|A powerful winter storm will give Montreal blizzard conditions later today. (AccuWeather)|
Blizzard conditions are expected in the St Lawrence Valley, including Montreal and Quebec City today, as a large winter storm develops along the American east coast. The storm in question is deepening rapidly this morning near Norfolk, Virginia. The low pressure will strengthen and lift northeast towards Long Island by this afternoon. Snow will move from south to north today and reach Montreal by midday. Very light snow is occurring locally this morning, well ahead of the main show. The steady snow will arrive by noon and taper off Wednesday. Accumulations of 20 to 30cm are likely in Montreal, with 15-25cm in eastern Ontario, and 30-60cm in the Townships and New England. Winds will increase dramatically this afternoon, gusting from 50 to 100km/h in the St Lawrence Valley. The temperature will remain cold through the storm, within a couple of degrees of -8C (18F).
The National Weather Service in Burlington has gone ahead and upgraded the warnings to blizzard status for their side of the St. Lawrence Valley. Environment Canada defines a blizzard as 40km/h winds, falling or blowing snow, and visibility below 400m (0.25 mile) for at least 4 hours. This criteria will likely be met in Montreal later today and this evening. Travel across the entire region is not recommended today. This is especially true for any highways along the St. Lawrence River including Highway 20 to Quebec City and Highway 401 to Toronto. Some New England states actually have travel bans in place. Air travel has already been severely impacted, with thousand of flights cancelled today, call ahead. This storm has the potential to be quite historic for many locations.