Ontario, Quebec Digs Out of Massive Snowstorm as Prairies Prepare for More Ice and Snow

Residents across parts of Ontario and Quebec are recovering from a winter wallop that could take days to clean up. After leaving drivers stranded and schools closed, both provinces are now digging their way out of the biggest winter storm of the season.

Snow removal crews are out in full force in Ottawa as they begin the process of clearing residential streets out from under a record amount of snow. By the end of the day on Monday, a total of 48 centimetres fell across the city.

With 13,000 kilometres of roadway to clear, officials say the cleanup will likely roll into Wednesday to include residential streets as well as sidewalks. A 24-hour winter parking ban is also now in effect.

Monday began with heavy snowfall for residents of Ottawa; starting at 8 a.m., about 12 centimetres of snow had fallen within the hour. By 5 p.m., Ottawa International Airport saw 47 centimetres of snow, according to Environment Canada, eclipsing the record snowfall of 11.7 centimetres set on the same day in 1972. The city of Toronto reported a similar amount of snow, with different neighbourhoods seeing anywhere from 40 to 48 centimetres.

Several regions across the southern part of the province were under a blizzard warning from Environment Canada on Monday due to high winds and poor visibility, including Toronto, York, Peel, Hamilton, Halton and Durham regions. Up to 55 centimetres of snow fell in certain parts of the province.

SITUATION CLEARING UP IN MONTREAL

Snow clearing operations began in many of Montreal’s boroughs during the day on Tuesday, with others expected to be plowed later this evening. The process is likely to continue throughout the week as crews look to clean up about 25 centimetres of snow that dropped throughout the city.

Priority for snow removal is being given to hospitals, public transit systems and major arteries in the city. About 2,200 trucks are involved in removing snow from 10,000 kilometres of roads, sidewalks and bike lanes across the city.

In the province of Quebec, several regions continue to be under extreme cold warnings, including Waskaganish, Parent-Gouin Reservoir, Matagami, Chibougamau and Abitibi. With the wind chill, temperatures felt as cold as -42.

SOME SCHOOLS REMAIN CLOSED

As a result of continued clean-up efforts, school buses have been cancelled at all major school boards in Ottawa on Tuesday. Schools themselves, however, remain open with classes still scheduled to resume through in-person learning.

In other parts of Ontario, several school boards said classes will go ahead remotely on Tuesday through online learning. These include the Dufferin-Peel Catholic District School Board, the Toronto Catholic District School Board and the York Region District School Board.

The Toronto District School Board, however, said that schools will remain closed to in-person learning and that students will not participate in live remote or virtual learning, either. The Durham District School Board cancelled all in-person classes.

Similar to Ontario, school boards in Quebec remained closed to in-person learning on Monday, with some schools offering online alternatives. Classes resumed on Tuesday.

Also feeling the storm’s effects were drivers across both provinces. In Quebec, westbound lanes of Highway 20 were closed for more than two hours after two separate pileups on Monday, according to Transports Québec’s road closures Twitter account, Québec 511.

Highway 30 westbound was also closed in Saint-Constant at Rang Regis, after a crash involving as many as 40 vehicles. The roads have since been cleared and reopened. Eight people involved in the collision were taken to the hospital.

PRAIRIES PREPARE FOR WINTER PUNCH

As one winter storm in Canada comes to a close, another is just beginning. Some parts of the Prairies that were already hit with freezing rain are now being hit with snow and plunging temperatures.

Winter storm and wind warnings were in place for much of Alberta on Monday, with parts of the province currently under extreme cold and snowfall warnings. Parts of southern Manitoba were expected to see heavy snowfall Monday evening into Tuesday, with many under either a snowfall or winter storm warning from Environment Canada. Blizzard and extreme cold warnings are being issued in parts of Saskatchewan as well.

Edmonton was already grappling with icy streets and sidewalks Monday, and the city’s police said they responded to 190 collisions between 6 a.m. and 6 p.m. RCMP in northern Alberta recommended late Monday that people stay off the highways after they said they’d responded to multiple collisions.

This post is also available in: Tiếng Việt

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