Déjà vu: freezing rain, followed by a flash freeze

Seems like we've been here before. We actually were, barely two weeks ago.

The Montreal area got hit with still more freezing rain during the day on Monday, making sidewalks even more of a mess than they might have been already.

And then, that freezing rain changed over to rain, and we got to see a brief thaw, as temperatures climbed to 6°C on Tuesday morning.

But, as we saw two weeks ago, all the water on the streets — and there is a lot of it — will quickly turn to ice as the temperature plummets to -7°C by late in the afternoon, and down to -12°C by Tuesday night.

More salt coming

Meanwhile, Philippe Sabourin, the city's point man on all things snow and ice, says there is some good news on the snow-management front: the snow removal operation from last week is just about all done — even though in many parts of town, chunks of ice from two weeks ago still pop up here and there.

Sabourin says the city will now put its full resources toward making the sidewalks passable, in advance of the flash freeze.

"The main focus today for the City of Montreal is spreading massive amounts of salt on the streets and sidewalks," Sabourin said Tuesday afternoon. 

He points out that the sewer system succeeded in absorbing all the water from this morning, suggesting the job won't be quite as difficult as it was a couple of weeks ago.

In the meantime, Sabourin says by Wednesday morning, all of Montreal's streets and sidewalks should be walkable.

"I'm not telling you that it's going to be perfect for [Wednesday] morning, but everything is being done to assure to secure the navigation for everyone," he said.

Complaints mount in NDG

For the moment, though, many Montrealers are still dealing with large puddles and icy sidewalks in many places — including NDG, where complaints about snow management have been fairly consistent since the first snowfall of the season.

Borough mayor Sue Montgomery says they have a plan — which for starters, involves making sure those large puddles get drained.

"Our big concern is to get the sewers open so that the water can drain and to pick up the ice," she says. "We have 440 kilometres of road to clear, 200 and some-odd kilometres of sidewalks. We're the biggest borough. We're 22 square kilometres. It's a huge job. It's not an excuse, it's an explanation."

The forecast is calling for still more rain and temperatures back up above freezing on Thursday and the first part of Friday, before temperatures plummet once again on Friday night.