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Snow-rain mix in store for GTA & Toronto

File photo of a car windshield covered in snow. CITYNEWS

Environment Canada has issued a special weather statement for the GTA, including Toronto, calling for a rain-snow mix for the region on Saturday.

According to the weather agency, a low-pressure system that could bring up to 15 centimetres of snow is heading to southern Ontario from the United States on Saturday.

At this point, there is uncertainty about the system’s path, but CityNews meteorologist Natasha Ramsahai said current indications suggest some areas will see snow changing over to rain.

She said wet, heavy snow should begin between 7 a.m. and 9 a.m., first west of the GTA and then around 9 a.m. to 10 a.m. in Durham.

Ramsahai said it will be a “snow event for the first half of the day,” adding that forecast models are calling for 10-11 centimetres of snow for Toronto and around 10-20 centimetres for cottage country.

“Once you get north of the 407, I don’t think we’re really going to change over into rain,” she said.

She also said the snow will start mixing with rain with 10-15 millimetres for the GTA and higher amounts for Kitchener and Cambridge. Temperatures will start to rise through the evening hours on Saturday.

Ramsahai advises residents to clear the storm drains around their homes because the combined moisture could be around 30-35 millimetres.

With regular snow, freezing rain and ice — not to mention December’s ice storm and more than a few freeze-thaw cycles — road and sidewalk salt is in short supply.

A company, which distributes salt to airports, hospitals and malls, said it exhausted its supply three weeks ago. Stocks are being shipped in from across North America.

Hamilton, likewise, has two weeks’ worth of salt to last the rest of winter.

Toronto officials said the city has ample supply despite having already spread 65,000 tonnes of salt on roads and sidewalks.

Click here for the forecast.

All public and Catholic schools were closed in Dufferin County on Friday due to wintry conditions in the area. On Wednesday, a state of emergency was declared in the area due to the bad weather.

Meanwhile, the City of Toronto has cancelled an extreme cold weather alert, which was first issued last Saturday.

For all those wondering if spring will arrive early this year, groundhog prognosticators will have their say on Sunday.

If Wiarton Willie sees his shadow on Groundhog Day, it means we’re in for six more weeks of winter weather. If he doesn’t then hello early spring.
Environment Canada’s senior climatologist Dave Phillips said furry rodents shouldn’t be trusted.

“They can be wrong as often as we are too, but I’m pinning my hopes on the computer models and not the shadow of a smelly rodent,” he said.

Phillips said those computer models are calling for colder-than-normal temperatures in February.

With files from Irene Preklet, 680News