Ice, rain and heavy snow make a mess of travel across Quebec

A sprawling low-pressure system arriving from the south will bring a host of wintry headaches to Quebec on Thursday and Friday, complete with the risk for rain, snow, ice, and a period of gusty winds.

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Freezing rain warnings, snowfall warnings, and special weather statements dot the province for the mixed bag of precipitation expected with this storm.

Snow will push into the Ottawa Valley and Montreal early Thursday afternoon. This snow will quickly change over to rain in Montreal, with a brief period of freezing rain possible during the transition.

Baron - QC ice - Feb9
Baron - QC ice - Feb9

Cold air will hang on longer down in the Ottawa Valley, however, extending the risk for freezing rain. Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC) issued a freezing rain warning for Gatineau in anticipation of several hours of ice accretion.

"A prolonged period of freezing rain is expected for the Ottawa River Valley," ECCC said in its warning.

Freezing rain will change over to rain for the Ottawa Valley as warmer air pushes in from the south Thursday night. Precipitation will come to an end Friday morning.

Temperatures will steadily rise across much of southern Quebec behind this warm front. Metro Montreal and the Eastern Townships could see temperatures reach the mid- to upper-single digits overnight Thursday into the pre-dawn hours on Friday.

Montreal’s temperature could rise from 2°C at 9 p.m. on Thursday to 6°C by 3 a.m. on Friday before falling once again. We could even see a quick double-digit reading in the southern Eastern Townships near the U.S. border.

Baron - QC rain - Feb9
Baron - QC rain - Feb9

Ice accretions of 2-5 mm are possible through the Ottawa Valley and the Laurentians. Rainfall totals will reach 5-15 mm across most of southern Quebec for the duration of this storm.

Farther north, temperatures will remain cold enough for accumulating snow. The swath of heaviest snow will fall across northern Quebec, where 10-20+ cm of snow is likely through Friday. The heaviest totals will fall in Quebec City, where 20-30 cm could accumulate by the end of the storm.

Baron - QC snow - Feb9
Baron - QC snow - Feb9

Looking ahead, the pattern is favourable for above-seasonal conditions to dominate southern Quebec through next week, with daytime high temperatures 5+ degrees above where they should be for the middle of February. This warmer pattern will come at a cost, though, as unsettled conditions could lead to several opportunities for rain next week.

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Check back for the latest weather updates across Quebec this week.