A “major” winter storm system headed toward southern Quebec at the end of the week, prompting warnings for drivers on the busiest travel weekend of the year.
Climatologists have called the storm headed for Ontario and Quebec just before the holiday weekend a “weather bomb” Due to the rapid decrease in pressure in the weather system.
Environment Canada has issued weather watches and warnings extending from Ontario to Atlantic Canada. A special weather statement is in effect for southern Quebec, including Montreal, Laval, Longueuil and the Châteauguay-la-Prairie area.
The weather agency described the storm as a mixed bag of weather expected to bring heavy snow, rain and freezing rain, as well as a “pretty sharp drop in temperature”.
Here’s how the storm will affect the region.
According to Environment Canada, the storm starting Thursday night will begin with “particularly heavy” snowfall as temperatures hover around the freezing mark.
“This weight, added to the snow already on the ground, combined with the strong winds expected, could damage some structures or tree limbs. Localized power outages could occur,” Environment Canada said.
Areas north of the St. Lawrence River can expect 15 to 30 centimeters of snow Thursday night into Friday. Montreal could see up to 10 centimeters of snow, which could bring down trees and cause power outages.
Hydro-Québec said its crews would monitor the storm. In a tweet, it shared a link with tips for people to prepare in case of power outages.
Thursday’s high will be -1 Celsius, which will remain the same through the evening.
Snow will transition to rain by Friday morning, with “significant” precipitation in several areas, Environment Canada said. There is also a risk of freezing rain during the transition from snow to rain on Friday.
In Quebec City, Environment Canada is warning of possible snow later in the day.
In Montreal, it will be windy with a forecast high of 6 degrees Celsius, with rain expected to continue into the afternoon.
Temperatures are expected to drop by evening, turning the rain back to snow, with isolated pockets of freezing rain likely during the transition.
Gusts near 70 km/h will cause snow and reduced visibility.
“Plan your travel and allow extra time to reach your destination this holiday weekend as hazardous driving conditions are expected,” Environment Canada said in a weather bulletin.
By Saturday, parts of southern Quebec could see snow as cold air sweeps over the Great Lakes.
Thunderstorms are forecast in windy conditions with highs of -4C. There is a 40 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms by evening, with a low of -7 C.
A high of -4 Celsius under cloudy skies for Christmas.
Strong winds and snow will continue over the Christmas weekend.