Tuesday, December 06, 2016

Montreal weather video of Monday commute goes viral

Above and below: Beaver Hall Hill at Viger Avenue was the scene of a slow-rolling pile-up on Monday. A video capturing the event has gone viral, with millions of views. (Video by Willem Shepherd)
A video featuring Montreal's finest, along with a couple of transit buses, cars and even a City of Montreal salt truck, has gone viral. The video, shot by Willem Shepherd, was taken overlooking Beaver Hall Hill near the corner of Viger and has been viewed over 15 million times in less than 24 hours. I follow numerous weather sites and major networks, and it appears to have been featured on all of them. No serious injuries were reported, but I am sure several egos were bruised.

The pile-up was part of a nasty, Monday-morning rush-hour across southern Quebec and northern New England. A respectable 5 to 10 cm of snow fell over the course of Monday.  However, it was not the amount that caused the problem, but the timing. The air temperature was rather chilly overnight in the region.  As the snow started falling, it initially melted on contact with the slightly warmer pavement and refroze immediately, creating widespread black ice. The hills in the city quickly became polished skating rinks during the height of the morning commute. Numerous accidents were also reported in other parts of Quebec, as well as Ontario and northern New York and Vermont.

More snow is forecast for the Wednesday-morning commute, as another weak warm front approaches the city. Less accumulation is forecast this time, with perhaps 2 or 3 cm for the city. The light snow will mix with rain in both Ottawa and Montreal on Wednesday. Temperatures will be mild through Thursday, before an arctic front approaches southern Quebec. Expect highs above freezing Wednesday, but dropping by Friday night to -11C (12F). While the air will turn much colder, it will not be the frigid conditions forecast over much of western Canada. Blizzard conditions are occurring in southern Manitoba, with dangerous windchill values in the minus 20s in Alberta and Saskatchewan.

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