You may be happy, or you may be sad, and either way there's no denying the fact that Montreal saw its very first snowfall of the season today, and it definitely won't be the last.
Partially to freak you out, and partially to get you prepped for winter, we've compiled some of the worst winter snow storm to ever bury Montreal in snow and ice. Maybe this first snow fall is only a precursor to winter-terror to come, or maybe it's just a gentle reminder that winter is here. Hopefully you were smart and got a head of the torment this year by doing these things, but either way, it is no where near as bad as any of the storms found below.
Everyone remembers the mega-awful ice storm of 98, but a little more than 30 years before the city experienced a maelstrom of freezing arctic winds that was bad enough to result in 7 million dollars in damages.
Blowing through Montreal on February 25th and 26th of 1961, wind gusts reached a speed of 130km/hr. Paired with a full 30mm of freezing rain, it's easy to see how this particular ice storm did so much damage to the city, and even knocked out the power for a few full days.
The Snowstorm Of The Century (1971)
I didn't even need to create a snappy, mildly hyperbolic subtitle for this Montreal winter storm, because it is quite literally known as "the Snowstorm of the Century," a name that paints a pretty good picture as to how bad it was.
Occurring on March 4th, 1971, the Snowstorm of the Century (SoC, for short) dumped 47cm of snow on Montreal, with 110km/h winds that tore apart power lines and cables, with some areas on the island left without power for a full ten days.
17 people tragically lost their lives to this snowstorm, which produced 500, 000 truckloads of snow. Perhaps even more surprising (at least to certain meteorological historians) is the fact that the SoC led to the cancellation of the Habs' home game, which has never happened, save for the Montreal flu epidemic of 1918.
It's also worth noting that Montreal wasn't the only city that experienced a mega-storm in March of 1971, as most of eastern Canada was struck with the same nor'easter (a storm blowing northeast from the Atlantic Ocean) that led to blizzards throughout the region, with certain areas getting as much as 61cm of snow.
The Montreal Ice Storm (1998)
Of course the infamous Montreal Ice Storm of 98 would make this list, and for good reason, because the arctic tempest blanketed the city with 10cm of ice (twice as thick as the ice storm of 1961), along with 100cm of snow. A strange atmosphere of fear was created during this near-biblical ice storm, in no small part because all Montrealers had to worry about chunks of ice crashing down on them any time they went outside.
Barraging Eastern Ontario, New Brunswick, and, of course, Southern Quebec, from January 4th to 10th, the destructive blizzard did away with telephone poles and power lines across all three regions, leaving many without power for days, and in some cases, an entire month.
In total, twenty-five people died due to the storm, $3 billion was spent on cleanup, 5, 000 trees in Mount Royal Park had to be cut/trimmed due to damage, and roads were closed out of fear of falling ice. Even the Canadian Armed Forces were called in, the damage was so bad.
The Massive Snowfall Of Mid-December (2007)
Anyone who was hoping for a white Christmas in 2007 certainly got their wish, as the city was blanketed with serious amounts of snow on December 16th and 17th, 2007, the first major snowfall of the year.
In a little more than a day, Southern Ontario and Quebec experienced a full 30 to 40 centimetres of snow, with winds reaching up to 100km/h in certain areas. Sure, this snowstorm isn't quite on the scale as some of the others, but all the folks who had to shovel their driveways back in 2007 may feel otherwise.
The Coldest February EVER (2015)
Placing an entire month on this list does go against the whole "worst winter storm" theme, but think back to last February and I feel like you'll understand my reasoning. Unlike most snow or ice storms that last a couple of days, February 2015 was 28 days of pure death, confirmed by the fact that it was the coldest February in Montreal in over 100 years.
Over the course of February 1st to 26th, Montrealers experienced an arctic average temperature of -14.5C, a full nine degrees lower than usual. The only other time the city experienced such a long stretch of cold was way back in February 1889, and even that can't quite be confirmed due to unreliable data.
