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Cold, strong winds & snow expected for GTA

A woman is seen bundled up on a cold day in Toronto on Jan. 7, 2014. CITYNEWS

Environment Canada has issued a special weather statement for much of southern Ontario, including the GTA, warning of strong and gusty winds later on Friday and continuing into Saturday.

But the City of Toronto has ended an extreme cold weather alert issued on Monday.

So far, there have been three extreme cold weather alerts covering 13 days this winter: Dec. 16, Dec. 24, Jan. 1-3, Jan. 6-8 and Jan. 20-24.

A windchill warning was in effect for much of southern Ontario, including the GTA and Toronto, but it has also ended.

680News meteorologist Jill Taylor said the windwill get a lot stronger but the temperature is going to rise, and when you combine temperatures and wind speed, the windchill values will drop below the warning criteria of -30 C. The criteria for a windchill warning varies across the province, but -30 C is the guideline for Toronto and the GTA.

The winds will pick up out of the southwest for the GTA on Friday and could gust as high as 80 km/h, Taylor said. The high is -9 C, but that will come late in the day.

Very windy conditions will continue this evening, with snow late-evening and for early Saturday morning. Temperatures will rise overnight to a high of -4 C on Saturday.

An arctic low pressure system will make its way across southern Ontario on Saturday. Around five centimetres of snowfall is expected in the region, with up to 10 centimetres in a few locales and blowing snow.

The weather agency warns that the high winds combined with snow may result in poor visibility, so drivers are being advised to drive with extra caution.

Air Canada has issued travel advisories warning about high winds at LaGuardia Airport in New York and Newark Airport in New Jersey.

For those hoping to escape the bitter cold to a warm and sunny destination, it will come at a cost as the Canadian dollar drops and airlines add surcharges. Some travel companies are already adding a $35 currency surcharge per passenger.