A major snowstorm forecast since last Monday is expected to begin in time for Montreal’s Wednesday afternoon rush hour.
However, the real test for motorists and other travellers will likely be felt Thursday morning, as an overnight snowfall accumulation of anywhere from 15 to 25 centimetres makes itself felt. The weather system stretches from Toronto to the Maritimes.
A snowfall warning issued by Environment Canada for the Montreal area also warns of moderate winds that can result in blowing snow, making driving conditions hazardous. It could disrupt arrivals and departures at Trudeau airport.
The system could result in “quickly changing and deteriorating travel conditions. Visibility may be suddenly reduced at times in heavy snow. There may be a significant impact on rush-hour traffic in urban areas,” according to the bulletin. Air travellers departing in the next 24 hours are advised to check their flight status before heading to the airport.
Total accumulations of snow between Montreal and the Gaspé could reach 30 cm in some areas as the weather system rolls along the St. Lawrence Valley. Similar conditions are expected for the Eastern Townships, the Laurentians and the Beauce region.
In the Outaouais area, the snowfall is expected to be less intense, ranging from 15-20 cm.
In the Gaspé and Côte-Nord regions, the snow may change to rain beginning on Thursday afternoon with the risk of freezing rain during the transition. Storm surges are possible during high-tide periods Thursday night and Friday morning in certain sectors of the Gaspé and Basse-Côte-Nord.
Most sectors of central and northern New Brunswick will see the snow change to rain on Thursday afternoon. Farther south, about 20 millimetres of rain are forecast for the Moncton area. Rain is expected in Nova Scotia, and the Cape Breton area could be swept by southerly wind gusts of up to 100 km/h.
Environment Canada is forecasting a snowfall of 15 cm in southwest Ontario in the Windsor and Niagara areas, while 20 cm of accumulation is expected in Toronto metropolitan region and in Kingston.
Blizzard proof! A spadeful of tips for safe snow shovelling
Keep this: Your guide to surviving a Montreal winter
Montreal winter-driving guide: How to avoid sliding, sliding … bang!