So even though there was no intense snow falls or ice storms last February, the entire month made the city feel like an inhospitable frozen tundra, which might even be worse.
The Valentine's Day Weather Massacre (2007)
I've said it before and I'll say it again: Valentine's Day is a harbinger of bad times, and this winter storm all but proves it.
When Montrealers were getting ready for a romantic holiday in February of 2007, they didn't quite get what they expected, because on the day before V-Day, the city was rocked by a winter storm of the highest order.
Not only did the storm result in the cancellation of schools and flights, the roads were put into such a state of icy-snowy peril that cars couldn't traverse the city's roads.
The 15-20cm of fresh snow, accompanied by 60km/h winds, forced florists, who needed to make tons of Valentine's Day deliveries, into a state of panic. In most cases, even though some florists employed quadruple their usual number of drivers, flower deliveries never made it to their intended destination, which no doubt led to some pretty miffed significant others.
Adding to the V-Day tragedy, restaurants in Old Montreal lost an entire 25% in reservations thanks to the storm. All in all, the storm really ruined Valentine's Day 2007, which might have been a blessing in disguise anyway.
The Montreal Snowfall Record Is Broken (2012)
1971's intense snowfall seemed like small peas in 2012, when Montreal experienced a downpour of 43.2cm of snow, the largest the city has ever seen.
Thankfully, no deaths were reported, and the worst that really happened was the cancellation/delay of about 148 flights coming out of Trudeau airport. Roads and highways were also closed, as Montrealers realized they weren't going anywhere when there's almost a foot and a half of snow on the ground, creating an eerie calm in the city, a sharp contrast to the damage seen in '71.
The Snowstorm That Never Was, Because Of The Soviets
There wasn't much love for the USSR in most parts of North America in the late 50s. Cold War hysteria was a real thing, and this particular Montreal "snowstorm that never was" is a prime example.
By mid-January, 1958, Montreal only received a total of 16 inches of snow, far below the average. Many were left wondering why the city was spared from the usual barrage of snowflakes. Most folks were probably thanking the lords or winter for the mild precipitation, not really caring as to why, but one Montrealer had a theory: it was the Soviets.
Captain Eric S. Neal, described as an "unofficial weatherman," claimed that an "unpublicized H-Bomb blast set off in Northern Siberia early in December" resulted in a mass of hot air sent through city, making Montreal unseasonably warm, and so more than snow was seen.
Neal's claims were never substantiated, and admittedly seemed kind of crazy anyway. There was, however, a silver lining to the lack of snow that year, as the city saved a full $300, 000 in snow removal. So really, if the Soviets were responsible, Montreal should have been thankful.
The Surprise Snowstorm That Happened In Spring
By the time April hits, everyone in Montreal pretty much assumed Mother Nature has had her fill of raining snow upon the city. But not-so-good ol' Gaia is a tricky b*tch, as the city saw on April 1st, 1985, when a surprise spring snowfall came out of nowhere and covered the city with 14cm of snow.
Coming out of nowhere at rush hour, the blanket of snow instantly became slush once it the ground, creating a slip-n-slide like environment for anyone on the road. Thankfully, no serious accidents were reported, but there's a guarantee that a high number of Montrealers cried a "still, with this winter bullshit?" as they accidentally stepped in a giant puddle of icy slush.
While there were definitely worse snowstorms to occur in Montreal, this one gets a place on this list based purely on the surprise factor.
The "Snow Removers Are On Strike" Storm (1972 & 1985)
If there's ever a time for the City of Montreal to be in the good graces of snow removal crews, it would be during a snowstorm. Unfortunately, the city isn't all that great with timing in most endeavors, and actually managed to be in a tiff with the all-but-necessary-during-a-winter-storm snow removers on two separate occasions.
