Windy ice storm expected to shift to continuous rain overnight

​Significant rainfall, strong winds and power outages are expected Sunday for a number of areas in Waterloo region, as an ice storm continues to work its way through the region.

Freezing rain warning, rainfall warning in effect for Kitchener-Waterloo: Environment Canada

Waterloo Regional Police Sgt. Kelly Gibson shared this photo of officers dealing with a crash in the midst of an ice storm on Saturday. Gibson advised people to limit non-essential travel. (Kelly Gibson/Twitter)

Significant rainfall, strong winds and power outages are expected Sunday evening for a number of areas in the Waterloo region, as an ice storm continues to work its way through the region.

"I've been wracking my brain and poking around in the database to try to find a similar event happening this late in the year, and I haven't been able to find one to this point going back a number of decades, so certainly this is a very rare event," said Geoff Coulson, a warning preparedness meteorologist with Environment Canada.

Heavy rainfall was in the forecast for Sunday evening with 20 to 25 mm expected, but warmer temperatures after a day of strong, icy winds. 

WRPS reported a few dozen crashes on Saturday. "Most are happening at intersections where people are going too quickly," according to traffic officer John Nymann. (Gary Graves/CBC)

"For anyone planning travel today, the strong recommendation is if you don't have to be out on the roads, to stay home," said Coulson. "If you don't need to be out there, the best bet is to stay home and ride out the storm there."Environment Canada warned localized flooding in low lying areas was also possible, and "many power outages due to fallen tree limbs" were likely.

By Sunday morning, Waterloo North Hydro officials had already dealt with and resolved four power outages. Guelph Hydro had also dealt with a number of small outages, according to the company's spokesperson.

Seasonal weather not expected soon

Coulson said an arctic air mass is to blame for the wild weather.

"Because the cold air has dominated, this storm track right over the lower great lakes, has led to this significant, more like a winter storm than what we would expect for this time of year," he said. "We will finally see the system moving out Monday morning, or toward mid-day on Monday."

But Waterloo region won't see a return to seasonal weather for a bit.

"Unfortunately it looks like we have a little bit more in the way of chilly temperatures to deal with. As we go into Tuesday, there's still the possibility of scattered shower or flurry activity," he said.