MONTREAL, March 16, 2017 (BSS/AFP) - A blizzard moving north from the United States caused car pileups and school closures, and left six dead as heavy snow and powerful winds paralyzed eastern Canada on Wednesday.
Two men were found frozen to death in their snow-covered car outside of Quebec City. One of them had called emergency services for help late Tuesday but officials on snowmobiles were unable to reach them in time.
Two other motorists were killed in collisions on icy roads as blowing snow reduced visibility, and a 58-year old man died when he was struck by a snow plow.
Up to 70 centimeters (28 inches) of snow fell on parts of Ontario, Quebec and the coastal Maritimes region, according to Environment Canada's weather office.
Officials measured winds of 100 to 140 kilometers (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.
Nearly 70,000 households lost power overnight. Snow-clearing equipment was overwhelmed, leaving firefighters to rescue people trapped in cars throughout the region.
The main highway between Toronto and Montreal remained closed after a 30-vehicle collision on Tuesday.
The driver of an overturned truck carrying hydrofluoric acid died in the crash and several others were treated for exposure to the toxic spill.
The scenes at area airports were also chaotic as passengers tried to re-book thousands of flights canceled the previous day.