Back in 1972, in late February, a massive blizzard rocked eastern Canada. Montreal saw 10 to 15 inches of snow on the ground, which doesn't seem all that bad, if there was anyone to clean it up. Unfortunately, the city snow removal workers had just gone on strike, which no doubt gave them some leverage on their demands.
Things were even worse 13 years later in March of 1985. When the worst snowstorm of the season struck the city, resulting in 35cm of snow in just two days, the city was in a dispute with 80 snow removal truckers, the latter of whom refused to clear any snow. The people of Montreal got the fallout from the argument, as the time needed to clear the snow-congested streets was estimated at 10 full days, double the usual time it would take.
The Winter That Never Ended (2008)
Most of the intense winter storms on this list were running a 100-metre dash, gaining notoriety for their record breaking precipitation in a short amount of time. Winter 2008, however, played things more like a marathon, gaining the title of "the Winter That Never Ended," basically because it felt like a never-ending deluge of snow for the entire season.
Across regions in Ontario and Quebec, towns experienced record-breaking seasonal snow falls, including the Montréal-Mirabel International Airport area which experienced 375.6 cm of snow. Montreal didn't break its record, but it sure did come close, and it sure felt like the city would, thanks to the nigh endless amount of snow that poured from the sky.
Overall, Winter 2007-2008 is remembered for the frequency of snow falls, rather than the amount (unless you're in Ottawa, because they got destroyed) which is maybe even more annoying.
The Mega Storm Of March (1900)
Here's one for the history books: from March 1st to 2nd, 1900, Montreal was dumped on with a total of 55cm of snow. A winter-y sight unseen in the city, March's total snowfall in 1900 reached 118cm, four times higher than the typical average.
Add in the fact that the city didn't have all of the modern tech to do away with snow all the way back in 1900, and you can understand why this particular storm deserves a spot on this list.
DON'T get caught in the cold this winter by completing this checklist!
New Year's 1961 (Northern Idaho) A three-day ice event ushering in 1961 with not only freezing rain but also occasional freezing fog set a U.S. ice accumulation record of 8 inches in north-central Idaho. Accumulations of more than a half-inch are considered crippling.What is the explanation of ice storm? ›
An ice storm is used to describe occasions when damaging accumulations of ice are expected during freezing rain situations. Significant accumulations of ice pull down trees and utility lines resulting in loss of power and communication. These accumulations of ice make walking and driving extremely dangerous.What was the worst ice storm in U.S. history? ›
The Worst Ice Storm on Record (December 4-5, 1964)
Freezing rain caused ice accumulations of up to 1.5 inches and crippled east central New York. Many residents were without power for up to two weeks and schools had to be shut down for a week. Damage was estimates approached 5 million dollars.
On January 31, 1951, the costliest ice storm on record devastated an area of more than 100 miles wide from Louisiana to West Virginia. Twenty-five people lost their lives and approximately 500 more were injured in storm-related accidents.What caused the ice storm? ›
Ice storms are the result of freezing rain. They typically happen when a layer of cold air near the ground meets a layer of warmer, moist air above it. The precipitation from the warmer air, such as rain, sleet, or snow, passes through the cold layer and freezes upon contact with any surface it touches.What year was the worst ice storm? ›
The Devastating Ice Storm of January 1998 was a historic storm that affected millions of people across northern New York, northern New England and southeast Canada.What are 2 facts about ice storms? ›
Heavy accumulations of ice can bring down trees and topple utility poles and communication towers. Ice can disrupt communications and power for days while utility companies repair extensive damage. Even small accumulations of ice can be extremely dangerous to motorists and pedestrians.What is the message of what happened during the ice storm? ›
The author Jim Heynen displays the story how the boys went out in the freezing cold to help pheasants that were sitting in the cold all alone. The theme the author is trying to get across is that it is human nature to protect yourself and others in stressful situations.What happened during the ice storm story summary? ›
In the short story “What Happened During The Ice Storm” written by Jim Heyen, ice engulfs a whole town including trees and snow. In this small rural town, there are also farmers leading their livestock into barns. Everyone is killing pheasants since they are frozen and easy prey.What was the worst winter in history? ›
The winter of 1880–1881 is widely considered the most severe winter ever known in many parts of the United States. The initial blizzard in October of 1880 brought snowfalls so deep that two-story homes experienced accumulations, as opposed to drifts, up to their second floor windows.
