Friday, January 09, 2015

Frigid air creates dangerous travel across Ontario & Quebec

The cleanup from the weekend storm continues in Montreal, despite the brutal cold, and the new snow falling. (Twitter Photo)
It has certainly been a difficult week for anyone driving or walking around Montreal as well southern Quebec and Ontario. Frigid air that surged into the region after the ice storm on Sunday bottomed out yesterday with an early morning low of -28.2C (-19F) here on L'Ile Perrot. That represents the coldest reading I have had since I moved here in 2009. It surpassed the previous low of -27.3C (-17F) set last January 2, but fell short of the record low for the date of -31.2C set in 1968. Along with the cold came a rash of problems on area highways created by black ice as well as ice fog, but mostly from drivers inability to slow down in bad weather. I saw at least 4 separate accidents on my travels, but that was just a small fraction of the problems reported during the two rush hour periods.

The good news is it is about 20 degrees warmer this morning in Montreal, at -9C (16F) than 24 hours ago. The bad news is snow is falling again. It is very light, at least in Montreal, ahead of another arctic front. That front will move through the St. Lawrence Valley this morning with gusty west winds up to 50km/h and some steady snow. Expect around 2-4cm in Montreal with much more, perhaps 10-15cm along the 401 towards Kingston. Blowing snow will also be a problem through the noon hour as winds increase. Temperatures are pretty much as warm as they are going to get today. Tonight will be partly cloudy and cold with lows around -16C (3F). On Saturday expect partly sunny skies, breezy and chilly with a high of -12C (10F). Another weak area of low pressure and cold front will affect Montreal on Sunday with flurries and a mild high of -5C (23F) before the frontal passage.

The big weather story the next 48 hours will be intense snow squalls over the Great Lakes. Portions of Ontario and western New York around Buffalo and Watertown could see 1-3 feet of wind driven snow over the next 36 hours. Needless to say travel in these areas, including portions of Interstates 81 and 90, will be nearly impossible. The squalls have reached down the St. Lawrence Valley this morning affecting the 401 corridor as far east as Cornwall.

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