A major winter storm expected to hit Eastern Ontario and western Québec this evening (Thursday, December 22) and last into the holiday weekend.

According to Environment Canada, heavy snow will hit the region Thursday evening, with amounts of 10 to 15 centimetres on the ground by Friday morning. Temperatures will rise overnight to create a risk of freezing rain and ice pellets on Friday.

Temperatures are expected to plummet again on Friday afternoon, leading to a potential flash freeze. Rapidly falling temperatures will be accompanied by strong to damaging winds, along with snow heavy at times. Strong to damaging wind gusts of 70 to 90 kilometres per hour are expected to develop on Friday and continue into Saturday. Low visibility will also be possible in blowing snow after the cold front moves through.

Avoid travel if possible

Motorists are advised to avoid travel if possible. Visibility may be suddenly reduced at times in heavy snow. Travel is expected to be hazardous due to reduced visibility in some locations. Surfaces such as highways, roads, walkways and parking lots may become icy and slippery.

Public Safety Canada is also encouraging everyone to make an emergency plan and get an emergency kit with drinking water, food, medicine, a first-aid kit and a flashlight. For information on emergency plans and kits go to http://www.getprepared.gc.ca.

To monitor alerts and forecasts issued by Environment Canada visit https://weather.gc.ca/warnings. To report severe weather, send an email to [email protected] or tweet reports using #ONStorm.