Montreal

Incoming: snow, freezing rain, and then rain are heading for southern Quebec

The precipitation will start falling early Sunday. The freezing rain will eventually turn to rain as temperatures warm up. But in the places where snow is in the forecast, there will be no reprieve until Monday.

McGill University PhD candidate says mixed precipitation in the winter may become more common

Get ready to experience some more of this in Montreal, starting tomorrow. (Simon-Marc Charron/Radio-Canada)

Hope you're not fed up with the winter weather yet, because there is more on the way.

Southern Quebec is under a series of weather warnings, and what the incoming system will bring you depends on where you live.

For Montreal and the Eastern Townships, freezing rain is on tap. For Quebec City, up to 30 centimetres of snow and strong winds are expected.

The precipitation will start falling early Sunday. As temperatures warm up, the freezing rain will eventually turn to rain. But in the places where snow is in the forecast, there will be no reprieve until Monday.

Now, take a guess as to what will happen after we get all that rain and snow. If you guessed deep freeze, you have been paying attention — by Monday night, the temperature will drop to –16 C in Montreal and –18 C in Quebec City.

A McGill University PhD candidate in atmospheric science says winters like this may become more common.

"The increase in this sort of mixed precipitation, it is consistent with climate change, and we might expect it more in the future," said Christopher McCray.

He said from the 1940s to the 1970s, Montreal saw an average of 70 millimetres of rain from December through February.

In the last 20 years, that average jumped to 100 millimetres. This year, we're at 140 millimetres.

Warmer temperatures mean that precipitation that fell as snow 40 years ago is now  falling as rain, he explained.

More calls for falls this year, says Urgences-santé

Nathan Gagné broke a bone for the first time in his life last month. He was working, making a delivery in NDG on a day where the ice on the sidewalks was hidden by a thin layer of snow.

"I slipped on the ice, and my leg just buckled, and that was it. Heard the bone snap, and I knew it wasn't good," he said.

Gagné broke his leg and is on crutches. He only expects to be back at work by late March or early April.

Nathan Gagné said he believes the city can do better when it comes to keeping sidewalks free of ice. (Matt D'Amours/CBC)

The constant cycle of snow, rain, and deep freeze has created some seriously slippery conditions, and the lack of traction has led to a jump in calls for emergency assistance.

This year, between Jan. 1 and Feb. 20, Urgences-santé received 710 calls for spills on the ice. From 2016 to 2018, the average number of calls they received in the same period was 438.

"We've had some pretty rough days in terms of snow storms or ice storms, which definitely had a big strain on our resources," said Urgences-santé spokesperson Eddy Afram.

With files from CBC's Matt D'Amours

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