BARRIE -- It was mild and sunny across the region on Saturday.

An ideal day out on the roads for drivers finishing their holiday shopping, but a very different scene from just days ago. Whiteout conditions shutting down highway 400, causing a 50 car pile-up.

"We have had more snow than normal. We have typically had about 10 to 20 centimetres in the Barrie area," said Dave Phillips, Senior Climatologist with Environment Canada, "we normally would see about 50 centimetres by this time. We have had twice as much in December."

Phillip believes the trend will continue with a few surprises in 2020 but says the good news is, Barrie will have a white Christmas.

"We think the rest of the winter is going to be almost as if it's got its script from December," says Phillips, "we think it will be back and forth up and down, wide swings in the temperature."

The fluctuating conditions are prompting a warning from the OPP about venturing out on the ice.

"It's important to remember that this time of year, the ice is just beginning to form and can be very unpredictable," says Constable Jeff Hyde, "our message to the public is no ice is safe ice."

That message is no different for snowmobilers, with most trails in the region still closed.

"Until the trails are open, people really have to be aware. If you're driving on the street and the snowmobile is low, people can't see you," said Kevin Hagan Manager Mid-Ontario Snowmobile Trails, "I just tell people to really use caution.''