According to Environment Canada, a low-pressure system will gain strength as it moves through northeastern Ontario on Saturday, and is expected to reach southern James Bay by Saturday evening.
Temperatures will rise to -1 C overnight, rising to 3 C on Saturday. Around 2-4 cm of snow will be followed by 2-5 mm of rain, creating potentially hazardous walking and driving conditions.
“Precipitation with this low is projected to move into the region (Friday) evening and begin as snow with a few centimetres possible,” said a release from Environment Canada. “The snow is expected to transition into freezing rain overnight and last a couple of hours before changing to plain rain as temperatures rise above freezing by morning. Periods of rain will continue on Saturday.”
Although the air temperature is expected to rise above zero by Saturday morning, “untreated surfaces may still be quite icy as the ground temperature is still very cold from the recent cold spell.”
Things will freeze up again Saturday night, with temperatures dropping to -4 C on Sunday. Things will warm up again Monday, with temperatures just above freezing, before getting cold again later in the week.
In advance of the freezing rain, Greater Sudbury is asking residents to clear catch basins near their properties to help minimize the impact of the inclement weather.
Municipal crews have been inspecting catch basins in known trouble spots to ensure they are open and ready to handle runoff, the city said in a release. Flood-prone areas will be closely monitored, the city said in a release Friday.
“Unfortunately, the city does not have the resources to clear every ditch and catch basin,” the release said. “Citizens can help by clearing snow and ice from catch basins near their homes to carry rainwater and snow melt away from properties and streets.”
The freeze-thaw cycle will also create additional potholes on local roads. Motorists can lessen the chances of damage to their vehicles by reducing speed, maintaining optimum tire pressure, and by keeping the steering wheel straight and avoiding sudden braking when encountering a pothole.
“City crews are repairing potholes as weather conditions allow,” the release said.
When everything freezes again later in the week, “sand and salt will be applied to roads as necessary, in accordance with the city's winter control plan. Motorists are reminded to exercise caution as the temperature changes.”
Flooding and potholes can be reported anytime, day or night, by calling 311.
When dealing with freezing rain, Environment Canada advises taking a few precautions, including:
– Ice from freezing rain accumulates on branches, power lines and buildings. If you must go outside, pay attention to branches or wires that could break due to the weight of the ice and fall on you. Ice sheets could also do the same.
- Remember also that ice, branches or power lines can continue to break and fall for several hours after the end of the precipitation. Never touch power lines. A hanging power line could be charged (live) and you would run the risk of electrocution.
- If possible, avoid driving when freezing rain is forecast. Even a small amount of freezing rain can make roads extremely slippery. Wait several hours after freezing rain ends so that road maintenance crews have enough time to spread sand or salt.