Winter storm slams Montreal, hampering travel, causing power outages

Click to play video: 'Winter storm slams Montreal' Winter storm slams Montreal
WATCH: Montreal was slammed by a winter storm Sunday and as Global's Billy Shields explains, while it may not have been the biggest storm of the century, it was one of the coldest – Jan 20, 2019

As forecast earlier this week, a winter storm is making its way across Quebec Sunday.

In Montreal, Environment Canada says between 15 to 25 cm of snow is expected.

READ MORE: Winter storm batters Eastern and Central Canada with ice-cold winds, heavy snow

The weather agency warns of strong winds and blowing snow and is urging motorists to stay off the roads.

“Consider postponing non-essential travel until conditions improve,” a statement on its website reads. “Prepare for quickly changing and deteriorating travel conditions.”

Transports Quebec spokesperson Émilie Lord reiterated the warning.

WATCH: Winter storm making travel difficult in Montreal

Click to play video: 'Winter storm making travel difficult in Montreal' Winter storm making travel difficult in Montreal
Winter storm making travel difficult in Montreal – Jan 20, 2019

“Stay at home if you can,” she said.

Story continues below advertisement

While as of Sunday at 10:30 a.m., there had been no reports of major accidents on Quebec roads, Lord explained that driving conditions were far from optimal.

With the intense cold, salt loses its efficiency to melt snow and ice on the streets.

“We have to use more abrasive products such as sand and a mix of finely crushed rocks,” she said.

WATCH: Montreal gets walloped with snow as storm moves through

Click to play video: 'Montreal gets walloped with snow as storm moves through' Montreal gets walloped with snow as storm moves through
Montreal gets walloped with snow as storm moves through – Jan 20, 2019

Lord also said that tires don’t grip the road as well either, making it more dangerous to get around.

The winter storm isn’t just affecting driving conditions, flights in and out of Montreal at Trudeau Airport have either been delayed or cancelled.

Story continues below advertisement

Aéroports de Montreal is warning travellers to check their flight status directly with their airlines.

The Société de Transports de Montréal (STM) has reported some disruptions to bus service due to bad road conditions.

The affected areas are Ridgewood Hill, du Beaver Hall Hill and Victoria Hill.

The STM is recommending transit users allow for more time to get to their destination.

The storm also wiped out power for thousands of residents in the West Island Sunday morning.

Jean-Philippe Rousseau, a Hydro-Québec spokesperson, told Global News the outage occurred at the Baie d’Urfé substation at 5:50 a.m., after an equipment breakdown. He couldn’t confirm, however,  whether the outage was a direct result of the weather.

At the peak of the outage, 14,000 customers were without electricity.

Rousseau said crews were working to restore power on the island as soon as possible.

READ MORE: Montreal homeless especially vulnerable when the mercury drops, experts say

The winter wallop has also led to the cancellation of Fête des Neiges activities at Parc Jean-Drapeau.

Story continues below advertisement

Organizers of the outdoor winter festival geared to kids and families cited safety concerns as the reason behind the cancellation.

“Although the majority of the festivities can be held despite difficult winter conditions, blowing snow, freezing cold, wind gusts and dangerous roads are all factors that have influenced our decision,” said François Cartier, spokesperson for the Société du Parc Jean-Drapeau.

Michel Dupont took the metro to get to Parc Jean-Drapeau.

He was well dressed for the occasion, even donning ski googles to keep the blowing snow out of his eyes.

WATCH: Frozen sculptures at Fête des Neiges

Click to play video: 'Frozen sculptures at Fête des Neiges' Frozen sculptures at Fête des Neiges
Frozen sculptures at Fête des Neiges – Jan 17, 2019

Dupont expressed his dismay over the cancellation, saying he found it strange that a festival devoted to snow would close because “there’s a little bit of snow.”

Story continues below advertisement

“I’m surprised that they closed the facility,” Dupont said. “It’s not a huge storm.”

Fête des Neiges activities are expected to resume next weekend, as planned.

WATCH: Dramatic multi-car pile-up in Montreal on Beaver Hall Hill in Dec. 2016

Click to play video: 'Dramatic multi-car pile-up in Montreal' Dramatic multi-car pile-up in Montreal
Dramatic multi-car pile-up in Montreal – Dec 5, 2016

While it may not be the biggest storm of the century, Environment Canada spokesperson Michelle Fleury, said it was one of the coldest.

“It’s very rare that we get heavy snow with temperatures below -15,” she said.

The last time we got more than 20 cm of snow in -15 weather was in 1920.

Snow-clearing operations underway

City spokesperson, Philippe Sabourin said 1,000 trucks were out on the roads on Sunday.

Story continues below advertisement

“In total we have to cover 10,000 kilometers of street and sidewalks, that’s a huge challenge,” he said.

Sabourin said the city is also equipped with cameras that have been installed on several steep hills to help monitor road conditions.

“Pine Avenue, near the [Montreal] General hospital was quite the challenge for us this morning. We went there more than twice every hour, we’re keeping our crews very busy.”

After the snowfall tapers off, the city will work on clearing the snow off the roads before the Monday morning commute.

“Once the snowfall will be behind us, we will need an extra eight hours to complete the operation,” Sabourin said. ​

Sponsored content