A massive winter storm has started to descend on southern Quebec, bringing intense winds and blowing snow to much of the province.
Environment Canada has issued a winter storm warning for several regions, including Montreal, Vaudreuil-Hudson, the Eastern Townships and Quebec City areas.
The major storm, which started early Tuesday evening, is expected to bring up to 25-40 centimetres of snow to Montreal by Wednesday evening.
The blast of wintry weather has already forced many schools boards in the greater Montreal area to close for Wednesday.
Montreal police and Quebec provincial police are asking drivers and pedestrians to be careful on the roads due to the changing weather conditions.
“At this moment we invite you to be careful while you’re going to be moving or using your car,” said Montreal police spokesperson Raphael Bergeron.
In Montreal, the city’s public transit system is asking people to be patient.
“Remember to plan your trip before leaving your home tomorrow morning and plan a little more time,” the STM said.
Orléans Express, Quebec’s inter-city bus company, warns trips could be delayed due to the weather.
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Via Rail is also asking users to stay informed of departures and arrivals in case they are impacted by the extreme winter conditions.
For those travelling by air, the Montreal Trudeau Airport says its teams are working hard to minimize how weather impact operations.
“We can expect there is going to be some delays or cancellations so passengers need to check with their airlines,” said airport spokesperson Anne-Sophie Hamel.
The City of Montreal has started removing snow on streets and sidewalks. Residents are being asked to stay away from snow-clearing machinery and to use public transit when possible.
With up to 40 centimetres of snow expected, the Montreal fire department wants residents to clear their driveways, staircases and other points of access in case of an emergency.
“De-snow and de-ice your emergency exits to reduce the risk of incidents,” the fire department said.
Transports Québec trucks are also out on Highway 15 South between Laval and Montreal. If you see one, authorities are asking to stay behind crews so they can better do their job.
There are also extra surveillance agents and police officers monitoring for trouble spots on Montreal’s vast highway network. Gilles Payer, a spokesperson with the province’s transport ministry, says he’s crossing his fingers that it won’t be worse tomorrow morning.
“We never know,” he said. “We know how winter is.”
— With files from Global’s Gloria Henriquez and Tim Sargeant
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