Freezing drizzle, rain, wind, temperature swings and thunderstorms: Wild weather ahead for GTA

Toronto and surrounding areas could be in for another icy and wet day on Thursday, with temperatures slowly climbing and then plummeting again overnight.

“It’s a busy forecast,” laughed Marie-Eve Giguère, a meteorologist with Environment Canada.

The federal weather agency has issued a freezing drizzle advisory for most of southern Ontario, and some areas west and north of Toronto could also see considerable winds blow in this afternoon.

“Drizzle falling in sub-zero temperatures is expected to freeze on contact, and over time create icy surfaces,” the advisory said.

“Freezing drizzle can be sneaky,” explained Giguère. “It’s not like freezing rain with big drops falling and creating a big thick layer of ice. There are very, very tiny droplets of water and they create patches of black ice on the roads.”

Things could get especially nasty in the GTA starting around 2 p.m., when the right mix of moisture and cold poses a serious risk of turning freezing drizzle to freezing rain. That will continue into the 5 p.m. hour, before temperatures start to climb well above zero and rain takes over.

The afternoon rush hour could be “treacherous,” Giguère said.

Once the system passes, “strong westerly winds with gusts in the 60 to 80 km/h range may be possible tonight into Friday” along with the possibility of a thunder storm in the evening hours, Environment Canada forecasts.

While the mercury will rise throughout the day Thursday, it will plunge again during the overnight hours Friday. By Friday afternoon, the temperature will drop to –5 C, though it will feel more like –19.

The bizarre forecast comes after a full day of freezing rain throughout most of the Golden Horseshoe on Wednesday that caused headaches for drivers, transit users and pedestrians. Icy roads also led schools throughout the region to close for the day.

For today, the Halton public and Catholic boards have cancelled bus service, but schools are open. All schools are closed and buses cancelled in the Hamilton-Wentworth public and Catholic boards.

City staff said salters have been deployed to try to improve road conditions before the morning rush hour begins in earnest.

Meanwhile, travellers going to Toronto Pearson airport this morning are encouraged to check their flight status before heading out.

“Freezing rain is expected and delays and cancellations are possible,” airport officials said in a tweet.

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