First storm of season comes to Montreal
The first storm of the season has hit southern Quebec – and will continue with blowing snow through Wednesday evening.
Snow began falling early Tuesday morning and 24 hours later 19 cm had accumulated at Trudeau airport. The forecast was for 15 to 20 cm of snow to fall in Montreal.
According to a tweet from Mayor Valerie Plante, snow removal will start at 7 p.m. Wednesday.
The storm was expected to bring more snow to regions north of Montreal, and by Wednesday morning it had left 24 cm on Quebec City.
Winds were blowing steadily at 40 km/h throughout Tuesday with gusts up to 70 km/h, and Wednesday's forecast was expected to be similar..
The snowfall started tapering off around 3 p.m. Tuesday, and is expected to change from snow to flurries Wednesday morning at which point temperatures will drop drastically until the end of the week.
CTV Weather Specialist Lori Graham was predicting temperatures would begin to drop Wednesday, reaching -11 on Wednesday afternoon and getting colder at night.
Environment Canada issued snowfall warnings for the storm because it expected that driving would be difficult across the province.
That prediction was justified on Tuesday during both rush hours as the blowing snow made it tough for everyone to see, and so traffic crawled along highways as drivers slowed down for safety's sake.
Those who rushed learned the hard way about the limits of physics as several collisions were reported as soon as the snow began to fall.
Conditions were expected to be similar on Wednesday.
Expect another slow commute on Wednesday morning with light #snow & #blowingsnow.— Lori Graham (@LGrahamCTV) December 13, 2017
Temps will drop into the afternoon and it will feel much colder with the wind!#BundleUp @CTVMontreal pic.twitter.com/oOp9nAeZp3
One STM bus went off the road and hit a lamppost at 7 a.m. at the intersection of Langelier Blvd. and the Metropolitan service road. No passengers were aboard, and the driver was not hurt.
Another bus had difficulty turning at Cote des Neiges and sideswiped a lamppost, blocking the road between Sherbrooke and Cedar for several hours.
There were at least six minor crashes reported by the STM on Tuesday morning, and the agency said that nobody was injured in any incident.
The transit agency has warned passengers to expect delays until the snow is cleared.
The Surete du Quebec reported several small crashes, but luckily no serious collisions.
The city of Montreal began plowing streets and sidewalks on Tuesday morning, dispatching a thousand employees to drive plows.
City spokesperson Philippe Sabourin said that under the new administration of Mayor Valerie Plante, boroughs have more independence.
"We still have the action plan for snow removal, so we have a plan, we have a policy to manage the snow removal operation but this year it's going to be applied with more flexibility. We want to make sure each borough--we have 19 boroughs--each of them will be able to have enough flexibility to adapt the service and adjust the service for their needs," said Sabourin.
If enough snow falls that it has to be carted away to clear streets, Montreal will start an operation that will involve thousands of vehicles clearing streets -- and ordering drivers to park somewhere else. Details will be posted on the city's website and information is also available on its Info-Neige app.
The city will make 2,158 parking spots available at 21 lots across the city. Those lots are indicated on the Stationnement de Montreal website.
The Ministry of Transportation also warned drivers to be careful, and said it would have salt trucks and plows out in force throughout Quebec.
The province is responsible for 32,000 km of roads and it has budgeted $275 million for snow removal and salting across Quebec, using a fleet of more than 1,600 trucks that will spread more than 800,000 tonnes of salt and more than 1,000,000 tonnes of abrasives.
The ministry also said that anyone who spotted dangerous conditions could report them by calling 5-1-1.
Those heading out to holiday parties Tuesday night had to find their own way home: Nez Rouge cancelled its operations for the evening, saying it would be too risky for its volunteer drivers to ferry people home during the storm.
Nez Rouge will resume its service at 8 p.m. Wednesday.
Meanwhile several schools that closed on Tuesday said Wednesday they would re-open.