Air Canada, WestJet have new cold weather alerts for Toronto

Snow watch: Storm pummels southern Ontario, Quebec & northeastern U.S.

TORONTO — The season’s first big storm couldn’t have come at a worse time. During one of the busiest travel periods of the year, a storm system that triggered tornadoes and flooding in the U.S. Midwest and Southwest pushed north early Tuesday morning, bringing a burst of snow and ice to Iowa and as far as southern Quebec.

Environment Canada has issued winter storm warnings for parts of southern Quebec, forecasting 25 to 40 centimetres of snow today and overnight into Wednesday. In Atlantic Canada, snow and ice pellets are expected today, which come on the heels of 18 centimetres of snow on Sunday in some areas of the Maritime provinces.

The severe weather caused a slew of travel delays, leaving tens of thousands of air travellers stranded at airports. By early Tuesday, nearly 600 flights had been cancelled in the U.S., reports The Huffington Post. About 2,900 flights were cancelled on Monday and nearly 5,000 more were delayed, according to FlightAware.com.

Parts of eastern Oklahoma, Arkansas, Missouri and Illinois were under flood warnings early Tuesday, while up to a foot of snow was forecast for Iowa and the Great Lakes region, reports the National Weather Service. NWS also anticipates sleet and rain through midday Tuesday from New York City to Washington D.C.

In Chicago, more than 1,300 flights were cancelled on Monday at O’Hare International Airport, considered the country’s second busiest airport.

Blizzard conditions were also found in New Mexico and western Texas, while Missouri experienced days of heavy rain that triggered flooding. State officials said the death toll could reach 13.

More than 40 people were killed in wild weather in the U.S. during the Christmas season, including 11 in the Dallas area who died in a series of twisters.