Snow removal trucks are on the streets of Montreal cleaning up after the first major snowfall of the season. 

Environment Canada says 39.2 cm of snow fell on the city on Tuesday — a record snowfall for Dec. 29.

City spokesman Jacques-Alain Lavallée said the cleanup will cost roughly $20 million, and he urged the co-operation of Montrealers in getting the job done as quickly as possible.

"If people want us to remove that snow as quickly as possible, please do it by removing your car," he said.

He said it's too soon to say when the work will be complete, explaining that crews will take a break from 7 p.m. ET on New Year's Eve until Jan. 2. 

This year, Montreal is trying a new approach to snow clearing that it says will harmonize the process across the island. From now on, all boroughs will clear snow away at the same time.

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People clear snow from around their cars in Montreal on Wednesday. (Graham Hughes/Canadian Press)

Anie Samson, the city councillor in charge of the program, says the plan is meant to eliminate confusion about which streets have been cleared and which have not.

"The new policy that we put in place is to respond to all the boroughs that year that did not start at the same time," Samson said.

She said people can get snow-clearing updates with the city's new smart phone app, Info-Neige.

The snowfall came as a relief to ski hill operators in Quebec, who had been struggling to keep trails open during the warm weather earlier this month.

Until the storm hit, many hills in the province were limited to a few runs. 

"This year was difficult because it was very warm so we couldn't make snow," said Sébastien Bertrand, a spokesman for Ski Saint-Bruno.