12/21/2012 07:52 EST | Updated 02/20/2013 05:12 EST

Weather, Holiday Airport Congestion Make For Tricky Travel


Toronto travellers heading home for the holidays Friday could encounter some tricky winter weather on the roads and face long lines on what is typically the busiest travel day at Pearson International Airport.

Downtown Toronto will avoid the worst of a winter storm that will bring snow to areas outside the city.

Speaking on Friday morning, CBC meteorologist Jay Scotland said Toronto temperatures will fall throughout the day on Friday, and could bring up to two centimeters of wet snow to parts of the city.

“This rain that is falling, we’ll likely see that mix in with wet snow, even some accumulating snow is possible,” he said.

“You may get a couple of centimeters of snow today, but if you want to see snow, you have to take Highway 400 north, head up towards Barrie, anywhere north and west of Toronto, we’re going to see real accumulation. Up there you’re looking at anywhere from 10 to 15 centimetres, even higher if we see persistent bands of lake-effect snow.”

Ottawa is expecting up to 30 centimetres of snow and Montreal could get half that amount while the Maritime provinces are forecasting heavy rain and strong winds.

“Anywhere east of Toronto toward Quebec and the Maritimes, that’s where the messy weather will be,” said Scotland. “Be prepared for some delays flying east.”

White Christmas unlikely for Toronto

Children with their hearts set on a white Christmas in Toronto will likely be disappointed, said Scotland.

“Environment Canada defines a white Christmas as two centimeters of snow on the ground on Christmas morning," he said. "I doubt we’ll have two centimeters of snow on the ground in Toronto.”

It will be a busy weekend at Pearson airport with more than 100,000 passengers expected on Friday alone.

CBC reporter Trevor Dunn was at Pearson Friday morning and said passengers arrived to face long lines and some cancellations due to weather.

About 10 per cent of flights have been cancelled, a number airport staff say is typical for an average day.

”On the whole flights look like they’re moving well right now,” said Dunn.

What is not typical is the amount of people that will filter through the airport today.

“It’s already looking like one of the busiest travel days of the year,” Dunn reported. “Check-in lines are long here at Terminal 1."