Treacherous conditions across southern Quebec after freezing rain, snow
Quebec provincial police say 100 cars in Quebec went off the roads due to slippery conditions
Freezing rain on Tuesday morphed into a snowstorm by afternoon, and the treacherous conditions caused about 100 cars to go off the roads, according to provincial police.
They say there were no major injuries.
In Montreal, residents struggled, slip-sliding on icy streets and floundering through deep snow.
Pascale Villeneuve, on her way to work in downtown Montreal, said the weather conditions had her feeling like a certain Montreal icon.
"I feel exactly like Maurice Richard, like a hockey player. Today, you better have your skates," she said.
That image was evoked more than once in relation to the conditions Tuesday morning.
Duncan Barrow, also on his way to work downtown, said he thought there could be more salt, especially on the sidewalks.
It was slow and careful commute from the Plateau–Mont-Royal for Barrow, who is originally from England.
"Everywhere's like an ice rink," he said.
By rush hour, conditions had improved significantly, with just two to four more centimetres of snow expected overnight.
School board criticized for staying open
The English Montreal School Board received backlash from parents today because of its decision to stay open despite the bad weather.
EMSB spokesman Michael Cohen told CBC that the decision to stay open was co-ordinated with other Montreal island school boards.
He said they follow the advice of their bus company, Transco, when it comes to whether it will be safe enough to drive on the roads.
"We are cautious," Cohen said. "All students got to school safely"
Complaints over de-icing
In the borough of Côte-des-Neiges-Notre-Dame-de-Grâce there were complaints that the city's plan to deal with an ice storm wasn't adequate.
Borough mayor of Côte-des-Neiges-Notre-Dame-de-Grâce, Russell Copeman, said more freezing rain fell than was expected which complicated removal operations.
"To be perfectly blunt, if people expect on a morning such as this, at seven o'clock in the morning when the freezing rain is falling, to be walking on completely bare pavement and completely bare sidewalks, the likelihood of that is small," Copeman said.
'Worst case scenario'
Environment Canada meteorologist Robert Michaud said the freezing rain moved faster and further north than climatologists had predicted.
He said between five and 10 millimetres of freezing rain fell this morning. The issue, he pointed out, is that Montreal hasn't had much precipitation in the last few days and so the freezing rain fell onto bare streets and sidewalks.
"That's the worst case scenario," he said.
City of Montreal spokesman Jacques-Alain Lavallée said while the freezing rain was unexpected, city crews did adjust to the weather conditions over the course of the morning.
The city's priority is making sure the main arteries are salted and covered in abrasives in these conditions, Lavallée explained.
The intersecting streets are done next, but the boroughs decide which ones are tackled first.
Lavallée said city protocol is to send crews out as soon as the precipitation begins.
"That being said, is there room for improvements to the system? When this is over, we'll review and make the necessary changes," he said.
In the Montreal area, the freezing rain turned to snow by late morning.
The snow and high winds caused their own set of issues in the afternoon, making roads greasy and diminishing visibility.
Bad bunchup on Cote-des-neiges above Cedar. Busses struggling. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/storm?src=hash">#storm</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/weather?src=hash">#weather</a> <a href="https://t.co/4m5zb18Kfq">pic.twitter.com/4m5zb18Kfq</a>—@simon_nak
Stay home, authorities urged
Urgences Santé urged people who didn't have to venture out, especially those on foot, to stay home.
Montreal police Const. Daniel Lacoursière also advised residents to tread carefully.
"It's very, very slippery," he said.
Montreal police asked motorists who get into accidents without injuries to avoid calling them, to take down the particulars of the motorists involved and fill out accident reports on their own.
The morning rush-hour commute was difficult across the greater Montreal region. Multiple collisions were reported on highways in Montreal, the South Shore and Laval.
Near the Ontario border, icy roads were blamed for a multi-vehicle pileup on Highway 20. No one was seriously hurt.
Highway 40 westbound was also closed at Cavendish Boulevard due to another multi-car collision.
Much of Quebec, from the U.S. border all the way up to the Gaspé, was under either a snowfall or winter storm warning today.
CBC Montreal wants your great photos of the city. The best pictures of the day will be used on CBC Montreal News at 6 p.m. and on our website.
with files from Lauren McCallum, Radio-Canada's François Cormier and Radio Noon