Taken by Storm!

The Montreal Ice Storm of 1998

Life in the Middle of the Storm

I recently took a trip to Montreal to see some friends and to have fun because I have never been to Montreal before. The weatherman was saying how it has been getting colder and we should expect an ice storm soon but I wasn't worried. On January 5th, the first ice storm hit Montreal, causing widespread power-outages We were planning to leave Montreal and stay in Ottawa for a while but unfortunately, all trains in and out of the two cities were cancelled and roads were closed. In Montreal, almost all hospitals and stores were closed and not too many people would be outside which made things seem a little depressing. Montrealers were advised to ration their use of water and eventually, the police posted notices telling residents to boil their water for 5 minutes before drinking because one of the city's two water filtration plants had shut down.

The ice storm destroyed a lot of things such as power lines and trees which took away electricity and made farmers unable to ventilate the barn or give water to the animals, the weight of the ice on top of the barn made the roof collapse and killed many of the animals too. The days were going by as the storm kept going but we just had to get through it the best we could. Eventually, it stopped raining and that's when people started repairing and cleaning up things. The storm's destruction totaled to a whopping $2 billion CAD in Quebec alone and it was about $4-6 billion for all areas affected. Overall, the experience was quite scary but I learned a few things here and there about survival and how to get through something like this if it ever happens again. So, that's my story of how I got through the 1998 Montreal Ice Storm.

How the Ice Storm was formed

Freezing rain is quite common in Canada, The Montreal area typically recieves freezing rain between 12 and 17 times a year, averaging between 45 and 65 total hours of rain. However, a freezing rain storm usually lasts only a few hours and leaves a few millimeters of accumulation. But this ice storm lasted several days and basically destroyed the city. Snow is produced at upper level in such a winter storm system but it eventually melts into rain as it falls through the warm air layer, above freezing temperature, associated with the overrunning. The rain passes through colder air near the surface and supercools. When that rain touches the ground in the cold air below, the droplets freeze on contact, creating accumulations of ice. If the cold air layer is too thick, the droplets refreeze before hitting the ground and form ice pellets which are less hazardous.