flash freeze (as) winds will really pick up and we’ll see potentially blizzard conditions for the Niagara region up to Lake Huron and Georgian Bay.”
Most of northern Ontario is blanketed in warnings from Environment Canada with some areas seeing extreme cold, blizzard and winter storm conditions.
Sudbury is expecting anywhere from 25 to 40 centimetres of snow by Saturday morning as winds increase leading to poor visibility.
“Very windy today across the lower Great Lakes, eastern Ontario and southern Quebec damaging winds forecast between 70 to 100 kilometres an hour,” McEwen said Friday.
Cloud Bay and communities around Lake Superior will be experiencing blizzard conditions into Saturday with wind gusts expected to reach 70 to 80 km/h, according to Environment Canada.
Through Saturday the lake effect portion of the system will drop snow in eastern Ontario. Ottawa and surrounding areas along the Highway 401 are under rainfall warnings with totals around Belleville estimated to be 20 to 30 millimetres.
A major winter storm is expected to continue through Saturday in the nation’s capital with 5 cm of snowfall anticipated for Saturday morning.
Hydro Ottawa responded to more than 30 power outages as of 6:00 a.m. EST Friday affecting more than 12,000 customers. The City of Ottawa has declared a significant weather event and is urging people to stay home.
Saturday morning snow will have blanketed the ice with wind gusts expected to be between 70 to 80 km/h.
“Expect power outages but also snow squalls and lake effect snow to take us into Saturday,” McEwen said. “We’ll also see significant waves off of Lake Erie and Lake Ontario. If you have a shoreline community or property be watching for flooding through today into Saturday.”
The Montreal area is under a wind warning with wind gusts expected to reach up to 90km/h through Friday evening.
“Flash freeze warnings are issued when a rapid drop in temperature is expected, that can cause water from rain or melted snow on streets and sidewalks to quickly freeze,” the Environment Canada website reads.
Southern Quebec communities have been issued, storm surge, winter storm, wind and snowfall warnings by Environment Canada Friday.
Schools in Montreal are closed in anticipation of poor winter conditions.
More than 213,000 Hydro-Quebec customers lost electricity as of 10:00 a.m. Friday. Regions around Quebec City, the Laurentians and the Outaouais are the hardest hit due to high winds, which prompted local police to urge people to secure the structures.
Parts of northern Quebec are under wind, winter storm and blizzard warnings.
The storm passing through eastern Ontario will hit Quebec late Friday and overnight into Saturday bringing anywhere from 10 to 15 centimetres of snow.
“Quebec, the coldest air of the season for the weekend,” McEwen said. “As that drives lake effect snow and snow squalls through Sunday.”
The storm system in Ontario and Quebec will cross into the Atlantic provinces late Friday into Saturday. Canada’s east coast has been through two other storm systems with extreme weather this month and are bracing for more.
A messy mixture of rain, snow and high winds are expected throughout Atlantic Canada this weekend.
“Rain and damaging winds arrive through the day today (Friday) for Nova Scotia, P.E.I this is mostly rain for you,” McEwen said. “But in New Brunswick, we’ll see a messy mix from rain up to snow the further north you go in the province through the day.”
The system is expected to bring snow to the parts of N.B. and Newfoundland Friday to Saturday morning.
“We’re also watching the water levels along the coastline with damaging storm surge expected,” McEwen said.
Environment Canada has issued warnings of rain, fall, storm surge, and wind for all Atlantic provinces.
Yukon continues to experience extreme cold warnings Friday morning, with fog advisories in Dawson and Mayo continuing from Thursday.
The North West Territories are under extreme cold warnings, with temperatures dropping below -45 C in parts of the Yellowknife region.
Nunavut has wind and blizzard warnings for the island community of Sanikiluaq Friday morning.
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