(james benedict brown) on the road

The first winter storm…

Posted in Posts by James Benedict Brown on 16 December, 2005

From the news service of the CBC… (edited: click the link for original)

Snowfall nears Montreal record as Ottawa digs out
Last Updated Fri, 16 Dec 2005 21:52:27 EST

Montrealers may see their biggest snowfall ever, during a winter storm that has caused major disruptions in Eastern Ontario and parts of Quebec. The storm – which was the first major one of the season in many areas – dumped 17 centimetres in and around Montreal in one hour alone on Friday.

More than 40 cm of snow fell on Montreal on Friday, stranding vehicles throughout the city. By early evening, it was still snowing lightly as the buildup passed 41 centimetres. It was more snow than had fallen on the city on any previous Dec. 16 since record-keeping began in 1941. And it was closing in on the record for any day – 43.2 cm – as measured at what is now Trudeau International Airport. The record was set in a deadly storm in March 1971.

Traffic was a mess and drivers faced near-whiteout conditions at times, as people on foot struggled through knee-high mounds of snow. The city sent about 1,500 workers out to clear the streets.

“I hope the tow truck gets here before spring,” one of the many bus drivers who had been stranded told CBC News.

Transport Quebec reported no major accidents, but said hundreds of cars needed to be towed.

“For the island of Montreal, all the highways were hard hit,” said a spokesperson for the provincial department, Maria Soteriadis.

In the Quebec City area, about 25 cm of snow had fallen by suppertime and another 10 cm were expected during the night as the storm moved east toward the Maritimes, where smaller amounts of snow and freezing rain were forecast overnight.

The Toronto area, which received between eight and 14 cm of snowfall, was spared the worst of it. But the storm dumped about 22 cm on Ottawa before the snow stopped falling in the afternoon. In Kemptville and Perth to the south, about 35 centimetres fell. It piled up so quickly in the capital that plows that had just finished clearing main streets had to turn around and re-do their work.

The storm forced some people in Ottawa to abandon stranded buses and walk as much as five kilometres to the downtown core. As a result, side streets were left unattended, causing headaches for motorists. On the city’s dedicated bus-route system, many double-length articulated buses ended up jackknifed in the snow. Roads became so clogged that many passengers gave up and walked. People trudged through knee-high snow, their hats and coats soaked after a few minutes.

“It’s been really crappy, sitting on a bus for half an hour before finally deciding to get off the bus and walk,” said one woman.

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