A major winter storm is bearing down on Ontario and Quebec, with residents being warned to reconsider travel plans as conditions could get hazardous.

Environment Canada has issued weather warnings for most of Ontario and much of Quebec, saying heavy snow, strong winds and freezing rain are expected in some areas.

In parts of southern Ontario, rain followed by plummeting temperatures could result in flash-freezing conditions, while high winds and blizzard conditions are forecast for some areas.

Several school boards, including the Toronto District School Board and boards in Ottawa and London, Ont., have shut schools for the day.

Late Thursday, WestJet proactively cancelled flights at airports in Ontario, Quebec and British Columbia as storm systems bear down on the regions.

The airline says the cancellations apply to all flights scheduled to arrive and depart Toronto's Pearson International Airport beginning Friday at 9 a-m eastern time until the end of the day -- other airports affected by the service disruptions include those in Ottawa, London, Montreal, and Waterloo.

In Quebec, many regions are expected to receive a mix of heavy snow, rain and strong winds, while some areas could see freezing rain.

Meteorologists have warned that the forecast weather in both provinces could result in power outages.

Hydro One, Ontario's largest electricity utility, has said teams are prepared to respond to any outages. Toronto Hydro has reminded customers to refresh their emergency kits and said additional crews are ready to support customers through the weekend.

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This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 23, 2022.

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