The air of a ghost town

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Dominique Lelièvre

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Paralyzed by the snow, and deserted by its population, Quebec has taken the air of a ghost town, Wednesday, buried under the biggest storm of the winter.

The severe weather has affected the daily lives of millions of Quebecers. Nobody is deceived. No one was surprised. It was a real.

The amount of snow, the winds, the blowing snow… A forty centimeters in Montreal, just a bit less in Quebec. It lacked nothing, except the motorists are virtually invisible on the roads.

The dramas have been avoided, except in Larouche, Saguenay. A man of 58 years died after he was hit head-on by a train while he was shoveling the snow.

The authorities had requested motorists to avoid all non-essential movement and the setpoint has been met. Air Transat has even had a vivid spirit, with its huge display panel that showed the weather in Varadero, Cancun, Montego Bay and Panama City.

After a respite of a few hours, the expectation is already another lined up for Thursday.

“It will not be a storm, but a snow fall is significant, which may exceed 10 centimeters,” said Jean Brassard, Environment Canada.

Closures

In this hell white and the authorities on the alert, it would be quicker to list what was not closed on Wednesday.

The region of Quebec woke up shaken by winds of near 80 km/h and blowing snow reducing almost to nil visibility.

“This is the biggest storm that the region of Quebec and southern Quebec have known since the beginning of winter “, emphasizes Simon Legault, Environment Canada.

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The residents of the Island of Orleans have been isolated for about 45 minutes when traffic was stopped on the bridge.

The movement was made for several hours, in alternation, and only under police escort.

It is a place to be “extremely exposed to the blowing snow with the corridors of wind,” explained Marc-André Pelchat, ministry of Transport (MTQ).

The ministère des Transports du Québec released a message of caution on a road in the desert on Wednesday.

The highway 20 and route 132 was closed between Lévis and Montmagny. The Dufferin-Montmorency highway was also closed because of the weather. Even a part of highway 40, eastbound, has been blocked in Beauport.

Still in Quebec city, the coast Gilmour and Salaberry had to be closed. In L’ancienne-Lorette, a part of the road to the Airport has suffered the same fate.

Emergency measures

For its part, the City of Lévis has deployed its center of coordination of emergency measures. “We have a winter that is outside the norm,” recognized another spokesperson for the MTQ, William Paradise.

Like all schools, even the University of Laval has suspended all of its activities, the never-seen since march 2016. Finally, the Québec winter Carnival has temporarily stopped the festivities.

A week to clear snow

Quebec City has invited the citizens to “arm themselves with patience” in anticipation of snow removal operations to come. All teams will be at work for at least a week.

“We’re going to blow to clean the passage for the Carnival and we will resume our operations on a blow Sunday. It’s going to be a good cleaning and it will probably take all next week to complete it all, ” summarized the head of the snow removal to the executive committee of the City, Jérémie Ernould.

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Despite the abundant rainfall, deposits to snow are only filled to 50 % capacity.

– With the collaboration of Jean-Luc Lavallée

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