Greatest Snow Depth on Record: 451 Inches
Tamarack, California, also holds the U.S. record for the greatest snow depth ever measured. A maximum snow depth of 451 inches, or 37.5 feet, was recorded there on March 11, 1911, according to Burt.
At its peak, 3.5 million Quebecers — roughly half of Quebec's population — and more than a million Ontarians, as well as thousands in New Brunswick, were left in the dark, many for several weeks.What was the biggest storm to ever hit the United States? ›
More people were killed in this single storm than the total of those killed in at least the next two deadliest tropical cyclones that have struck the United States since. The Galveston hurricane of 1900 remains the deadliest natural disaster in U.S. history.Are ice storms rare? ›
Major ice storms are catastrophic dangers. This is especially true for those storms that are followed by gusty winds. Fortunately, these ice storms are rare in any given location, and occur 0-2 times per generation in any one spot.What state gets the most snow? ›
The snowiest state of all is New Hampshire, which gets an average of 174.35 inches of snow each year. This is followed by Maine, which gets 92 inches annually and Vermont, with 80.2 inches. Alaska and Wyoming come next, with 79.6 and 77.33 inches respectively.How long do ice storms usually last? ›
How long can an ice storm last? The freezing rain that causes an ice storm typically lasts for a period of several hours. But the ice and damage it leaves in its wake can take days, or even weeks, to clean up. Fallen trees can block roadways.How do people survive ice storms? ›
Stay inside and dress in warm, layered clothing. Close off unneeded rooms. When using an alternative heat source, follow operating instructions, use fire safeguards and be sure to properly ventilate. Stuff towels and rags underneath doors to keep the heat in.What are ice storms called? ›
An ice storm, also known as a glaze event or a silver storm, is a type of winter storm characterized by freezing rain. The U.S. National Weather Service defines an ice storm as a storm which results in the accumulation of at least 0.25-inch (6.4 mm) of ice on exposed surfaces.What was the world's worst snow storm? ›
The Iran blizzard of February 1972 was the deadliest blizzard in history, which entered the Guinness Book of Records. A week-long period of low temperatures and severe winter storms, lasting 3–9 February 1972, resulted in the deaths of over 4,000 people.When was the worst snow storm in US history? ›
The Great Blizzard of 1888, also known as the “Great White Hurricane,” struck the northeastern United States from 11-14 March, 1888. The storm was caused by a collision of two weather systems and resulted in heavy snowfall and high winds.
February 12, 2006
A full 26.9 inches dumped on NYC, the highest snowfall ever counted by government records.
Preparing for Ice Storms
A quarter inch of ice will glaze roads and seriously impact travel, result in some tree damage, and cause power outages. However, when ice accumulates to one half inch or more the major and crippling effects of ice storms occur.
That cold batch of air supercools the rain but it hits the ground before refreezing. That supercooled rain then quickly freezes when it hits ground, trees, power lines or anything else that is at or below freezing. Significant accumulation of freezing rain that lasts several hours can result in an ice storm.What temperature do ice storms occur? ›
Ice storms usually occur when the air temperature is at or just above freezing (32-38 degrees). During an ice storm, rain falls into a layer of subfreezing air near the surface of the earth, cooling the falling water to the point of freezing upon contact with the ground, trees, roofs, cars and other objects.How do you respond to an Ice Storm? ›
- Stay indoors and off the roads.
- Conserve fuel by closing off unnecessary areas of the building.
- Listen to a radio for weather updates and emergency information.
