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Special weather alert issued for Toronto ahead of messy winter storm

Enjoy today's balmy temperatures while they last, people of Toronto, because this short reprieve from winter weather will come to a furious end on Wednesday night when yet another storm system enters the region.

"A low pressure system is expected to track northeast across Lake Erie and Lake Ontario Thursday night which will bring a messy mix of wintry precipitation to southern Ontario," reads a special weather statement issued by Environment Canada for the City of Toronto Wednesday morning.

"Precipitation will likely begin as rain this evening, transition to freezing rain or ice pellets Thursday and then to snow Thursday night."

Nothing is for certain — EnviroCan notes that precipitation types, amounts and timing could change based on how the storm tracks — but meteorologists seem confident that conditions will get nasty after temperatures reach a high of 8 C Wednesday afternoon.

"The warmth comes with a price," reads an update from the Weather Network. "Intense southerly wind gusts are expected to develop Wednesday morning. Widespread gusts of 60-80 km/h are forecast, with the potential for up to 90 km/h along lakeshores and higher terrain. Needless to say, there is the risk of power outages and downed trees."

Meanwhile, another shot of Arctic air will start moving into the region, setting up a "battleground of temperatures" that could complicate the storm track even further.

Commutes are expected to be arduous on Thursday and Friday as any standing rain or melted snow water freezes up, slickening roads and sidewalks.

The good news is that a warming trend is expected to begin this weekend, potentially bringing Toronto a few days of mild, spring-like weather next week.

"Looking ahead further, we're watching the potential for a taste of early spring at the end of February and into the beginning of March for southern Ontario and Quebec," notes the Weather Network.

"However, keep in mind it is highly unlikely we are completely finished with the winter weather just yet."

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