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Montrealers dig out and snow removal begins in aftermath of winter storm

Montreal winter storm hinders commute from West Island
WATCH ABOVE: The commute into downtown Montreal from the West Island wasn't a smooth one after the recent winter storm. Global's Mike Armstrong documents his commute from Pierrefonds-Roxboro.

Montrealers are digging out and snow removal is underway in the aftermath of the winter storm that slammed the province with more than 35 centimetres of snow Tuesday night.

About 1,000 city workers are out on the streets to clear the snow. Snow-removal operations kicked off at 7 p.m. on Wednesday.

WATCH: With more than 40 centimeters of snow blanketing the Island of Montreal, it took a lot of time and patience to dig out. As Global’s Tim Sargeant explains, the snow storm encouraged neighbors to give each other a helping hand.

Snow brings out the best in people
Snow brings out the best in people

“We already received 40 centimetres of snow,” said Philippe Sabourin, City of Montreal spokesperson.

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“That’s huge. That represents 20 per cent of an entire winter in one night.”

He added that it will cost about $40 million to remove the snow from the streets. The snow removal operation is expected to take at least one week.

Numerous flights have been cancelled or delayed at Montreal’s Pierre-Elliott Trudeau airport.

WATCH: Montreal has been hammered with 40 centimetres of snow since Tuesday evening, prompting dozens of school closures. As Global’s Karol Dahl saw, the weather didn’t stop from Montrealers from getting outside and enjoying the snow day.

Snow much fun in Pointe-Claire
Snow much fun in Pointe-Claire

READ MORE: Here’s which schools are closed in greater Montreal area due to winter storm

Flights to Toronto, Quebec City and Halifax are the most seriously affected, as well as those to northeastern U.S.

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So far, flights heading to the south seem to be leaving as scheduled. Officials are advising passengers to check with their airline before heading to the airport.

The Société de transport de Montréal (STM) and exo commuter train networks are asking Montrealers to be patient and expect delays due to the bad weather.

READ MORE: Massive winter storm strikes southern Quebec

With the build-up of snow along side the highways, and the blowing snow clogging up ramps and exits, Quebec provincial police are warning drivers to be careful on the roads.

“Reduce your speed, keep your distance from the cars ahead of you and make sure your windows and lights are cleared,” the Sûreté du Québec (SQ) said.

WATCH: Montrealers have fun – and even make money – with the snow

Montrealers have fun – and even make money – with the snow
Montrealers have fun – and even make money – with the snow

In Quebec City, about 20 accidents have been attributed to the weather.

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“Luckily, the majority of these accidents did not lead to severe injuries,” said Mélanie Jobin, spokesperson for the force.

IN PHOTOS: Montrealers digging out of their homes

Île Bizard.
Île Bizard. Chris Mourel
Five-year-old husky Mya playing in the snow. .
Five-year-old husky Mya playing in the snow. . Russell Hughes
Maryanne Bellomo
Nancy Wheeler
Rosemont–La Petite-Patrie.
Rosemont–La Petite-Patrie. Souad
Kirkland.
Kirkland. Lees
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Rue Wellington.
Rue Wellington. Melinda Townsend
Île Bizard .
Île Bizard . Chris Mourel
Cheryl Vijh dug a path for her dog.
Cheryl Vijh dug a path for her dog. Cheryl Vijh
Cynthia
Maggie the six pound chihuahua.
Maggie the six pound chihuahua. Caroline Alary
Corner of Stanley and Maisonneuve.
Corner of Stanley and Maisonneuve. Craig Batty
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Maryanne Bellomo
Beaconsfield.
Beaconsfield. Brett Hillgartner
Joy

The storm forced most school boards and academic institutions to close their doors for the day, including CEGEPs and universities.

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More than 50 of 72 school boards across the province declared a snow day.

“It’s lovely to look at, but certainly inconvenient when both your kids are at home for the day,” said Deric Davis, an NDG resident.

Heavy snow and blowing snow are expected to ease as the system continues on toward the eastern parts of the province, where a total of 15 to 25 centimetres of snow is expected, accompanied by strong winds and blowing snow.

READ MORE: Slushy mess greets Montreal commuters after onslaught of freezing rain, snow

“Rapidly accumulating snow could make travel difficult over some locations,” said Environment Canada.

“Visibility will be suddenly reduced to near zero at times in heavy snow and blowing snow.”

Throughout the next week, a total of 3,300 workers are expected to take part in snow clearing operations.

rachel.lau@globalnews.ca

— With files from The Canadian Press