A major winter storm hits Quebec and Ontario, causing multiple power outages, road closures, multi-vehicle collisions, and airport delays and cancellations.
Environment Canada has issued weather warnings for heavy snow, high winds and freezing rain for much of Ontario and Quebec.
“This is a very strong storm, the strongest in a long time,” explained Environment Canada meteorologist Simon Legault.
“We’ve seen everything that Americans have been through in the last few days” and “the same weather event that caused this is now having consequences for us,” the meteorologist said.
Hydro-Quebec reported nearly 340,000 of its customers were without power as of mid-afternoon. And the number continues to rise, with the most affected areas being Outais, Laurentians, Monterrey, Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean and the greater Capitale-National region.
Many roads were closed
Alexandre Vigneault, a spokesman for Transports Quebec, indicated earlier in the afternoon that roads in the Capital-Nationale and Abidip areas were particularly affected by the weather.
“If we look at the Abitibi page 117 in Vérendrye Park, it is covered with snow and visibility is reduced in many places, so there may be some problems. »
Routes 113 and 177 connecting Abidpy to Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean were closed Friday afternoon, as were routes 175 and 169 in the Laurentides Wildlife Reserve, and there was no visibility on Route 138 along the river near Quebec.
Transports Quebec recommends downloading the Quebec 511 application to keep up to date with current events on the road network.
Strong winds and possible flooding in Quebec
In the Quebec City area, coastal flooding is possible, with total snow accumulations “approaching 50 centimeters in mountainous terrain,” Environment Canada said.
By the end of the morning, Quebec City’s public safety noted that it had received “330 calls of the dangerous structural type” and “over a hundred calls of the electrical hazard type.”
Due to the high volume of 911 calls, Quebec City Public Safety urges citizens to call 911 only in emergencies and to use 311 for “non-emergency situations.”
The police department also wants to warn people that several traffic lights will be out of order in the area.
Quebec City has reminded people to properly attach car shelters due to the high number of “shelters lifted or moved” by the wind.
Icy roads in Montreal, snow on 450
“Temperatures are expected to drop rapidly” in the Montreal area in the coming hours, Environment Canada said.
Therefore, “surfaces such as roads, streets, sidewalks and parking lots may become icy and slippery. There may be significant impacts on traffic congestion in urban areas. »
According to Environment Canada, the Montérégie, Laurentides and Lanaudière regions already had 30 centimeters of snow by mid-season.
Transport Quebec reported a large number of off-road and broken-down vehicles on the metropolitan area’s highways on Friday.
In the east the coast is overflowing
In eastern Quebec, several sectors are subject to warnings of breaking waves and coastal surge.
For example, in the Kamouraska, Rivière-du-Loup and Trois-Pistoles area, coastal erosion is possible in hazardous areas.
In the Magdalen Islands, Environment Canada also notes the risk of coastal erosion and violent winds.
“We’re talking over 130km/h, so when it comes to the beach it’s going to create waves four, five, six meters high, a lot of erosion,” pointed out Simon Legault of the Environment Agency. Early afternoon in Canada.
Postal services were affected and schools were closed
Because of the weather, Canada Post has issued red and yellow service alerts for each province and territory, meaning “some operations may be unavailable in some areas and delayed in others.”
“Where we can deliver mail, we are asking people to clear the way to their homes by clearing snow and ice from their sidewalks, stairs and driveways,” it said.
Several school service centers in Quebec have announced the closure of elementary and secondary schools on Friday due to weather and safety concerns.
Montreal and Toronto’s international airports showed several delayed or canceled flights Friday morning, mainly to the western parts of the country, the eastern United States and sun destinations.
Late Thursday, WestJet announced early cancellations of flights at airports in Ontario, Quebec and British Columbia due to weather forecasts.
The airline says all flights scheduled to arrive and depart Toronto Pearson International Airport Friday at 9 a.m. EST through the end of the day will be canceled. Other airports affected by service disruptions include Ottawa, London, Montreal and Waterloo.
The storm is also hitting Ontario
According to the Ontario Provincial Police, up to 100 vehicles were involved in multiple collisions on Highway 401. Parts of this busy road in southwestern Ontario are closed. Highway 402 in the London area has been closed in several places due to a number of accidents.
As of 2:30 p.m., Hydro One, Ontario’s largest electric utility, said nearly 55,000 customers were without power. For its part, Hydro Ottawa, which supplies about 353,000 homes and businesses in the federal capital and Casselman, reported about 11,500 customers were without power as of 12 noon Friday. customers.
Freezing conditions may occur in parts of southern Ontario as temperatures drop following the rain, while high winds and blizzard conditions are forecast in some areas.
Several school boards, including Toronto, Ottawa and London, also closed schools for the day.
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