Blowing snow, winds close eastern Quebec highways
Transports Québec says zero visibility makes for treacherous driving conditions
Transports Québec has closed hundreds of kilometres of roads – including a long stretch of the Trans-Canada Highway – as blowing snow made driving conditions treacherous across eastern parts of the province.
The snow began falling late Thursday night, leaving five to 10 centimetres on the ground overnight.
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By the time the storm blows over later today, Environment Canada meteorologists predict it will have dumped between 15 to 30 centimetres of the white stuff across most of Quebec – and double that on the Gaspé Peninsula.
“Severe blowing snow will be a factor, and more so closer to the exposed areas near the St. Lawrence," said meteorologist Yvan Dubé.
“Everywhere along the St. Lawrence, from Quebec City down to Gaspé and also the North Shore, the visibility is close to zero,” said Dubé. “Many of the roads are already closed, and it’s not going to get any better during the day.”
Key road closures:
- Highway 20 in both directions between Lévis and Rivière du Loup, southeast of Quebec City.
- Most of the 300-kilometre stretch of Highway 132 between Rivière du Loup and Ste-Anne-des-Monts.
- Highway 185 from Rivière du Loup to the New Brunswick border.
- Many secondary roads, including Highway 216 between Saint-Sylvestre and St-Elzéar, Highway 218 between Saint-Henri and Saint-Charles and Highway 285 between Highways 20 and 132 at l’Islet.
- Highway 204 from Highway 20 south
- Highway 132 in both directions between La Pocatière and Saint-Alexandre-de-Kamouraska.
- Highway 132 between Trois-Pistoles and Le Bic.
Ferry service disrupted
The snowstorm has also affected ferry service between Matane and Godbout.
The 8 a.m. and 11 a.m. ferries have been cancelled, and Transports Québec said it would evaluate whether to run the 2 p.m. and 5 p.m. ferries later in the day.
Two injured near Boucherville
Closer to Montreal, the snowstorm is having less of an impact, although driving conditions are treacherous north and south of Montreal island, across the Eastern Townships and towards the U.S. border.
Provincial police reported several minor accidents overnight and into the morning.
Some 15 vehicles were involved in a major pileup on Highway 20 near Boucherville on Montreal's South Shore at around 7:30 a.m.
Sûreté du Québec spokeswoman Joyce Kemp said two people were injured, although those injuries were believed to be minor.
Hundreds of school closures
Most schools remain open today on the island of Montreal, however, the Sir Wilfred Laurier School Board closed dozens of schools in its network. Students across most of eastern Quebec are getting the day off school.