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Montrealers scramble to put on snow tires before blast of winter weather

WATCH: It may be early in the season, but winter is knocking on Montreal's door and drivers are starting to feel the heat. With up to 20 centimetres of snow expected to fall on the city overnight, drivers are scrambling to get their winter tires installed before the storm hits. Global's Dan Spector has more.

Montrealers are bracing for the season’s first major snowfall and drivers are scrambling to put on winter tires ahead of the storm.

Drivers are already being asked to be careful by Montreal police due to tricky road conditions.

“There are certain spots on the island where the roads are slippery so please be vigilant, keep your distances and slow down,” said police spokesperson Jean-Pierre Brabant.

READ MORE: Montreal postpones Halloween due to bad weather

Environment Canada has also issued a snowfall warning for several regions across the province, including Montreal, Vaudreuil-Soulanges, Quebec City, Lanaudière and the Eastern Townships. The snow will begin Monday afternoon and continue through Tuesday.

“The Tuesday morning commute is expected to be particularly difficult,” the warning states.

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The weather agency warns up to 20 centimetres of snow is expected for parts of southern and central Quebec. Some areas will receive up to 25 centimetres of snow.

The major snowfall will make for difficult driving conditions, according to Environment Canada. Visibility on the roads may be suddenly reduced at times due to heavy snow.

Alexandre Parent, a meteorologist with Environment Canada, told Global News it’s a bit early for a big snowstorm but Montrealers should be ready for snow starting Monday afternoon.

“We are looking a good 16-18 hours of snow,” he said.

Winter tire frenzy

The blast of winter weather has also left motorists rushing to put on snow tires. In Quebec, snow tires are obligatory as of Dec. 1 after the province pushed back the deadline last year.

First major snowfall
First major snowfall

Rick Leckner, a traffic analyst, said he believes the deadline should be as early as Nov. 15 given the weather conditions in Montreal.

“It could be a difficult day tomorrow,” he said. “Hopefully those who have not installed snow tries won’t even make the attempt to get out there with cars that are not properly equipped.”

Drivers who haven’t been able to get their tires on should make alternative arrangements, he added. They should not drive in difficult conditions.

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“All that’s going to lead to is delays and possibly some bad accidents,” he said.

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As Quebecers rush to put on winter tires, local garages are doing their best to deal with the onslaught of customers ahead of the big storm.

In Vaudreuil, Shabaz Chaudry described the situation as hectic and has promised not to turn away desperate drivers from his company. He hasn’t been able to answer all the phone calls coming in and workers have been working until the early hours of the morning to meet the high demand.

“The next three or four days we are going to be working late,” he said. “We extended our shop hours to 9 p.m. and there’s no appointments. It is first come, first serve.”

After Dec. 1, those caught driving without winter tires face fines that vary from $200 to $300, plus costs.

READ MORE: Quebec moves up deadline for obligatory winter tires in 2019

— With files from Global News’ Brayden Jagger Haines and Dan Spector