Holiday travel a wintry mess in Quebec, central Ontario

A winter storm continues to sweep through parts of Central Canada, bringing high winds and dumping snow in many areas during one of the busiest travel periods of the year.

Transports Québec is warning motorists to exercise caution on the roads, which will be busier than usual with shoppers out on the last weekend before Christmas. The agency says the roads are especially icy in the Abitibi-Témiscamingue region.

Hydro crews are working to restore power throughout the Lanaudière and Laurentians regions of the province, as well as parts of the Outouais. About 130,000 clients were still without electricity Saturday morning; some have been waiting for power since midday Friday.

Hydro-Quebec is blaming heavy snowfall and strong winds for the outages.

The Pierre Laporte bridge remained closed to traffic Saturday morning in Quebec City due to heavy winds.

Snowfall warnings remain in effect in several regions northeast of Quebec City, where Environment Canada is predicting 25-40 centimetres of snow on Saturday.

The storm system has already generated between 60 and 100 centimetres of snow since Friday in some parts of the province.

Meanwhile in the Ottawa area, people are shovelling out from a heavy dump of snow on Friday.

The region has seen a two-day total of 44 centimetres of snow. Another five centimetres is possible today.

Elsewhere, rainfall warnings remain in effect for parts of the Maritimes.

A strong trough of low pressure will be making its way across eastern Nova Scotia on Saturday. The rain will be heavy at times, with 20 to 40 millimetres of rainfall in the forecast.

Rain has eased over western counties of Nova Scotia and will ease over eastern regions later Saturday. However, rain will persist into the evening for Cape Breton, along with winds gusting to 120 km/h, Environment Canada says.

Marine Atlantic has advised passengers the weather may delay ferry travel between Nova Scotia and Newfoundland and Labrador.

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