Freezing rain leads to school closures north of Montreal

Montreal's sidewalks and roads are a slippery and slushy mess after a combination of freezing rain followed by warm weather.

Roads, sidewalks are slippery this morning as freezing rain continues across southern Quebec

Environment Canada warns that snow mixed with freezing rain and ice pellets is also on the way this weekend. (Charles Contant/CBC)

Montreal's sidewalks and roads are a slippery and slushy mess after a combination of freezing rain followed by warm weather.

Environment Canada issued a freezing rain warning for a large portion of southern Quebec, including the Eastern Townships and Lanaudière regions. It is no longer in effect for Montreal.

The freezing rain is expected to last a few hours as a warm front moves across eastern and central Quebec.​

The Société de transport de Montréal (STM) advises public transit users to be careful while travelling.

The freezing rain also forced some school boards in regions north of Montreal to close for the day. The Sir Wilfrid Laurier School Board has cancelled classes for the day in Laval, the Lanaudière region and the Laurentians.

It's best for air travellers to check the status of their flights at Montreal's Trudeau airport and at Quebec City's airport, where there are some delays and cancellations.
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      Air Canada has issued a travel alert amid freezing rain warnings to allow customers to change their plans if necessary. The airline has also waived fees for travellers wishing to switch their flights. 

      The weather agency also issued a rainfall warning for areas such as Quebec City and the Mauricie regions, which could get up to 40 millimetres of rain by Friday.

      The heavy rain, combined with snow, could lead to tricky driving conditions. There is the possibility of flash foods and water pooling on the roads, according to Environment Canada.

      Localized flooding in low-lying areas is also possible.

      Snow, cold weather on the way

      After the rain, a shift back toward winter weather is in the forecast.

      Environment Canada issued a special weather statement for most of southern Quebec for this weekend, warning the rain will turn to snow starting as early as Friday.
      Montreal is expected to feel colder and see another round of heavy snow this weekend. (Graham Hughes/Canadian Press)

      While it will be a balmy 8 C in Montreal over the next two days, the cold will quickly set in again. There will be a high of –9 C this weekend.

      The cold front will bring significant snowfall throughout the day Saturday. It could be mixed with ice pellets or freezing rain.

      Montreal asks for patience

      In Montreal, snow-removal operations are still underway. They began last weekend, when the city saw about 20 centimetres of snow fall.

      As of Thursday morning, about 60 per cent of streets have been cleared.

      Philippe Sabourin, a spokesperson for the city, said that snow removal was slowed down this morning in order to allow crews to focus on putting abrasives on icy sidewalks.
      The City of Montreal says that all the major streets have been cleared of snow. Residential streets should be cleared by the weekend. (CBC)

      Most major arteries have been cleared and the city is now tackling residential streets.

      Many Montrealers have expressed frustration with the service, but Sabourin said employees are working hard to clear all the roads.

      "We're asking people to be patient because we're coming," he said. "We're there."

      With files from CBC's Jay Turnbull