Hamilton drivers are gearing up for a sloppy Tuesday night and a potentially slow Wednesday morning as snow heads towards southern Ontario.

Environment Canada is forecasting 2 to 4 centimetres of wet snow will fall Tuesday night and into Wednesday morning. While the amount is relatively small compared to what Ontarians further east will face, it's enough snow early in the season to cause concern for police.

"Get your snow tires on," said Const. Greg Slack of Hamilton police.

Slack said the biggest concern for drivers is black ice, especially if the precipitation becomes mixed or the temperature plunges overnight. Other advice from the police:

  • Slow down.
  • Give yourself double the space you normally would to brake.
  • Leave more space between you and the car in front of you.
  • Give yourself more time to get to your destination. Or better yet, if you can help it, just don't drive.

Throughout Hamilton, crews spent Monday "anti-icing" the city's high priority roads (like the Lincoln Alexander Parkway, for example.) The anti-icing process involves applying a brine application to roads so they're better capable of shedding ice and snow, City superintendent Bob Paul said.

Paul said his department will be monitoring the weather overnight, but he doesn't expect too severe a storm. Hamilton does, however, pose unique weather challenges.

"We have three different 'microclimates' that we monitor in Hamilton," Paul said, noting the difference between the city's lakefront region and conditions on the Mountain.

Paul also advised those who take shaded, rural roads, or those who commute early in the morning to drive carefully, as they're the most likely to hit black ice. 

As for the timing of the snow, "it's a little early," Paul said, but crews will be ready.

The Hamilton Conservation Authority (HCA), meanwhile, issued a warning to walkers using the city's trails urging them to avoid partially-frozen ponds, streams and dams. The authority also warned dog-walkers to keep their pets on leash during this time of year.

"Dog owners are often put at severe risk because they try to rescue their dog which has wandered off and fallen through the ice … if there was ever a reason to keep your dog on a leash, this is it," the HCA said.