Major winter storm

Last updated February 10, 2024

Montréal can get severe winter storms. What does the city do in such situations? Find out what you need to know about major snow storms, ice storms and blizzards.

What’s a major winter storm?

A winter storm is considered severe when the weather is forecast to be extreme and possibly dangerous:

  • More than 60 cm of heavy snowfall
  • More than 45 cm of heavy snowfall combined with freezing rain, high winds, intense cold or blizzard conditions

If the storm occurs during a critical time in the city (such as morning or evening rush hour) or if snow accumulates very quickly, exceptional measures may be taken.

The priority is clearing the snow

During a major storm, the priority is to quickly make streets and sidewalks passable by pushing snow to the sides. During heavy snowfalls with high winds (blizzards), plows must clear the same areas several times. Snow removal usually starts the day after the storm.

Certain areas are cleared first:

  • Fire stations
  • Police stations
  • Emergency communication centres such as 911 and 311.
  • Hospitals
  • Drinking water treatment plants
  • Main bridges and tunnels

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