UPDATE: Rainfall Warning Blankets Region

Freezing drizzle. (File photo by Blackburn News)

A rainfall warning issued by Environment Canada is now ended for Windsor-Essex and Chatham-Kent, although messy weather is still expected.

Environment Canada Meteorologist Geoff Coulson says a major storm system is making its way through the region. Rain is expected Wednesday afternoon and into the evening, totalling between 25 mm to 35 mm. Thunder is also possible, especially near eastern Lake Erie.

As well, the Essex Region Conservation Authority has issued a flood watch.

Despite the changing forecast, Coulson says the system is still very much a “major storm” that should be considered “fairly intense.”

Chatham-Kent Director of Public Works Miguel Pelletier says the city was prepared for today’s storm, but it wasn’t as bad as they thought.

“We have 3,500 km of road. We use a priority system to make sure that the roads that are busier, the emergency roads, the school bus routes are done first,” he says.

In the City of Windsor, Maintenance Coordinator Roberta Harrison says city crews will be on the road all day and night dealing with the changing weather.

“Right now we’re not relying on the radar or what’s supposed to happen, we’re relying just on our eyes and what’s happening in the sky,” says Harrison.

She says this morning’s conditions forced them to call in private contractors to help city crews.

“This morning it was more ice pellets versus freezing rain and glazing conditions. As it continued certain areas of it really started to change over to snow,” she says.

Winds could gust up to 60 km/h at times on Wednesday and the storm will taper off with some snow on Thursday. Coulson says 5 cm to 8 cm of the white stuff could fall overnight Thursday, with a few more centimeters expected during the day.

“But certainly not the large-scale snowfall amounts we’re expecting… up through areas like Dufferin County, Barrie, Orillia areas — some of those areas could see in excess of 20-30 cm of snow,” says Coulson.

A special weather statement remains in effect for Windsor-Essex and Chatham-Kent. Environment Canada cautions that this is a developing storm and the weather agency will issue updates as new information becomes available.

A new feature also allows motorists to check online and see if area highways have been plowed.