Journey affected as ‘important snowfall’ begins in Waterloo area, Guelph and Wellington County

The snow has begun to accumulate, and Environment Canada is advising people to be patient during the afternoon and evening commute as “significant snowfall” is forecast in Waterloo region, Guelph and Wellington County.

The snow that began Wednesday morning was just the “leading edge of the storm system,” said Geoff Coulson, a warning preparedness meteorologist with Environment Canada. The heavier snow began to hit the Waterloo region and area later in the afternoon.

By Thursday morning, the Texas low will bring heavy snow to the area in Ontario, with total snowfall of 15 to 20 centimeters.

Coulson said people can expect 10 cm to fall by Wednesday evening, and another 5 to 10 cm overnight, noting the snow will be wetter and heavier.

“What we’re dealing with now, some of it is melting on contact,” said Coulson. But as the day goes on, that will change.

“It’s still going to be a heavier snow, because temperatures are going to continue to be flirting with the freezing mark, but it certainly will be accumulating more rapidly from the late afternoon to the late evening hours.”

Strong wind gusts of up to 40 km/h are also expected, added Robert Kuhn, a senior weather meteorologist with Environment Canada, and that could cause power outages and affect the commute home.

“If you have to drive in it, give yourself a lot of time to reach your destination. Untreated roads will become snow covered and slippery very quickly,” he said.

“We could get peak snowfall rates of one to two centimeters in an hour. As well, visibility will be low.”

GO Transit said it is operating on “a reduced and adjusted schedule to ensure reliability and safety for passengers.”

The Waterloo Region District School Board closed all schools used for evening programming on Wednesday.

The afternoon WestJet flight from Calgary to the Region of Waterloo airport has been cancelled, and Flair’s flights were also affected.

Toronto’s Pearson airport is suggesting travelers check their flight status before leaving for the airport.

The cities of Kitchener, Waterloo and Cambridge declared snow events, banning street parking starting at 11:59 pm on Jan. 25 for at least 24 hours.

Kuhn said weather conditions will improve Thursday and into the weekend.

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