Worst is over for Montreal as storm moves east
The worst of the icy mix has passed Montreal and is moving on to Eastern Quebec and the Maritimes.
Montrealers expecting a blanket of snow instead woke up to extremely slippery highways, streets and sidewalks, making for a treacherous venture outdoors.
Environment Canada issued a freezing rain warning Tuesday morning for the island of Montreal, Laval, Chateauguay - La Prairie area and the Longueuil - Varennes area for 2 to 4 millimetres of ice. It has since been cancelled.
After four hours of rain, the ice turned to snow, but surfaces remained slippery.
As the storm moves east, warnings were put in place up to 25 centimetres of snow mixed with freezing rain in Eastern Quebec and the Maritimes.
Urgences Santé warned people that their ambulances were overwhelmed, and that Montreal and Laval residents should stay home if possible and avoid calling 911 if it is not truly urgent.
The conditions caused multi-vehicle pileups, snow closures, and the closure of some transit services throughout Tuesady.
Some pedestrians complained that city workers weren't out early enough to clean the streets and were caught off guard by the weather.
Indeed everyone was, with forecasts late Monday evening calling for snow and mixed precipitation -- not the freezing rain that actually fell in and around Montreal.
City spokesperson Jacques-Alain Lavallée said workers started well before dawn.
"Our people were on sidewalks and streets as early as 6 o’clock this morning because there was kind of a drizzle that had fallen on the city of Montreal. We had about 400 pieces of equipment on sidewalks and streets spreading abrasives and salt," he said.
Several buses in Montreal and Laval either spun out or opted to stop altogether due to difficulty controlling the vehicles.
photo: CTV Montreal / Cosmo Santamaria
Laval public transit had disturbances and bus drivers were given orders to park their vehicles as needed for clients' safety.
Longueuil public transit reported many delays and cancellations due to weather in the morning, gradually resuming service after 8:30 a.m.
With the freezing rain came school closures:
- New Frontiers schools closed
- Kahnawake Education Centre schools closed
- Riverside schools closed
- Saint-Hyacinthe schools closed
- Summit School in Saint-Laurent closed
- Vanguard School in Saint-Laurent closed
- Commission scolaire des Patriotes schools closed
The Lester B. Pearson School Board decided on an early dismissal for students of some schools:
- MacDonald High School at 1 p.m.
- Westwood High Junior at 12 p.m.
- Westwood High Senior at 12:10 p.m.
- Elementary schools will be dismissing students at their regular time.
No schools in the English Montreal School Board closed and students were not sent home early. Parents should be aware that there may be some delays in school bus drop-off times, however.
Anyone travelling outside of the city should also check for delays. Trudeau airport is reporting dozens of cancellations, as well as flight departure and arrival delays.
Drivers should also exercise caution on all routes due to black ice, as a number of accidents have been reported, and similarly, pedestrians should walk with caution and wear suitable footwear to avoid injury.
photo: CTV Montreal / Amanda Kline
A multi-vehicle crash on Highway 40 West near Cavendish Rd. luckily ended in no injuries. Seven to eight vehicles were involved in the crash at 6:35 a.m. As a result, Highway 40 W was closed at Cavendish until the vehicles were removed, an operating which took time due to icy road conditions.
A tractor-trailor pileup on Highway 20 west of the Island of Montreal also closed exits 2-12 there. One person suffered minor injuries. Black ice was reported.
photo: CTV Montreal / Cosmo Santamaria
The STM reported that due to freezing rain conditions, it cannot guarantee service for wheelchair users at all bus stops.
The Montreal Canadiens cancelled their practice due to the conditions.
Some embraced the conditions, though. There was even a brave unicyclist spotted riding with an umbrella in hand.
photo: CTV Montreal / Cindy Sherwin
Freezing rain changed to snow mixed with ice pellets Tuesday morning, and is expected to amount to 10 to 15 centimetres in the Montreal area.
While temperatures are expected to remain mild and hovering around the freezing mark, Environment Canada is predicting chances of snow, with the chance of ice pellets too, every day until Saturday.
Wednesday is likely to be the mildest day of the forecast with a high of 3 degrees Celsius.