Saturday, 21 February 2015

24 hour break from the cold for Montreal

Frozen in time...Belgrave Avenue in NDG on Friday morning. (Global News Photo)
The winds have finally calmed this morning after almost 48 hours of 50 to 60km/h gusts across southern Quebec. The constant blowing and drifting snow made road travel terrible especially off island to the south. At one point yesterday several highways including Quebec Autoroute 15 to the US border were closed because of the weather. Blowing snow reduced visibility and iced roads in the extreme cold. Numerous accidents were reported. The cold has been relentless this month and Friday was no different in Montreal. Despite the eventual sunshine, temperatures only warmed to -16C. That is the current temperature this morning. 

Clouds have increased again over southern Quebec this morning in advance of low pressure moving from the Ohio Valley down the St. Lawrence Valley. Light snow will start early today and taper off by Sunday morning. A general 5-10cm (2-4 inches) is forecast across southern Quebec and Ontario with perhaps 15-20cm (6-8 inches) along the US border and points south into the Greens and Adirondacks. Temperatures will warm all day today, tonight and Sunday up to a sultry -2C (28F). It may even rise above freezing in a few spots Sunday, which would be the first time that has happened in over 6 weeks. It will be short lived as winds will increase again late Sunday and temperatures will plummet down to -20C (-4F) in Montreal by Monday morning. Clouds and flurries are likely along an arctic front that will clear the region by Monday morning. The high on Monday will only be -17C (2F) with gusty winds and low windchill values. The gusty 50km/h winds will also blow around the fresh snow once again making travel poor on highways outside the city.

The prolonged frigid weather has created a mess with multiple water main breaks in Montreal. There have been several major breaks across the island that have flooded basements and trapped cars in mounds of ice. Yesterday was no different with a break on Belgrave Avenue in NDG not only flooding roads, but also the AMT commuter rail line, delaying service for the third time this week. The delay in train service left thousands of commuters freezing on windy platforms on three lines. Earlier in the week, frozen switches delayed train service for over an hour Thursday night.
No major relief is in sight yet with more cold weather all this week.

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