MONTREAL - Winter arrived with a vengeance as a heavier-than-expected storm dumped 25 centimetres of snow over the city of Montreal.

Strong winds blew much of that snow around leading to tall drifts in many areas, and very poor visibility on the roads.

The snow continued to fall throughout the day Tuesday, and is expected to wind down Tuesday evening with an additional one to two centimentres overnight Tuesday. East of montreal is expected to get another 10 centimentres, however.

Winds blew at 40 kilometres per hour with gusts up to 60 kilometres per hour.

Officials advised commuters to take the metro or public transit Tuesday morning and to allow themselves more time than usual to get to work or school.

Many drivers already knew they would need more time as Monday's commute home was at a snail's pace.

Why so wrong?

Millions of people are wondering why there was a huge discrepancy between the 2-4 cm forecast and what actually happened.

Rene Heroux of Environment Canada said that, in essence, the computers analyzing data from a storm on the east coast were wrong.

"Our numerical models had difficulty picking it up and some areas got more than 12 to 15 centimetres, so much more than we anticipated," said Heroux.

Cleanup begins Tuesday night

The city of Montreal's snow czar, Yves Girard, announced the first snow removal operation of the season will begin at 7 p.m. Tuesday in some boroughs, and come into effect city-wide at 7 a.m. Wednesday.

He estimates it will take five days to haul away the snow and clear every side street unless more snow falls.

Heroux said it will get colder later in the week, but significant snowfalls are not anticipated.

Train delays Monday, improvements Tuesday

Trains were on time Tuesday evening, with no delays reported. Traffic was running smoothly, including bridges to the South Shore.

Tuesday morning saw only one problem for train commuters. The Blainville-St-Jerome line is only going as far as the Parc station, so commuters will have to transfer to the underground metro line at that point.

The AMT is blaming a faulty switch that prevents trains from going any further.

Trains on multiple lines were cancelled Monday because blowing snow covered the tracks, and one switch broke under the load.

The drive home on Monday evening was very snow, with many collisions and crashes.

One person died when an Econoline van with more than 15 passengers overturned on the South Shore.

School closures

Several schools closed Tuesday because of the weather.

They are:

  • Miss Edgar's and Miss Cramp's schools
  • all three campuses of Vanguard school (Westmount, St. Laurent & Laval)
  • Queen of Angels in Dorval
Meanwhile the Council of Commissioners' meeting of the New Frontiers School Board has been rescheduled to Tuesday, Dec. 21, 2010.

Storm smacks Maritimes, Ontario

The winter storm also pounded Canada's Maritime provinces, bringing high winds, rain and snow, leaving thousands without power and slowing travel.

The combination of wind, snowfall and storm surge warnings were in effect for several coastal areas in New Brunswick, Newfoundland, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island.

Winds gusting to more than 100 kilometres per hour caused the closure of the Confederation Bridge between New Brunswick and P.E.I. on Monday morning.

Ferry cancellations, road closures and power outages added to the headache for Maritimers.

In Ontario, Environment Canada issued snow squall warnings for most of the region stretching from Georgian Bay southwest to Sarnia and southeast to Peterborough as heavy snowfall is expected to continue coating the area through Tuesday.

As much as 30 centimetres of snow was reported in Schomberg and Beeton to Toronto's north.

Environment Canada's severe weather meteorologist Rob Kuhn said some areas in southern Ontario could receive up to 60 centimetres.

That region encompasses Strathroy, London, St. Thomas and up to Grand Bend and Owen Sound.

With files from