'Pretty nasty' winter storm to bring bitter cold, snow to GTA this weekend

Bitter cold and wind chill values as low as -30 are set to hit Toronto over the weekend as snow blows into the city as a party of winter storm system tracking south of the Great Lakes.

Snowfall set to begin before dawn Saturday, with a high of –12 C forecast

Periods of snow are expected to begin Saturday morning, tapering off late at night. Meanwhile frigid temperatures will linger into Monday morning, with winds gusting to 60 km/h. (Adrian Wyld/Canadian Press)

A "pretty major winter storm'" heading for southern Ontario is forecast to bring bitter cold and snowfall to the GTA and surrounding regions over the weekend, according to Environment Canada.

The system is currently making its way across the northern U.S. and is expected to reach the Toronto area before dawn on Saturday. 

Total snowfall on Saturday should be fairly moderate in the city itself, said Peter Kimbell, a warning preparedness meteorologist with Environment Canada. Between five and 10 centimetres are likely in areas close to Lake Ontario, with less snow accumulating the further north one gets. 

Environment Canada has issued winter weather watches and warnings for regions west of Toronto. Hamilton and the Niagara region are expected to see the most signifcant snowfall, with 15 to 25 cm accumulating throughout Saturday. 

In addition to snow, the storm is forecast to bring "pretty nasty" winds of between 30 and 50 km/h and frigid temperatures to the GTA. 

"The key thing is that it's going to be very cold, starting on Saturday night and Sunday. " Kimbell said. "And there will be blowing snow as well. So that will make for difficult driving conditions."

A high of –12 C is expected on Saturday, though wind chill will make it feel more like –23. Sunday will be even colder, with a daytime high of  –15 C and wind chill values approaching –25. 

North of Toronto, around the Barrie area, will feel like –30, Kimbell said. 

While snowfall should peter out across southern Ontario by Sunday morning, the cold and wind is forecast to stick around into Monday. 

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