- Maintain ventilation when using gas-powered generators to avoid buildup of toxic fumes.
In urban areas, fallen branches and trees damaged power lines and poles. Many transformers caught fire. In rural areas, power lines snapped under the weight of the ice and pulled down long lines of poles in a cascading effect. Violent winds also downed many distribution lines.What happens before an Ice Storm? ›
When snowfall passes through layers of warm and cold air, it melts and then cools. Upon reaching the frozen surface it comes in contact with, the rain immediately freezes, coating everything it touches with a layer of ice. Events with accumulations of ice above ¼ inch are categorized as ice storms.What happens at the end of the ice storm? ›
A sober Ben is driving back to his house when he discovers Mikey's body on the side of the road. He carries the body to the Carvers' house, and the two families are drawn together in grief.What happened during the ice storm foreshadowing? ›
Wallace uses the door multiple times throughout the story to foreshadow the death of the baby. The bird is mentioned as another symbol and represents nature as a whole. The author tries to explain that no matter what's going on in someone's personal life, nature and the world around them will continue.What happened during the ice storm unsure of their footing? ›
They ran across the slippery fields, unsure of their footing, the ice clinging to their skin as they made their way toward the warm blurry lights of the house. Read this excerpt from the short story "What Happened During the Ice Storm" by Jim Heynen.
The official contiguous U.S. minimum temperature of -70° (actually -69.7°) was measured at Rogers Pass on January 20, 1954.Which state has no snow in us? ›
# 1 of states with the least snow – Hawaii
Of course not! Much like Florida, Hawaii's average yearly snowfall is non-existent. It also boasts highs in the 80s and lows in the upper 60s. Weather like this should certainly make you consider saying “Aloha” to Hawaii in the winter months.
World: Lowest Temperature.
|Record Value||-89.2°C (-128.6°F)|
|Length of Record||1912-present|
|Instrumentation||Maximum/Minimum Thermometer in Standard Stevenson Screen|
The town with the most snow is: Valdez, Alaska with 279.4 inches per year, on average. Another stand-out is Blue Canyon, CA with a historical average of 241.7 inches per year!What is the snowiest town in the US? ›
Alta, Utah. Even though this village has a population of fewer than 400 people, it manages to set quite a few records. At an altitude of 8,950 feet, Alta is not only the snowiest town in the United States but also one of the highest. This village — and the nearby Alta Ski Area — receives 583 inches of snow per year.What is the 3rd snowiest city in the US? ›
- Sault Ste. ...
- Caribou, Maine – Average Yearly Snowfall: 82.14 in.
- Erie, Pennsylvania – Average Yearly Snowfall: 80.86 in.
- Syracuse, New York – Average Yearly Snowfall: 77.56 in.
- Buffalo, New York – Average Yearly Snowfall: 68.8 in.
- Binghamton, New York – Average Yearly Snowfall: 61.9 in.
The Great Blizzard of 1978 was a historic winter storm that struck the Ohio Valley and Great Lakes regions of the United States as well as Southern Ontario in Canada from Wednesday, January 25 through Friday, January 27, 1978. It is often cited as one of the most severe blizzards in US history.How many people died in the North American ice storm? ›
|Maximum rating||EF3 tornado|
|Highest winds||160 mph (260 km/h)|
|Fatalities||≥290 (426–978 estimated in Texas)|
|1780 Atlantic hurricane season|
|Total storms||≥ 8|
The strongest tropical cyclone recorded worldwide, as measured by minimum central pressure, was Typhoon Tip, which reached a pressure of 870 hPa (25.69 inHg) on October 12, 1979.
The most intense hurricane on record to hit the U.S. is the Labor Day Hurricane of 1935. It was a Category 5 storm that hit the Florida Keys and claimed 408 lives, most of whom were World War I veterans building roads as part of a federal relief project.What is the rarest storm in weather? ›
Waterspouts are rotating columns of air that normally form over water. They are usually less violent than tornadoes and form mostly in tropical and subtropical regions.
