Icy temperatures lead to treacherous road conditions across Quebec after winter storm
Across the province, a number of roads and highways are closed or covered with snow
Road conditions remained treacherous across Quebec on Saturday following the powerful storm that struck earlier this week and which continues to cause havoc for drivers.
Quebec's Ministry of Transport is urging Montrealers to stay off the roads as much as possible. Thanks to glacial temperatures that set in following the storm, roads are icy, and abrasives — such as salt or sand — are less effective.
In addition, strong winds and blowing snow threaten to reduce visibility. A number of roads and highways are closed or are covered with snow, transport officials warned on Saturday.
Montreal drivers, in particular, should be on the lookout for black ice and blowing snow. "These are extremely unfavourable weather conditions," said Sarah Bensadoun, a spokesperson for the Transport Ministry.
"Obviously, if there is ice present we cannot guarantee the safety of people on the roads."
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Eastern Quebec, Gaspé hit especially hard
Environment Canada has issued extreme cold warnings for a section of southern and central Quebec, including the Montreal area, the Quebec City region, the Eastern Townships, the Laurentians and the Abitibi region.
"An arctic air mass combined with brisk winds are producing wind chill values from –38 C in southern Quebec and central Quebec, through to –45 C in areas further to the northwest of the province this morning," the weather agency said Saturday.
Though lows are expected to reach –40 C with wind chill on Saturday, weather conditions are expected to improve gradually in Montreal over the weekend. On Monday, Environment Canada is predicting a high of –2 C in the city.
While the storm has now passed southern Quebec, Saguenay, Matane and Sainte-Anne-des-Monts were still under winter storm advisories on Saturday morning. Eastern Quebec was among the areas hardest hit by Thursday's storm.
In Matane-sur-Mer, in the Gaspé region, roughly a dozen residences were evacuated due to storm surges that flooded a handful of homes.
On Friday, a person on a snowmobile went missing near Rimouski. The man was located but is in critical condition in hospital.
With files from Radio-Canada