Wednesday, 14 January 2015

Arctic chill creates icy roads & large demand for hydro

Snow everyday this month along with the recent cold has left large piles of snow around the city. (ValleyWX)
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. One fire overnight in N.D.G. left 20 homeless as a two storey duplex was destroyed. The cold made it difficult work for Montreal firefighters. 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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