Snowplows out in force as Quebec grapples with storm
Winter storm hits Eastern Canada on the last day of winter
With heavy snowfall and winter storm warnings still in effect for Tuesday evening in many parts of Quebec and the Maritimes, snowplows are out in force, competing for space on snow-clogged roads with commuters who couldn't or wouldn't leave their cars at home.
The City of Montreal encouraged Montrealers to take public transit and said crews are working hard to clear the streets and sidewalks.
In Montreal, at least 1,000 pieces of snow-removal equipment were out on the streets early in the day to handle the 26-centimetre snowfall in the region. City spokesman Jacques-Alain Lavallée said workers are making bus stops, metro entrances, hospitals and schools a priority.
Lavallée refused to predict how long it would take to clear this latest dump of snow, in what has been one of the snowiest winters in 30 years — 269 centimetres and counting including the most recent dump, which is 17 per cent more than the annual average over the past three decades.
He said the snow removal operation will depend on the weather over the next few days.
"If the forecast calls for milder temperatures, we will have to assess whether all this is going to melt away, or whether we need to remove it as quickly as possible," Lavallée said.
On average, a 20-centimetre snowfall is cleared from the city's streets within four days.
More snow to come
Residents in the Montreal region and the southwestern Quebec had expected to see up to 15 centimetres of snow — a record for this day, the last day of winter for 2013.
The storm is expected to hit the Maritimes overnight, bringing a mix of snow, rain and ice pellets as the temperature changes, creating a messy situation for the commute to work Wednesday morning.
Yarmouth is expected to be the first target. Then the system is expected to track across Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island, leaving behind 15 to 20 centimetres of snow in most areas.
The region is supposed to be hit again on Friday morning with another blast of snow heading into the weekend, said CBC meteorologist Peter Coade.
Before and after: Montreal blanketed in snow
Many students across Quebec enjoyed a day off from classes, with more than 50 schools reported they were closed for the day.
School board closures:
Riverside School Board (all schools and centres).
New Frontiers School Board (all centers and offices - and no bus service to off-territory schools).
Grandes-Seigneuries school board.
Hautes-Rivières school board.
Trois-Lacs school board.
Eastern Township school board (all schools and centres).
Lester B. Pearson School Board (all schools, daycares and centres).
Des Samares School Board in Lanaudière.
Vallée-des-Tisserands school board.
Individual school closures:
Akiva school in Westmount.
Centre académique Fournier (primary and secondary).
École Bilingue de Montreal Ouest.
Centre François-Michelle (primary and secondaries).
Miss Edgar's & Miss Cramp's School.
Centre d'intégration scolaire (primary and secondary).
Kells Academy in NDG.
Lower Canada College in NDG.
Centre pédagogique Lucien-Guilbault (primary and secondary).
Collège Charlemagne (preschool, primary and secondary).
École au Jardin-Bleu (preschool and primary).
Emmanuel Christian School (preschool, primary and secondary).
École Montessori intern. (Montréal campus for preschool and primary).
Montreal Oral School for the Deaf.
École Peter Hall – Côte-Vertu and Ouimet campuses (preschool, primary and secondary).
The Priory School.
The Sacred Heart School of Montreal.
St. Georges School of Montreal (both campuses).
Selwyn House School in Westmount.
The Study (preshool, primary and secondary).
Summit School in Saint-Laurent.
Vanguard school (Westmount, Laval and Saint-Laurent campuses).
West Island College.
CS Sir-Wilfrid-Laurier is partially closed.
Arundel Elementary School.
Grenville Elementary School.
Laurentia Elementary School.
Laurentian Elementary School.
Laurentian Regional High School.
Morin Heights Elementary School.
Mountainview High School.
Sainte-Adèle Elementary School.
John Abbott College.
Collège de Valleyfield.
Académie Antoine Manseau in Joliette.
Ste Adele Elementary.
Ste Agathe Academy.
Académie chrétienne Rive-Nord in Laval.
Le Collège Champagneur in Rawdon.
Éco-lita Trilingue school.
Collège Esther Blondin in St-Jacques.
Faith Christian Academy.
International School in Greenfield Park.
Joliette High School.
Kahnawake Survival School.
Kuper Academy in Kirkland.
Morin Heights Elementary.
École Les Mélèzes in Joliette.
Mountain View High School.
Académie des pompiers in Mirabel.
Peter Hall School (both campuses).
Ratihente high school in Kanehsatake.