As city scrambles on icy roads, scientist warns of new normal for Montreal winters
Sunday’s rain became Monday’s ice and while Montrealers are slip-sliding around, city officials said they’re working as fast as they can to solve the problem.
“We’re having a difficult winter,” said Mayor Valerie Plante. “We need to think creatively about what can be put together to better equip our teams in boroughs so they can do their work.”
Montreal Executive Committee member Jean-Francois Parenteau said workers are going as fast as they can, spreading salt and abrasives on the iciest roads and sidewalks.
“We start the operation as soon as we can on the ice on the sidewalk,” he said. “It’s not automatically that we put the salt everywhere in Montreal. It’s too big.”
The opposition in City Hall said that more action and less talk is needed.
“The lack of coordination, a lack of collaboration, what we see here is just reactionary measures on behalf of the administration,” said opposition leader Lionel Perez.
It’s a problem Montreal has seen several times this winter – mild temperatures leading to the thawing of snow, combined with rainfall, all of which freezes over when temperatures dip. Christopher McCray, a PhD candidate in atmospheric sciences at McGill University, said Montrealers should get used to their new normal.
McCray analyzed Environment Canada data and found Montrealers’ winters have changed.
“In terms of the amount of precipitation that’s falling as rain this winter, we’ve had about 150 millimetres of just rain since Dec. 1,” he said. “In the past 20 years, the average has been more like 100 millimetres.”