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Freezing rain warning issued for parts of GTA

Environment Canada has issued a freezing rain warning on top of a winter storm warning. CITYNEWS

Environment Canada has issued a freezing rain warning for parts of the Greater Toronto Area ahead of what is expected to be a messy commute for drivers on Thursday.

“A messy mix of ice pellets and freezing rain is expected to develop late [Wednesday night] or Thursday morning,” the agency said in a statement.

“The Thursday morning commute may be challenging with icy conditions on untreated roads, especially  for areas near to and west of the GTA … and it may be even more problematic for the evening rush hour.”

Some 20 millimetres of freezing rain could fall on Toronto, Mississauga, Brampton, Burlington, Oakville, Hamilton, Milton and the Halton Hills and develop into a “major ice storm.”

Widespread power outages are possible if the storm brings down tree limbs and hydro lines.

A previously-issued winter storm warning is still in effect for other parts of the GTA, including Caledon, York, Durham and Barrie.

The warnings prompted the City of Toronto to issue an extreme weather alert on Wednesday afternoon, advising vulnerable people such as the homeless to seek shelter during the storm.

Umbrellas and ice scrapers will be the tools of choice over the next couple of days.

“These are the type of storms where you really get caught in the rain if you don’t know it’s coming,” CityNews meteorologist Natasha Ramsahai said of the heavy downpour and lightning in Toronto on Wednesday afternoon.

“You’ve got to keep the umbrella with you pretty much all week long.”

Toronto Region and Conservation Authority advised people to stay away from rivers and streams because the anticipated rainfall will flood those water ways, creating dangerous conditions.

Check the full forecast here.