Winter storm pounds southern Quebec

A winter storm with heavy snowfall and high winds is hammering southern Quebec, creating dangerous conditions on streets and highways after a wet weekend that left four dead on the province's roads.

Sherbrooke goes into emergency mode as snow piles up

A Montreal city bus got stuck in the snow as a plow drives by at the corner of Sherbrooke Street and Oxford Street. ((CBC/Steve Rukavina))

A winter storm moving across Quebec on Monday closed roads, shut down schools and prompted at least one city to institute its emergency measures plan.

By day's end the storm had dumped between 15 and 70 centimetres of snow on the province, with Sherbrooke suffering the biggest snowfall.

A man in Sherbrooke clears snow on Monday morning. ((CBC))
On Monday morning, Sherbrooke put into action its emergency measures plan as snow continued to clog city streets, making travel difficult.

The city set up a command post to monitor the progress of snow-clearing crews and to make sure emergency vehicles could reach people in need of assistance.

"Since this morning, our police officers have been helping all kind of people — doctors to go to the hospital, people who are sick," said Sherbrooke police spokesman Martin Carrier.

A cyclist braves the snowy Montreal roads on Monday. ((CBC/Shawn Apel))
The city also shut down its bus service.

All schools and universities in the Sherbrooke area closed for the day.

Across the province, many school boards cancelled classes as well. However, the English Montreal School Board, the Lester B. Pearson School Board and the Commission Scolaire de Montréal said their schools would remain open.

1,000 snow-removal vehicles at work

After heavy weekend snowfalls in Montreal, another 15 centimetres of snow fell the city on Monday.

People in Montreal's Notre-Dame-de-Grâce neighbourhood struggled to get around on Monday morning. ((CBC/Steve Rukavina))
City engineer Michel Frenette said 1,000 snow plows, trucks and sidewalk-clearing machines were dispatched overnight. He said the snow-clearing operation was going well, while noting that high winds were causing some delays.

"This drifting snow doesn't help us," he said.

Frenette said people should avoid driving if they can.

"What we ask the population is to use the public transit. If you come in by car, be careful," said Frenette.

He expects it will take about five days to completely remove the snow from streets and sidewalks. He advised people to follow the parking restriction signs to help speed things along.

School closures:

Vanguard School (Montreal): Three campuses in Ville Saint-Laurent, Westmount and Laval closed

Riverside School Board (South Shore): All schools and centres closed

New Frontiers School Board (Châteauguay): All schools, adult centres and administrative offices closed and off-territory schools serviced by New Frontiers buses have no transportation

Marie-Victorin School Board (Longueuil): All schools and centres closed

Montreal Oral School for the Deaf: Closed for staff and students

École bilingue Notre-Dame de Sion (Ville St-Laurent): Private elementary school closed.

Eastern Townships School Board: All schools and daycares closed

Bishop's University (Eastern Townships): Classes cancelled but university building open

Commissions scolaires des Bois-Francs et Des Chênes (Mauricie): Schools closed, adult courses open, daycares open

Le Collège St-Bernard: Closed

Shiagawake/Port Daniels School: Closed

CEGEP Gaspésie / Les Iles: Closed

Gaspé Polyvalent: Closed

Gaspé Elementary: School closed including the daycare

Belle-Anse School: Closed

Wakeham Adult Education Centre: Closed

New Carlisle High School: Closed

Gaspé College: Gaspé campus closed

Commission Scolaire des Premières Seigneuries: Adult training centre closed

Professional training centre of Fierbourg and the Charlesbourg training centre: Closed

Plane skids off tarmac

The poor weather was creating flight delays at Montreal's Pierre Elliott Trudeau International Airport on Monday.

The snowy conditions also contributed to an Air Canada flight skidding off the tarmac. The plane was travelling at a very low speed at the time. No one was hurt.

An Air Canada spokesperson said the plane was headed back to the gate for maintenance when it skidded on some ice and one wheel slipped off the tarmac.

Passengers had to leave the plane so workers could tow it back to the gate.

Weekend accidents fatal

Over the weekend, another weather system brought rain across the province.

Quebec provincial police said icy roads were factors in four deaths on provincial highways.

Just before noon on Sunday, a 33-year-old man died after a car he was travelling in slid into a ditch filled with water on Highway 10 near Saint-Alphonse-de-Granby. Three other people in the vehicle were sent to hospital.

Also on Sunday, a 21-year-old man died after his car flipped and hit a semi-trailer on Highway 40 in Montreal's West Island. The accident happened near the Saint-Jean exit.

Fatal accidents also occurred in the Saguenay and Eastern Townships regions.