Quebec digs out after monster storm

A massive clean up operation is underway in Quebec following a powerful winter storm that paralyzed the province on Monday.

Montreal expects removal to cost $20 million

Snow-clearing crews tackled large snowbanks on Tuesday in Sherbrooke, Que. ((CBC))
A massive clean up operation is underway in Quebec following a powerful winter storm that paralyzed the province on Monday.

Snow plows worked around the clock in many cities including Sherbrooke where more than 75 centimetres of snow fell in 24 hours, shutting down schools, city facilities and many roads.

On Monday, Sherbrooke police and emergency officials left their normal vehicles behind and deployed snowmobiles to attend to those in need.

By Tuesday morning, streets were in better shape as crews worked feverishly to clear away the banks of snow.

The main streets through Sherbrooke were clear, however city officials asked people to be patient as crews made their way to the snow-bound residential streets.

The city estimated that it will take 10 days to clear away the snow.

Caroline Gingras, who works at a donut shop, said the situation Tuesday was much better than Monday, when her assistant manager had to go pick up stranded employees with a 4x4 truck.

Schools in Sherbrooke remain closed on Tuesday.

Smooth cleanup in Montreal: officials

Sherbrooke police had to use snowmobiles to get around the city on Monday. ((CBC))
In Montreal where between 20 and 25 centimetres of snow fell on Monday, officials were estimating the cleanup would take five days and cost $20 million.

Director of snow removal services Yves Gravel urged people to respect the no-parking regulations on major arteries and watch for signs on local roads.

The clean up was so far on schedule and on budget, he said.

Relief in sight

Environment Canada was forecasting better weather Tuesday and for the rest of the week.


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André Cantin, a meteorologist with Environment Canada, said the storm was not unusual for this time of year, although the amount may be a record for some areas.

"The month of March is generally where we get our worst snowstorms because the air gets warmer, there's more humidity in the air, more humidity available to form precipitation," said Cantin.

He said snowfall amounts were higher than originally predicted because a weather system moved from its anticipated path as it blew across the province.

"I don't think winter is over yet but we'll get relief," said Cantin.

With files from The Canadian Press