Montreal and all of southern Quebec can expect up to 30 centimetres of snow over the next 24 hours as a severe winter storm blows through the province.

Environment Canada has winter storm warnings in effect across southern Quebec, and there are blowing snow warnings in a number of regions.

The winter storm warning for Montreal was lifted by late morning.

Multi-vehicle collisions force Highway 40 closure

Five separate multi-car accidents involving a total of 18 cars forced police to close a westbound stretch of Highway 40 near St-Jean-Baptiste Boulevard in Rivière-des-Prairies–Pointe-aux-Trembles, in Montreal's east end. Nine people were treated for minor injuries.

Transports Québec spokesman Bruno Lacombe said that road conditions across the province are expected to get worse as the day progresses.

Updates on road conditions are available at Transports Québec's website.

Earlier today, Lacombe reported zero visibility, ice and drifting snow on Highway 40 east of Trois-Rivières. Zero visibility conditions were also affecting the region east of Sherbrooke, he said.  

Intensifying northeasterly winds over the course of the day will further reduce visibility on roads across the province, Lacombe said.  

Avoid driving if you can. If you have to drive, give yourself plenty of time to reach your destination.

Flights arriving and departing from Montreal’s Pierre Elliott Trudeau Airport are experiencing delays, and a number have been cancelled.

Travellers can get more information on flight arrivals and departures here.

Snow-clearing bill could hit $20M

City of Montreal officials estimate that the cost of snow removal in Montreal alone could surpass $20-million, which is the average cost of cleaning up a 15-centimetre snowfall. 

Snow-clearing equipment was out in force overnight, but Montreal executive committee vice-chairwoman Anie Samson, who is responsible for citizens' services, said the immediate task was simply to keep major roads clear.  Samson said snow-clearing operations cannot get underway until the snow stops falling.

The clean-up could take four or more days to complete.