Intense storm headed to Quebec is already inflicting vacation journey disruptions

Flight cancellations have begun in Montreal as a powerful winter storm approaches the province, expecting to bring an intense, low-pressure system Thursday night and into the holiday weekend.

As of noon Thursday, winter storm warnings were in effect for much of southern Quebec including in the Abitibi, Mauricie, Quebec City region and Saguenay-Lac-St. jean

Environment Canada has issued a snowfall warning for Montreal and Laval.

Snowfalls of 5-10 centimeters in the Montreal area, and 20-30 in the Quebec City area are expected Thursday night, along with strong winds with gusts reaching 70 km/h.

Then the temperature is expected to rise in certain areas on Friday, leading to rain, Environment Canada says.

Temperatures are forecast to drop Friday night, leading to treacherous driving conditions.

Winds will remain high, and residents living along Quebec’s eastern shores are being warned to watch for storm surges during high tides as of Friday.

On Saturday afternoon, the forecast is snow squalls over southern Quebec due to the passage of cold air over the Great Lakes.

This cold air could bring temperatures below normal for the season on Sunday and early next week, says Environment Canada.

If you’re headed to airport, check your flight

By 11 am Thursday, airlines had canceled 21 flights in and out of Montreal-Trudeau International Airport.

The airport said the cancellations were a result of the storm rolling through the United States.

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Anne-Sophie Hamel is a spokesperson with the Aéroports de Montréal.

Orléans Express has canceled several intercity buses between Quebec, Rimouski and Gaspésie. Travelers can get more information by looking at the bus line’s website and social media.

Power outages are expected, so get prepared

Hydro-Québec, the province’s public utility residents is urging residents to be well prepared for power outages.

Hydro-Québec notes temperatures indoors can become uncomfortable without electric heating, and while most outages are short, it is recommended that people preheat their home by raising the temperature a few degrees at least an hour before a service interruption.

  • If the power or data on your device is low, get your storm updates on CBC Lite

Batteries should be charged, and meals planned to avoid opening the fridge and freezer too much while the power is off, the Crown corporation says. It also recommends having emergency numbers at the ready, including Hydro-Québec’s (1-800-790-2424) to report the outage.

The corporation also recommends downloading the Hydro‑Québec application to follow the evolution of outages and ensure that you receive notifications about them.

Public Safety Canada encourages people to be prepared and carry emergency kits containing drinking water, food, medication, a first aid kit and a flashlight.

Since there is uncertainty related to the trajectory of the system, Environment Canada says it is still too early to give details as to the amounts of precipitation expected.

Quebec City’s proactive measures

Quebec City officials holding a press conference Thursday morningQuebec City officials urge people to stay up to date on storm developments by following their social media and website. (Emilie Warren/CBC)

Quebec City Mayor Bruno Marchand says he prefers having a city that’s too prepared than not enough.

He said municipal workers in the capital will be ready to remove snow on the streets and sidewalks as soon as the storm starts and more employees are on call to remove any debris as needed. The city’s 3-1-1 line will also be open on Christmas Eve.

The city is asking people to make sure their tempos are properly secured. There will also be a parking ban in effect for the entire city Friday night.

The city’s annual German Christmas will close tonight, a day early. The outdoor portion of the Chemin de Noël event is also cancelled. Several schools have already announced they’ll be closed Friday.

The city urges people to follow its social media and website for all updates.

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