A winter weather mess expected for the last weekend before Christmas

Photos: Tina Tenneriello/CJAD

Montrealers rushing to get their last-minute Christmas shopping in this weekend will have to deal with the elements — and, with city crews charged with the task of clearing all of it from our roads.

Over the next 48 hours, we'll see a sinister wintry mix of snow, freezing rain and ice pellets.

As things stand now, we're expecting anywhere from 10 to 15 centimetres of snow to fall during the day on Friday. At around midnight, the snow is expected to change to ice pellets — we're expecting about 2 to 4 centimetres' worth of that — and possibly freezing rain before daybreak on Saturday.

Saturday's forecast calls for a little bit of everything — ice pellets changing to light snow at times mixed with freezing drizzle in the morning, with a risk of freezing rain in the morning.

On Sunday, we could see freezing rain, or snow, or both.

Airlines are expecting Sunday to be the worst travel day and are asking people to give themselves plenty of extra time and to check airline web sites frequently to stay up to date on delays and cancellations.  Updates are also available on the Montreal Trudeau Airport web site.

Weather experts are also suggesting that road travelers leave after Sunday, if possible. 

In all, about 20 more centimetres of snow and precipitation are expected to be on the ground before the weekend is out.

And all of this is happening just as the city of Montreal is putting the finishing touches on cleaning up after last week's big 30 centimetre snow dump — an in all likelihood, the city may have to start all over again.

Anie Samson, the executive committee member responsible for citizen services, is urging Montrealers to be very careful on the roads, and adds, salt spreading, snow clearing and snow removal operations will continue throughout the weekend, depending on what falls from the sky, when it falls, and how much.

Samson says 95% of snow clearing is complete and is reminding Montrealers to move their cars when the snow clearing signs are out.  She says the city towed 5000 cars over the last week, which caused delays. A list of free parking during snow clearing is available here.

Samson is also welcoming complaints, asking Montrealers to call 311 with very specific details so they can make improvements. 

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