Ice storm 'likely,' according to Environment Canada

Environment Canada is warning of a "likely" ice storm Saturday morning as northeasterly winds move cold, arctic air into the region, causing temperatures to drop below zero.

Weather agency issues weather warning ahead of weekend

Environment Canada is warning of an ice storm Saturday and Sunday, which could result in 10 to 20 millimetres of ice on trees and hydro lines. (Matthew Sherwood/Canadian Press)

Environment Canada is warning of a "likely" ice storm Saturday morning as northeasterly winds move cold, arctic air into the region, causing temperatures to drop below zero.

The weather agency says a low pressure system has been moving slowly towards the Great Lakes and that, as the system gets closer, it will push cold air into Waterloo region. 

As the temperature drops, rain will switch over to freezing rain, ice pellets or snow, which is expected to continue into Saturday evening. 

10-20 mm of ice coming

Environment Canada warns that the ice could build up during the day — anywhere between 10 to 20 millimeters. 

"Ice accumulation of this magnitude combined with gusty northeast winds to 70 km/h may result in widespread power outages due to fallen tree limbs and power lines," the agency said in a press release. 

"Dangerous winter driving conditions are expected on untreated roads Saturday and Sunday."

May persist into Sunday

There may be a brief lull in the freezing rain Saturday evening, only to return Saturday night. Environment Canada warns the conditions may persist well into Sunday before changing over into rain. 

"Some uncertainty exists as to the time the precipitation switches over to rain on Sunday," the agency said in its release. "Enough rain may fall later Sunday into Sunday night for some flooding to be an issue to deal with then."

Stay away from trees

The City of Waterloo issued its own press release Friday evening, advising residents to stay away from ice-laden trees in the event of an ice storm. 

"Residents should not attempt to remove the ice from trees," the city says in the release. "As ice melts, tree branches are likely to straighten."

To report a downed city tree, residents are encouraged to call the city's forestry team. For power outages, they are encouraged to call their hydro company.

The city is also encouraging residents to be prepared by putting together a "72-hour emergency kit," which includes things like bottled water, canned food, a wind-up flashlight, a first aid kit and important family documents.