The storm exiting the U.S. East Coast will miss the Maritimes on Thursday. The clipper storm will bring light accumulations to parts of Ontario and Quebec through Friday.
Questions still remain for the weekend, but it is getting more likely that Ontario and most of Quebec will miss this storm, while the Maritimes will need to be on storm watch as a coastal storm could quickly intensify later in the weekend and potentially bring blizzard conditions.
The map below shows possible scenarios.....
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Our memorable ski trip into beautiful Ontario
As most of you are aware, I was out of the office from last Friday through Monday as my family and I headed up to the Mount St. Louis Moonstone ski & snowboarding resort area in Coldwater, Ontario, which is a little over an hour north of Toronto and right off Highway 400.
The night before I left I was tracking the potential Northeast U.S. blizzard, while also trying to figure out the best time to leave central Pennsylvania the following day (Friday).
I figured the drive on a normal day would take about 6.5 hours, but I knew Friday was not going to be a normal day, especially once I crossed the border.
We left just before 9 a.m. and the trip up through northwestern Pennsylvania and into ski country of New York was fine as temperatures hovered just above freezing with clear roads. As we got into the south towns of Buffalo, the snow started to come down harder and the roads were getting slushy. We crossed the Peace Bridge with little fanfare as we were the only car in line going to Canada during the early afternoon. (ominous sign?)
The snow remained light up through the Niagara region, then once we got up toward St. Catharines and Hamilton, the wind started to crank and temperatures began to fall steadily well below freezing. The combination of the strong north to northeast winds off Lake Ontario and heavier snow dropped the visibility below a half of a kilometer making travel much more difficult.
Between St. Catharines and Barrie, which about 185 km (115 miles), we averaged anywhere from 25 to 70 km/h (15 to 45 mph). The roads were about as good as you can expect with a storm like this with some pavement showing where the car tires continuously run over.
I did notice that most of the cars that were stuck in snow banks were either entering or exiting an exit ramp. Obviously, some of these folks were driving too fast and hit the brakes too hard or were trying to accelerate too quickly trying to get on the highway. At least I did not see any serious accidents as most of the cars traveling the QEW/407 and 400 were taking it slowly and cautiously.
Holding the steering wheel tight and as straight and steady as possible, we eventually made it to the Carriage Hills Resort in Horseshoe Valley just before dark and under light/blowing snow. The lower part of our minivan was now encased by a mass of frozen slush. I did not realize how mentally/physically exhausted I would be after that nine-hour trip. I have made plenty of nine-hour trips to North Carolina and was fine. No doubt driving in a snowstorm can be stressful.
The Carriage Hills Resort was gorgeous. Our separated two-bedroom suite had everything a family of five could possibly need, including a jacuzzi. It was also nice to get to see some curling on TV once again. Down in the U.S., they usually only show it during the winter games.
Great ski weekend at Mt. St. Louis Moonstone
The storm certainly slowed our travel, but we were rewarded with perfect ski conditions on Saturday and Sunday.
Mt. St. Louis Moonstone is one of the largest family-owned ski resorts in Ontario, and they certainly know how to treat a family to a great day of skiing and snowboarding.
A view of the full parking lot from the top of Mt. St. Louis that I took.
The storm brought over 30 cm of fresh powder to the ski hills of Mt. St. Louis Moonstone from late Thursday through Friday.
My oldest daughter and myself are the main skiers in our family, while my 5-year-old daughter Camryn wanted to learn how to ski.
We signed up our daughter for her first lesson Saturday morning and she had a blast, despite several falls. The staff was very courteous and patient with the beginners. The beginner slope facility is the best that I have seen with wide, gentle sloping trails and a cool lift system.
My daughter learning how to ski!
I have learned that it is best to have an instructor give a young child a lesson and not dad. Each time she would fall it was my fault with some tears then back up the hill. When she was with the instructor, there were no tears, just laughing.
Both days of the weekend brought sunshine and light winds, and we even got a little sunburn from the sun bouncing off the snow. The ski slopes at Mt. St. Louis are nice and wide, giving skiers plenty of room.
Another nice thing about Mt. St. Louis Moonstone is that the slopes face south and southeast, which is nice on a winter day with the sun shining. Most resorts that I have gone to face the north in order to better preserve the snow base, but it can be a lot colder with little or no snow. This slope orientation also protects the skier from the stronger, prevailing northwest winds off Georgian Bay, as the wind is usually at your back as you go down the hill.
Mt. St. Louis has a vertical drop of 550 feet, but the resort is quite expansive with 170 acres of ski-able terrain, 36 trails and 9 lifts. They have 100% snowmaking capabilities, but there was no need for that this past weekend with a base of up to 120 cm. You can also follow Mt. St. Louis on twitter @MtStLouis
To sum up.. I found Mt. St. Louis Moonstone as a very high-tech, organized operation with kind people who go out of their way to help you have a memorable experience. The skiing was great, with quickly moving lines thanks to a speedy lift system.
The trip home on Monday was uneventful and relaxing with a short side trip to Niagara Falls, which was pretty cool at this time of year with very few people and a lot of ice to look at.
Warmth in the West next week while cool hangs out in the East, but it won't last.
Latest clues to the long range through May.
Pattern looking rather chilly next week in the East while the eastern Prairies struggle for precipitation.
A look back at the 2015-16 seasonal snowfall forecast and the actual verifications across selected sites in Canada.
The super El Nino is steadily collapsing. Is a La Nina possible later in the year?
Winterlike cold will gradually lose its grip on the east later next week as the pattern slowly transitions to one that is more typical of April.