Forecasters are keeping a close watch on an atmospheric setup that may deliver some significant April snow to parts of southern Ontario right as the first buds of the season are nearing their bloom.
There are two factors that are contributing to this late-season snow. The first is a strong cold front that will sink south across the region late-day Monday through early Tuesday morning, bringing the risk of scattered showers for southern Ontario.
Temperatures ahead of the front on Monday afternoon will likely reach the upper teens for much of the GTA and southwest. However, cooler air will pool over the region and send temperatures back below seasonal for Tuesday ahead of the main system brewing stateside.
As we head into the overnight hours on Tuesday, the system will begin to track south of the lower Great Lakes. With the help of the cooler air in place, this system will have the potential to release snow, possibly significant amounts, across parts of southern Ontario.
Many factors will determine which communities get into the heaviest swath of snow. Terrain is one major consideration, as areas along the escarpment and over higher elevations will have the potential to see higher amounts of snow. The other factor will be whether or not the track of this low shifts and redirects the precipitation.
The track of the low will be key to determining who will see the greatest impacts from this winter-like system. There are two forecast models that The Weather Network is closely monitoring to estimate which areas will see the heaviest snow.
Since Sunday, Model A has been indicating that the heaviest snow could fall near and north of the Highway 401 corridor.
Alternatively, Model B takes the heaviest snow right through the Niagara region and southwestern parts of the GTA. Both models indicate that the heaviest snowfall accumulations will range from 5 cm to over 10 cm by Wednesday morning.
Given the variation in the forecast models, it is too soon to pinpoint snowfall amounts for each city that will be impacted by the precipitation. However, the temperatures will support the potential for wet snow to accumulate on the ground through Wednesday morning, which is unwelcomed news for anyone who's been lulled into an early start in their gardens by the uncommonly warm temperatures of recent weeks.
"Some orchards are already in bloom in Niagara. This could be devastating to many orchards, especially apricots and possibly cherries," says Dr. Doug Gillham, a meteorologist at The Weather Network.
We will be keeping a very close watch on this potentially snowy system as it nears. Check back for updates in the meantime.