Winter’s (hopefully) last gasp is upon Montreal and other regions of Quebec as a storm system from the United States moves into the area, bringing with it between 10 and 25 centimetres of snow and gusting winds.
“It will really intensify,” said Bruno Marquis, a meteorologist with Environment Canada.
Environment Canada has issued winter storm warnings for the entire southern portion of the province on both sides of the St. Lawrence River.
Marquis said the snowstorm will continue throughout the night, adding that northeasterly winds will shift gears from 40 to 60 kilometres an hour.
The blowing snow will create tough road conditions for motorists.
“Road conditions will really deteriorate,” Marquis said.
CBC Montreal's weather specialist Frank Cavallaro said regions closer to the St. Lawrence River, such as the Eastern Townships, would get between 15 and 25 centimetres of snow.
Quebec City is expected to receive between 10 and 20 centimetres of snow.
A total of 25 to 50 centimetres of snow is expected along the Appalachians and the eastern part of the Lower North Shore. Strong winds will create blowing snow, reducing visibility.
Use public transit: city officials
As of 8 p.m., the Montreal area had received about 11 centimetres of snow.
City of Montreal officials say snow-clearing operations on the city’s streets and sidewalks began as soon as 2.5 centimetres of snow fell.
“Snow-clearing will be done across all boroughs with an army of 1,000 workers – and as many machines – to brave the storm,” said Anie Samson, who is responsible for public security and services to citizens.
Once the snow stops falling, workers will start removing it.
Samson urged Montrealers to use public transportation in the coming days to help snow-removal operations run more smoothly.
For those expecting to catch flights, there are many cancellations at Trudeau International Airport for flights connecting through Toronto, Saint John, and flights to and from the northeastern United States – including New York, Philadelphia, Chicago and Cleveland.
Montreal's transit authority (STM) warned wheelchair users to expect difficulties today boarding buses.
Temperatures are also dropping. For Sunday's St. Patrick's Day parade, the expected daytime high is -5 C — about five degrees below average for this time of year.
Marquis said March storms are really not all that unusual, and Quebecers should expect them until around the third week of the month.