Montreal digging out from 25cm storm
20 centimetres so far; another 5 plus high winds expected Tuesday
This story has been updated.
MONTREAL – More than a 1,000 workers were out on Montreal streets Tuesday clearing snow from a storm that dumped 20 centimetres of the white stuff on the region and was expected to add another 5 centimetres during the day with high winds blowing snow and making the clean-up more complicated.
Traffic was moving at a crawl on some highways and roadways in the Montreal region Tuesday morning.
High winds and blowing snow were keeping visibility low on highways, according to Transport Quebec spokesperson Denis Arsenault. Highways 20 and 40 in from the West Island, as well as highways 30 and 15 on the South Shore, were snow-covered and visibility was not very good in many places, he said.
For updated information about road conditions on Montreal Island, click on tohttp://www.quebec511.gouv.qc.ca/en/etat_reseau/data/region/Region13.htm
For updated information about road conditions in other regions, click on tohttp://www.quebec511.gouv.qc.ca/en/etat_reseau.
School closings: Queen of Angels Academy in Dorval was closed for the day on Tuesday due to the terrible driving conditions.
To check other schools' websites, CLICK HERE.
Road accidents: Sûreté du Québec Sgt. Claude Denis said there have been dozens of fender-benders in the Montreal area since Monday afternoon, and more than 100 throughout Quebec. A 5-year-old boy was in very serious condition and had to be transferred to Ste. Justine's Hospital for treatment following an accident in which he fell out of the cabin of a snowplough driven by his father in St. Hyacinthe, 45 kilometres southeast of Montreal, about 9:15 p.m., Denis said. The boy fell under the tractor, he said.
And the storm claimed one life – that of a 32-year-old man crushed in a vehicle rollover near St. Hyacinthe.
The man was declared dead shortly after 4:30 p.m., as Montreal Island drivers and transit users were fighting chaotic driving conditions and massive rush-hour traffic bottlenecks.
The driver of a van carrying 11 passengers lost control along Highway 20 westbound and the vehicle rolled over, said SQ Sgt. Christine Coulombe.
The man, who was a passenger, was ejected from the van and crushed, she added.
The other 11 aboard, including the driver, all adults, sustained much more minor injuries.
Asked whether excessive speed in very poor road conditions, amid high winds, was a factor, Coulombe replied that an SQ investigation continues.
The storm – forecast Monday afternoon to deposit four centimetres of snow – packed a higher-than-expected punch.
Snow clearing operations in Montreal started Monday afternoon with salt spreading and 1,000 employees - half of them city blue collar workers and half of them private contractors - out clearing the streets and sidewalks all night long and working into Tuesday. "We won't stop until it's all done," Yves Girard, the city of Montreal's chief of snow clearing operations, said. "We have replacement crews that will take over and we'll just keep working."
Blowing snow was making the clean-up operation more complicated and it was hard to say when snow removal operations would begin, he said. A decision on that will be made later on Tuesday.
Environment Canada meteorologist René Héroux said a total of 20 centimetres of snow has fallen since the start of the storm Monday. Another five were expected to fall during the day on Tuesday,
The forecast also indicates strong winds of 40 km/h that will gust to 60 km/h. A high of minus 3C was called for on Tuesday.
Héroux said the forecast on Monday was off the mark because the storm system was "unusual" as it originated east of southern Quebec. "Usually weather comes from west to east," he said. "This time it was raining in the Gaspe and snowing in Montreal. That's quite unusual." Bands of storm cells moved across the region, with some areas receiving snow and others not, or a lot less.
Monday afternoon and evening, driving time over the bridges to the South Shore from downtown during the rush hour stretched to more than an hour, with traffic slowing to a crawl.
At 7 p.m., buses were running 30 to 90 minutes behind schedule, Marianne Rouette of the Société de transport de Montréal said.
About a dozen of the 1,360 buses deployed to handle the rush hour were involved in minor accidents.
By 10 p.m. delays still ranged from 30 to 40 minutes, “depending on the route,” she added.
Conditions also proved frustrating for rail commuters, as delays exceeded an hour on the Hudson-Vaudreuil line, for example.
That left a rush-hour crowd of more than 1,000 people milling in and around Lucien L’Allier station, waiting for service.
Amid reports of multiple fender-benders, Montreal police Constable Yannick Paradis said he had no reports of any Montreal Island accidents involving significant injuries.
How long did it take you to get into work Tuesday morning, and home from work Monday night? Do you think the Dec 15 deadline for winter tires should be changed? Do you have any photos of today's stormy weather you would like to share? If so, please send them to email@example.com or simply CLICK HERE