A wintry mix of snow and freezing rain prompted school closures across a wide swath of Quebec today, leaving thousands of students with an unexpected day off.
All four school boards on the island of Montreal announced they were closing their schools because of the weather, as did others in the surrounding area and elsewhere in the province.
Freezing rain began late Monday in southwestern and central Quebec, leaving roads and sidewalks a slippery and slushy mess.
“Actually the streets are in good shape in Montreal,” said city spokesman Philippe Sabourin, adding that side streets and sidewalks were a different story. “We didn’t have time to plow the sidewalks carefully.”
Sabourin said 1000 city workers were out in full force to salt and plow the roads and sidewalks.
“Citizens have to understand we have 6,000 kilometres of sidewalks to keep in good shape, and it takes us eight hours to complete the first round,” Sabourin told Global News.
Urgences-Santé spokesperson Valerie Tremblay said they were dealing with a lot of calls for broken wrists and broken arms related to people falling down on icy sidewalks.
Numerous flights have also been cancelled or delayed at Pierre Elliott Trudeau Airport.
Environment Canada has also issued a winter storm warning for the Quebec City area and eastern Quebec, including the Gaspe and Charlevoix regions where between 25 and 40 centimetres of snow is expected.
The weather has forced the cancellation of a three-day federal NDP caucus meeting in Saguenay, north of Quebec City.
A freezing rain warning is also in effect for eastern Ontario and in Ottawa.
School buses were cancelled but schools themselves remain open.
— with files from the Canadian Press