Drivers were urged to stay off the roads and children got an unexpected day off from school Friday as heavy snow battered a large swath of southern Quebec.
More than 700 road incidents tied to the weather had been reported to authorities since snow began falling Friday morning, Transport Minister Francois Bonnardel tweeted. He added that wind and snowfall were expected to intensify later in the day across some southern regions, which would worsen road conditions.
"Avoid all non-essential travel," Bonnardel said. "If you have to hit the road, be vigilant and respectful of the snow removal teams."
Quebec provincial police and Transport Quebec reported multiple vehicle collisions across the province, including several pileups. No serious injuries had been reported as of Friday afternoon.
Schools across much of southern Quebec were shuttered Friday, as were several junior colleges. Universities, however, maintained operations.
Environment Canada had forecasted between 30 and 50 centimetres of snow for the Montreal area and as of Friday afternoon, 30 centimetres of snow had already accumulated in the city. The agency advised people to suspend non-essential travel until conditions improved and warned drivers to be prepared for rapidly changing conditions.
Transport Quebec announced some highways were closed due to the accumulation of heavy snow on the roads, strong winds, poor visibility and icy conditions. The state of the roads forced bus company Orleans Express to cancel all of its routes Friday.
Many flights at Montreal-Trudeau International Airport and at Jean-Lesage Airport in Quebec City were either delayed or cancelled.
Canada Post also warned that mail delivery in parts of southern Quebec had been complicated by the snow, adding that in some regions, mail and parcel distribution would be temporarily suspended.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 7, 2020.