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Spring-like weather hits the GTA

The GTA got a dose of spring-like weather weather on Saturday, shattering record high temperatures.

Environment Canada said the temperature in Ontario’s capital climbed to 15 degrees Celsius at 3 p.m. That breaking the previous record for Jan. 12 of 9.5 degrees Celsius, said Glenn Robinson, an Environment Canada meteorologist.

The area will get 10 to 20 millimetres of rain overnight and into Sunday.

The warmer weather is expected to last overnight until a cold front moves in Sunday evening from the northwest bringing an end to the thaw.

Downtown streets were packed as Torontonians took in the sunshine. Several bars and restaurants in the entertainment district even took the patio furniture out of storage so customers could enjoy a drink or two in the outdoors.

And despite the thaw causing puddling on the ice rink at Nathan Phillips Square, several skaters came out to take advantage of the rare chance to skate in lighter clothing, including t-shirts.

Meanwhile, a powerful storm that dumped about 20 centimetres of snow on southern Manitoba overnight Friday moved into northern Ontario Saturday.

Environment Canada meteorologist Dan Fulton said gusty winds were still causing blowing snow and poor visibility in some areas of Manitoba Saturday, with temperatures hovering around -20 degrees Celsius.

The blizzard led authorities to close several roads Friday evening, including the Trans-Canada Highway between Winnipeg and the Saskatchewan border, said Fulton.

Up to 30 centimetres of snow was expected by Saturday night in areas of northern Ontario including Sandy Lake, Kenora, Sioux Lookout and Fort Albany. Other regions, such as Moosonee, Manitouwadge and Nakina, were expecting freezing rain.

Plows in Newfoundland’s capital were handed the daunting task of clearing more than 50 centimetres of snow from roads after an intense blizzard blasted the region on Friday.

Paul Mackey, director of Public Works and Parks in St. John’s, said roads were accessible by at least one lane on Saturday morning, but widening the streets was expected to take several days.

“We’ve got a tremendous amount of snow on the ground and… the weather has turned milder since yesterday and now it’s getting very wet and heavy,” said Mackey from St. John’s on Saturday. “It’s a challenge to deal with, but we’re working our way through it”

Once roads are widened, snow will be trucked out of the coastal city’s downtown and dumped into the harbour, said Mackey. He estimated that would begin mid-week.

The St. John’s International Airport was expected to remain closed to air traffic until 12 a.m. Sunday, citing an “incredible amount” of heavy snow, its website said.

Michele Coughlan of Newfoundland Power said about 2,700 were still in the dark on the Avalon Peninsula and in central Newfoundland on Saturday afternoon, down from about 65,000 the day before.

The city’s airport had recorded wind gusts of more than 100 kilometres an hour and 48 centimetres of snow before it changed to freezing drizzle Friday.

For the full weather forecast, click here.

– With files from The Canadian Press