After a few days of record-breaking warmth, southern Ontario is facing a massive winter storm that will bring heaps of snow to major urban centres, The Weather Network reports.

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Tyler Hamilton, a staff meteorologist, calls it “one of the most significant winter storms of the season” with widespread impacts and travel delays likely. The storm will pass through the region starting on Thursday evening and is expected to continue bringing heavy snowfall throughout Friday.

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"Consequently, paired with gusty northerly winds, there is significant confidence there will be issues with blowing snow and travel issues lingering through Friday morning," he adds.

Winter storm warnings have been issued for Toronto, Niagara, Hamilton, Burlington and Oakville in anticipation of Thursday’s weather. Rapidly changing conditions are expected especially along the QEW, from Hamilton to St. Catharines. 

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What to expect

The winter storm will first bring wintry conditions in the southwest, particularly in the London and Kitchener-Waterloo areas. As it moves across the Golden Horseshoe on Thursday afternoon, it will bring significant rain and ice pellets which will quickly turn into snow as the day progresses. By Thursday evening and early Friday morning, all precipitation is expected to change to snow due to a rapid cooling of the atmosphere.

"Wind gusts are building to 60 km/h across the Greater Toronto Area by Thursday evening, while regions of the northern Niagara Peninsula will see winds gusting to over 70 km/h with extensive blowing snow before easing Friday morning," says Hamilton. "Visibility will be greatly reduced during these time periods."

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How much snow?

Niagara is expected to get the most snow, with as much as 30 cm expected for the areas north and east of Lake Erie. Southern GTA and Hamilton should see up to 15 cm, while northern regions like Newmarket and Barrie should see 5 cm.

Read Tyler Hamilton’s full report on The Weather Network here.

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