Freezing rain abates, but Environment Canada warns of Monday storm
MONTREAL -- As freezing rain abated over Quebec on Friday, Environment Canada had already issued a new special weather statement, this time warning of a Monday storm.
"An intense low pressure system will reach the Great Lakes Monday and bring a mixed bag of snow and ice pellets over Southwestern Quebec. Precipitation amounts of approximately 15 centimetres are expected. Moreover, strong easterly winds could produce blowing snow locally. Precipitation could also fall as freezing rain at times Monday, especially over areas near the border of Ontario," Environment Canada warned.
But the agency noted that the track of the storm could change.
Freezing rain that hit several parts of the province earlier in the day led to an increase in the number of car accidents and injuries, leading to a spike in 911 calls, according to Urgences-Sante.
Early in the day, the agency was receiving double the number of calls per hour, a spokesperson said. Ambulances transported about 60 people to hospital with ice-related injuries, including broken bones from falls.
As city workers cleared streets and sidewalks of ice, the rain that hit Quebec Friday prompted Premier Francois Legault to urge Quebecers to be safe out there,
"The freezing rain that fell overnight has made for difficult road conditions in several regions (Monteregie, Laurentians, Lanaudiere, Eastern Townships, Mauricie). More precipitation is forecast for later today. Transports Quebec teams have been deployed. Be careful on the roads," Legault tweeted Friday morning.
Environment Canada had issued several freezing rain warnings across the province, including the Greater Montreal Area, for Friday morning, with periods of freezing rain and drizzle expected to blanket southern and central Quebec. The agency issued a special weather statement for Montreal on Friday afternoon.
“Amounts of two to four millimetres of freezing precipitation are expected, depending on areas,” they warned. “Surfaces such as highways, roads, walkways and parking lots may become icy and slippery. Take extra care when walking or driving in affected areas.”
Precipitation is expected to taper to showers either later in the morning or by early afternoon.
Staying safe in freezing rain
Be careful when walking and use traction aids such as crampons to avoid falling on slippery surfaces and injuring yourself.
Ice from freezing rain can accumulate on branches, power lines and buildings.
If you go outside after a significant amount of ice has accumulated, pay attention to anything that could break due to the weight of the ice and fall on you. Make sure to also keep an eye out for falling ice sheets.
“A hanging power line could be charged (live) and you could run the risk of electrocution,” the Government of Canada’s public safety department states. “Remember also that ice, branches or power lines can continue to break and fall for several hours after the end of precipitation.”
It suggests not driving when freezing rain is in the forecast.
“Even a small amount of freezing rain can make roads extremely slippery,” it insists. “Wait several hours after freezing rain ends so that road maintenance crews have enough time to spread sand or salt on icy roads.”
If you do have to head somewhere, make sure to adjust your driving to the road conditions by slowing down and avoiding sudden manoeuvres.
"In the winter, the space between you and the vehicle in front of you should be greater [than in the summer]. In severe conditions, you should be able to count up to six seconds or more," CAA-Quebec explains. "The longer the following distance, the more time you will have to make the right decision in an emergency situation."
Freezing rain warnings are issued when rain falls in sub-zero temperatures, creating ice build-up and icy surfaces.