Quebec snowstorm closes roads, grounds flights

Quebecers were spared the worst of the snowstorm hammering parts of Ontario and the United States, but dangerous driving conditions led to at least one deadly collision and several minor incidents where cars slid off the road.
Snow-covered and icy roads slowed traffic to a crawl Friday morning. Gusting winds may complicate the drive home. 0:50

Quebecers were spared the worst of the snowstorm hammering parts of Ontario and the United States, but dangerous driving conditions led to at least one deadly collision and several minor incidents involving cars sliding off the road.

Most flights to Toronto and the U.S. eastern seaboard were also cancelled.

Snow-covered and icy roads were a factor in at least one death on Quebec's roads.

A 23-year-old was killed when she lost control of her car and collided with another vehicle on Highway 112 in Marieville, Que.

In another incident, a tractor-trailer jack-knifed and slid off Highway 30 near St. Constant.

Dozens of cancelled flights to Toronto and cities on the U.S. eastern seaboard lit the screens at Trudeau airport.

While there were no serious injuries, the highway was closed for several hours.

Police in Montreal issued a warning to motorists to drive carefully throughout the day.

Environment Canada spokesman Maxim Desharnais said, in all, only about 10 centimetres of snow is expected to fall in the Montreal region today, however winds gusting up to 60 km/h could pose a challenge.

"That's going to produce blowing snow," said Desharnais.  "That's going to hinder visibility considerably."

Airline passengers shift plans

At Montreal's Trudeau airport, dozens of flight cancellations spanned from Friday into the weekend.

It appeared most passengers had checked the status of their departing flights ahead of time as the terminal was relatively quiet.

Dozens of delayed and cancelled flights were posted on screens in the terminal.

Thulung Tran sat on a bench, her itinerary in one hand and her mobile phone at her ear, trying to re-book her ticket to Santa Ana, Calif.

Tran and her husband had been looking forward to celebrating the lunar new year with relatives there, but their connecting flight to Chicago was cancelled.

"I'm really very disappointed,'" she said.

Where to watch for icy, snow-covered roads and/or reduced visibility:

  • Highway 158 in Saint-Jérôme
  • Highway 125 between Saint-Esprit and Sainte-Julienne
  • Highway 15 in Laval

  • Highway 40 West

  • Highway 138 closed following an accident

  • Highway 30 in Montérégie region

  • Champlain Bridge

  • Highways 20 and 40 between Montreal and Quebec City

  • Highway 55 near Stanstead, Que.

At an airport café, 17-year-old Andrea Ortica commiserated with her mother and godmother after learning their flight to New York City had been cancelled.

"I wanted to look for my prom dress," Ortica said. "But not any more.  We're stuck here."

"She would have walked through the storm, for sure," said Andrea's mother, Cristina Boccardi. 

Luck was on Andrea's side, however.  She and her shopping advisors caught another flight, later in the day.