Thunder and lightning might be more common during the spring and summer, but winter storms can also produce a few rumbles when heavy snow, sleet or freezing rain are falling. We've already seen thundersnow on several occasions this winter, which is exactly what it sounds like: thunder and lightning during a snowstorm.What year did it snow in all 50 states? ›
Snow cover for February 12, 2010, the last time all 50 states had some snow on the ground. The year was 2010.What state has the longest winter? ›
Alaska is the coldest state in the United States, with an annual average temperature of 30.7 Fº, and temperatures that can go as low as -80°F. It has some of the longest and coldest winters in North America due to its extreme northern location and lack of low-lying land and mountains.Has it snowed in all 50 states? ›
Simultaneous snow in every state is rare, but it does happen. The last time was eight years ago, in 2010.Was there a snowstorm in January 1961? ›
January 18- 20 1961
This storm is dubbed the "Kennedy Inaugural Snowstorm" since it occurred on the eve of John F Kennedy's Presidential Inauguration in Washington D.C.
The second half of December 1961 was very cold with frequent severe frosts but there was little snow because high pressure had dominated the weather in the run up to Christmas 1961.What year did Ohio have the big ice storm? ›
January 2005: Historic Ice Storm & Significant Flooding.What year did it snow in all 50 states on same day? ›
Snow cover for February 12, 2010, the last time all 50 states had some snow on the ground.
The Great Blizzard of 1888, also known as the “Great White Hurricane,” struck the northeastern United States from 11-14 March, 1888. The storm was caused by a collision of two weather systems and resulted in heavy snowfall and high winds.What was the blizzard of February 1961? ›
The 1961 storm produced a maximum of 40 inches of snow in central New York. A large area of 1 to 2 feet of snow accumulated across central New York and northeast Pennsylvania.What was the strongest storm to hit New York? ›
New York is in the northeastern U.S. on the East Coast. The strongest storm of all to hit the state was the 1938 New England hurricane. That storm also killed over 600 people.What is the most snow ever recorded in New York State? ›
When Hooker isn't Hooker. New York's eye-popping snowfall record of 466.7 inches — that's almost 39 feet — was set in the notoriously harsh winter of 1976-77. The record book shows the mark was set in Hooker, a name etched in the minds of all Empire State snow lovers. But it wasn't set in Hooker at all.How long did the winter of 62 63 last? ›
The Big Freeze, as it came to be known, began on Boxing Day 1962 with heavy snowfall and went on for nearly three months. Drifts reached up to 20 feet in places and the whole of the country was caught in its icy grip.What year was the warmest winter on record? ›
The unseasonable heat made 2021-2022 Europe's joint-second warmest winter ever recorded, surpassed only by the winter of 2019-2020.What was the U.S. coldest day ever? ›
The summit of Mount Washington in New Hampshire reported a wind-chill low of minus 78 Celsius (minus 108 Fahrenheit) — the coldest temperature ever recorded in the United States.What was the worst ice storm in Ohio? ›
The Great Blizzard of 1978 was a historic winter storm that struck the Ohio Valley and Great Lakes regions of the United States as well as Southern Ontario in Canada from Wednesday, January 25 through Friday, January 27, 1978. It is often cited as one of the most severe blizzards in US history.How many inches of snow did Ohio get in the blizzard of 78? ›
Other low pressure records included Akron-Canton with 28.33 inches, Youngstown with 28.39 inches, Columbus with 28.46 inches, Toledo with 28.49 inches, and Cincinnati with 28.81 inches (Blackburn 1978). Old pressure records were exceeded by .How thick was the ice over Ohio? ›
Eventually the ice pushed into the northern United States. It is estimated that the ice may have been a mile thick in the Erie basin and 1,000 feet thick in the central part of Ohio. The buildup, spread, and melting of an ice sheet occurred several times during the Pleistocene Epoch.