Winter storm hits Ontario, Eastern Canada

A man clears the snow off his truck in Ottawa on December 21, 2012. (TONY CALDWELL/QMI Agency)

A man clears the snow off his truck in Ottawa on December 21, 2012. (TONY CALDWELL/QMI Agency)

QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 12:04 PM ET

Winter has officially arrived, bringing heavy snow and freezing rain to much of Central and Eastern Canada.

Environment Canada has issued a winter storm warning in Ottawa, Montreal and the surrounding areas.

About 10-50 cm is forecast to fall, depending on the region.

The wintry blast has caused flight delays in Eastern Canada and the northeastern U.S. on the busiest travel day of the year.

Air Canada, WestJet and Porter Airlines said flights from Montreal, Ottawa, Quebec City, and northern Ontario, may be delayed Friday due to snow.

"The heavy snow, the strong winds and the blowing snow which accompany this system will reach several regions of central and eastern Quebec beginning (Friday night), leaving a more than significant amount of snow," Environment Canada said in a weather statement.

In Ottawa, about 10-15 cm of snow was already on the ground as of 8 a.m., with another 15-20 cm expected by Friday night.

About 40-50 cm of snow is expected to fall in Quebec, especially in the northern St. Lawrence River region, with winds of 90 km/h beginning Friday afternoon.

School buses in Ottawa and many surrounding regions were cancelled Friday, meaning many students got a head start on their Christmas holidays.

Drivers should be cautious because blowing snow is expected and could make it difficult to see, Environment Canada said.

Ontario Provincial Police urge people who don't have to travel in the hardest hit areas to stay home.


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