Wednesday, 7 January 2015

Extreme cold invades Montreal, southern Quebec & Ontario

The big clean up continues from the weekend storm in Montreal but with lots of complaints. The city and blue collar workers continue to blame each other for the poor ice clearing on Sunday and Monday. (ValleyWX)
EXTREME COLD WARNING: Extended to metro Montreal as of 8pm.

The coldest air of the season is set to invade southern Quebec and Ontario today behind an arctic cold front this morning. Overnight lake enhanced moisture put down about 5cm (2 inches) of fluffy snow here on L'Ile Perrot, enough to cover up Sunday's ice and make driving treacherous. The Tuesday night commute was much the same in Montreal with ice and narrow lanes due to snowbanks making for a long drive home. The ice and lack of salt has resulted in four times the normal amount of visits to Montreal and area emergency rooms for falls and fractures. In addition there has been a spike in car accidents and calls to 911 for EMS and fire services.

The snow today will taper off by noon with perhaps another couple of centimetres in the most persistent squalls along the cold front. Temperatures are currently at -9C (16F) in Montreal but you do not have to go much further west to find evidence of the advancing cold air and increasing winds. Ottawa is already down to -16C (3F) with a 57km/h wind and a windchill reading of -29C (-20F). We have reached our high temperatures for today in Montreal with the mercury expected to tumble the rest of the day down to -25C (-13F) tonight. We may challenge the coldest temperature of the last two years here on L'Ile Perrot which was -27.3 (-17F), Januray 2, 2014. Winds will increase out of the northwest at 30-50km/h with windchill values in the minus 30's tonight. An extreme cold warning is in effect for most of Ontario and Quebec but excludes metro Montreal. Again we are splitting hairs with the warning criteria, bottom line is it will be dangerously cold today through Thursday. The high Thursday will eventually be around -13C by late in the day. Slightly milder air by Friday up to -10C but with more light snow.

The cold air rushing across the Great Lakes is producing major snow squalls in Ontario off Lake Huron as well as New York off Lakes Erie and Ontario. Highway 402 through London to Sarnia will be a focal point today for heavy snow, strong winds and dangerous cold. The same applies to portions of Interstate 81 from the Thousand Islands to Syracuse.

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