SUDBURY -- Environment Canada has upgraded the snow squall watch in the Sault Ste. Marie area to a winter weather travel advisory Monday morning.

Communities affected include Sault Ste. Marie, St. Joseph Island, Searchmont, Montreal River Harbour, and Batchawana Bay.

"Lake effect snow bands have produced near-zero visibilities at times this morning. Local snowfall amounts of 5 to 10 cm will be possible by the time snow squall activity weakens late this afternoon," the weather service said on its website at 6:18 a.m. on Monday.

Strong winds continue and are expected to strengthen again with gusts up to 80 km/h from late morning into the early afternoon before diminishing by the evening hours. The strong winds will be especially strong along the shorelines of Whitefish Bay, North Channel and Manitoulin Island.

"Strong winds can throw loose objects, cause tree branches to break, and damage property. Power outages are also possible," Environment Canada warns.