Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Wind and snow create chaos on Quebec - Ontario roads

Blowing snow reducing visibility in St Laurent yesterday afternoon. (ValleyWX)
Yesterday was a day to forget on Quebec and Ontario roads. At one point in the afternoon just about every major route out of Montreal was either blocked or completely closed by accidents. Nearly 200 were reported in the region, many serious including multiple vehicles north and south of the city. Three fatalities were reported, 2 near Quebec City and one near my home just west of Montreal on Highway 30 in Vaudreuil/Dorion. An Alberta Clipper with a little more energy than expected put down about 5-10cm (2-4 inches) of snow during the morning commute. That in itself created very poor driving with numerous delays and small incidents. The big wrecks followed along a trailing arctic front that plowed across the city around 11am, picking up the fresh powdery snow and creating a blinding blizzard. Those conditions lasted for several hours with winds reaching 80km/h in Montreal, stronger south of the city.

One of hundreds of accidents on Quebec and Ontario roads on Monday. This one involved 40 cars near Ste Adele with many injuries. (CTV)
I feel bad, it was a miss on my part. I did not expect the front to be so potent. Neither did Environment Canada, because the blowing snow warning was issued after the event started and worth many already trapped on dangerous roads. In any event it has been an energy draining month with relentless wind and cold, long commutes and lots of accidents. Thankfully very little snow, only 15cm so far this month at Dorval. But as we have seen it does not take much to create chaos.

A winter storm is forecast to spread snow and ice across the normally warm states of Florida and Mississippi today with as much as 1-3 inches forecast. The storm will then impact Georgia and Carolinas with snow and freezing rain. Winter Storm and Ice Warnings stretch from the Florida Panhandle to the Outer Banks and Virginia. This will be a high impact event affecting regions that are unable to deal with the snow and cold. If this keeps up the Groundhog will need security!

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