Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Minus 20's as arctic chill continues in Montreal

An eerie scene in N.D.G. this morning as fire cut through a duplex overnight. 20 people were left homeless and firefighters had to struggle in -25C weather to contain the blaze. (Montreal Gazette Photo)
Strong high pressure located over southern Quebec brought clear skies and arctic temperatures overnight across the region. The low here at my home on L'Ile Perrot was -26.3C (-15F) for the second coldest night this winter. The extreme cold over the last 24 hours has done exactly what you would expect it to do, with a rash of accidents on icy bridges and overpasses as well as a few major fires. There have also been numerous water main breaks that have made a mess as water gushes out and then freezes solid. The cold also put a strain on Hydro Quebec's supply of electricity, forcing the utility to load share on Tuesday morning. This is a process of cutting power for short periods of time to various customers to save the entire system from overload. Nearly 300,000 homes were affected in the province, mostly here in the south, with the power out from 15 minutes to as much as a few hours on Tuesday morning. So far this morning everything seems fine as far as electricity is concerned.

Ice fog this morning has prompted a special weather statement from Environment Canada indicating that black ice has formed on area bridges and elevated roadways in metro Montreal. This problem should clear by mid-morning as temperatures very slowly warm today under sunshine to -13C (9F). It will be cold again tonight under clear skies, dropping to -20C (-4F). Another cold front will approach Ontario and Quebec late Thursday into Friday with perhaps a few snow showers. It will be relatively mild Thursday up to -10C (14F) and -7C (19F) Friday, but winds will increase making it feel cold and damp outdoors. Saturday looks cold once again before a very mild Sunday but with a chance of snow.

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