Freezing rain warning for Hamilton & Niagara Sunday as winter storm hits

More winter weather is on its way to Hamilton this weekend, as the calendar flips to December and temperatures drop.

Freezing rain hits the city and some areas will see significant snowfall as well

Freezing rain is expected on Sunday, and icicles may follow. (Jaison Empson/CBC)

Freezing rain is hitting Hamilton and Niagara as part of a winter storm that will lead to icy roads and has the potential for power failures and downed branches.

The bad weather will continue through Sunday and the freezing rain will turn to ice pellets mixed with snow in the afternoon, says Environment Canada in the Freezing Rain Warning issued Saturday afternoon. The warning also includes Brant County as well as Haldimand Norfolk as most of Southern Ontario will be affected.

It warns that several millimetres of ice could accumulate and some areas might get dumped with 5 to 10 cm of snow in addition to the freezing rain.

High winds of up to 70 km/h are also expected and the combination of winds and ice may lead to downed branches and power lines.

"Surfaces such as highways, roads, walkways and parking lots will become icy, slippery and hazardous," says the warning issued by the weather office. "Slow down driving in slippery conditions. Watch for taillights ahead and maintain a safe following distance. Beware of branches or electrical wires that could break under the weight of ice."

Environment Canada is warning that people should take necessary safety precautions and watch for updated statements.

Hamilton police are asking that residents consider delaying travel plans and warns that the roads are extremely slippery. 

Some local businesses may be closing due to the poor weather — if headed outside, please check with them before you travel.  

A winter weather travel advisory is also in effect for Burlington. The city can expect ice pellets and a risk of freezing rain before it turns to snow late Sunday morning or in the early afternoon. 

Environment Canada says the snow is expected to change into freezing drizzle or flurries later on. Areas may see 5 to 10 cm of snow and ice pellets, along with a few centimetres of snow. Winds up to 70 km/h that blow the snow and reduce visibility are also expected.