02/23/2012 07:30 EST | Updated 04/24/2012 05:12 EDT

Snowstorms Head For B.C., Central And Eastern Canada

Globe and Mail

Winter is about to remind parts of the country it can still pack a punch, as a series of weather systems is expected to dump snow in southern B.C., central Canada and the East Coast.

Environment Canada issued a long list of snowfall warnings Thursday for regions including Vancouver Island, southeastern B.C., a swath of Ontario and Quebec, New Brunswick and Newfoundland.

A low pressure system was expected to hit areas along B.C.'s southern coast with rain, the agency said, while upwards of 15 centimetres of snow could blanket higher elevations farther inland before turning to rain late Friday morning.

The changing conditions prompted the Canadian Avalanche Centre to issue a special warning Thursday.

"Human-triggered avalanches will become the problem on the weekend, in our opinion," said Karl Klassen, a forecaster with the centre.

Meanwhile, forecasters were predicting that a separate winter storm moving up from the U.S. Midwest would reach Ontario Thursday night, dropping rain along the northern shore of Lake Erie, and up to 15 centimetres of snow along a stretch of land from Sarnia, Ont., to Ottawa.

The Greater Toronto Area was bracing for what could be a difficult morning drive with 5-15 cm of snowfall expected, possibly mixed with rain, said CBC's meteorologist Nick Czernkovich.

"It's not Snowmageddon … but it is very likely going to be our largest snowfall for this year," Czernkovich said. "Leave yourself a lot of extra time for tomorrow's commute."

By 6 p.m. ET Thursday the coming storm had already prompted at least one closure, at the Michener Institute for Applied Health Sciences.

The low-pressure system is expected to track east, moving into the capital region and the Laurentians by Friday morning, then on to the Maritimes by Friday night.

It will be the third recent storm in Eastern Canada, in what Czernkovich called "a train" of low pressure systems moving north from the United States.

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