Several pileups on Quebec highways after winter storm slams the province
Environment Canada suggests postponing all non-essential travel until conditions improve
Schools were closed, many flights were cancelled and authorities advised people to stay off the roads if possible as a snow storm slammed southern Quebec — still there were several pileups across the province.
Environment Canada estimated up to 50 centimetres of snow could fall in some areas. Montreal received 30 centimetres by 4 p.m., with five to 10 more expected overnight.
In addition, strong winds of up to 60 kilometres an hour will continue to blow snow overnight, affecting visibility on the roads, the weather agency said.
Environment Canada suggested postponing all non-essential travel until conditions improve, while Montreal police advised drivers to "be careful and patient on the road."
Highways 20 and 132 between Quebec City and Montmagny are closed because of poor visibility and snow accumulation.
A handful of other smaller roads around Quebec City were also closed.
Quebec Minister of Transport François Bonnardel tweeted that there were more than 1,250 collisions reported to Transports Québec as of 7 p.m.
"I would like to thank the teams of [Transports Québec] and others who work with dedication in difficult conditions," he said. "We are grateful!"
Provincial police says there were at least six pileups on Quebec highways. Three of those involved about 20 cars and heavy trucks. Highways 40, 73 and 20 were closed due to the multi-car collisions.
The pileup on Highway 73 northbound near Sainte-Hélène-de-Breakeyville, just south of Quebec City, left one person in critical condition.
A pileup on Highway 20 west near Saint-Hyacinthe involved about 70 vehicles at around 4 p.m. The highway is still closed as of 7:30 p.m. while rescue workers clear the scene. The people involved were all transported to a local community centre. There were three non-life-threatening injuries.
Several flights departing and arriving at Montreal's Trudeau airport were also delayed or cancelled.
School boards in Montreal, Laval, the Eastern Townships, Sherbrooke, the Gaspé and the Quebec City region all declared a snow day.
Some CEGEPs in the region were also closed for the day, but most universities remained open.