Winter storm moves north from US, paralyzing eastern Canada

AFP , Wednesday 15 Mar 2017

A blizzard tracking north from the United States caused car pileups and school closures, as heavy snows and powerful winds paralyzed eastern Canada Wednesday.

Up to 60 centimeters (24 inches) of snow fell on parts of Ontario, Quebec and the coastal Maritimes region, according to Environment Canada's weather office.

Weather officials measured winds of 100 to 140 kilometer (about 60 to 90 miles) per hour, which led to snow drifts that stranded more than 300 vehicles for almost 12 hours in Montreal and caused numerous vehicle pile-ups.

Officials said nearly 70,000 households lost power overnight. Snow-clearing equipment was overwhelmed, leaving firefighters to rescue drivers and their passengers trapped in cars.

The main highway between Toronto and Montreal, meanwhile, remained closed after a 30-vehicle collision on Tuesday.

One driver died and several others were treated for exposure to highly toxic hydrofluoric acid that spilled from an overturned truck.

The scene at area airports was also chaotic as passengers tried to re-book thousands of flights canceled the previous day.

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