Whiteout conditions plague Quebec, 50-car pileup ensues
Wednesday, March 15, 2017, 8:12 PM - At least four people have died in a powerful winter storm in southern Quebec that sparked travel chaos this week.
CBC reports the dead include two men who were trapped overnight in their snow-covered vehicle in Saint-Pierre-de-la-Rivière-du-Sud. Extreme snowfall delayed police efforts to reach them until it was too late.
Another man died after being struck by a snow plow in Saint-Anselme, and a truck driver died in a multi-vehicle crash near Saint-Zotique, according to the broadcaster.
That was one of numerous collisions on Quebec highways, including a 50-car pile-up near Magog Tuesday that shut down westbound lanes of Highway 10 and sent four people to hospital.
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The chaos continued into Wednesday morning. According to the Société de transport de Montréal (STM), 200 buses were stuck across the city, with about 100 drivers unable to make it to work.
Several flights at Trudeau airport have been cancelled and all public schools are closed in Montreal.
Snowfall warnings remained in effect for the Eastern Townships and areas further east, including Quebec City and Gaspesie, though they had dropped for areas further west, including Montreal.
"Over Central Quebec, an additionnal 5 to 10 centimetres of snow is expected," Environment Canada says. "In the east, the snow will be mixed with rain or freezing drizzle in some localities this evening, but an additional 10 to 20 centimetres of snow is expected tonight and Thursday."
By Wednesday morning, Drummondville had picked up the most snow with an astonishing 70 cm recorded.
The system also was accompanied by strong winds, exceeding 100 km/h for areas east of Quebec City near the St. Lawrence.
Those winds sparked coastal flooding warnings, and many communities experienced severe, damaging flooding as a result of this system
"These winds are diminishing, but will still affect the high tide this evening to enhance the water levels," a storm surge warning for the capital read Wednesday evening.
Some of the heaviest snow has fallen right along the international border with New York and Vermont.
Popular ski resorts such as Sutton, Owl’s Head, Orford and Bromont have received upwards of 60 cm of snow, making it by far the heaviest 48-hour snowfall of the season.
As many families in Ontario are on March Break this week, this much fresh snow will likely draw in powder-seekers from the neighbouring province who are eager to hit the slopes.
Temperatures will be warming during this event – from daytime highs of minus 9oC on Tuesday to about minus 4oC on Thursday – but being sufficiently below 0oC the entire time, there is no risk for mixing or a changeover to ice pellets or freezing rain.
Be sure to check your local forecast for your most up-to-date forecast details.
See photos of the snowy system below:
Don't leave your house if you don't have to. My front door this morning. Literally, not figuratively snowed in pic.twitter.com/4qYMF8JNz3— Terry DiMonte (@TerryDiMonte) March 15, 2017