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Montreal and Quebec City in February

What visitors should know before coming to Montreal and Quebec City in February.

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In February, the coldest temperatures are behind us, but there’s always the possibility of another wind-chill-factor day or two, although it never lasts for weeks, as it does in January. In fact, February weather can be very unpredictable, from the snowstorm to the above zero temperatures and rain. The best way to be prepared to these rapid changes is to bring a warm coat and water-resistant boots, as well as many layers so that you can peel them off if the temperature rises for a weekend. This time of year, it’s always a good idea to check your flight status before leaving the comfort of your home (or your hotel room), but keep in mind that airports in Quebec can withstand much worse weather conditions than most American North-Eastern ones.

Weather/Climate

Temperatures are usually a few degrees lower in Quebec City than in Montreal, and Quebec City usually gets a lot more snow, while Montreal can sometimes get rain. Temperatures are always well below zero degrees Celsius. It is the heart of the skiing and snowboarding season, and the day following a snowstorm is always busier than usual in ski resorts.

An element that visitors to Quebec must absolutely consider is the wind. Winter weather forecasts here always provide two numbers: the temperature as displayed on the thermometer, and the temperature with wind chill factor. The wind chill factor measures the degree of “chill” the skin senses. For example, if the wind chill is -20°C while the outside temperature is only -10°C, it means that your face will feel as cold as if it was a calm day (no wind) with a temperature of -20°C.

Even though temperatures can get cold, the good side of winter in Quebec is that there are usually plenty of sunny days, which make it fun to go out (and they also do good for the soul). If you’re prepared and sufficiently dressed, winter can actually be fun.

Temperature, Snow/Rain Fall Averages

Data from Environment Canada, the country’s weather office.

Montreal:

  • February Temperature Averages: Max -4 °C (25 °F), Low -13 °C (9 °F)*
  • February Average Snowfall: 43 cm (17 in)
  • February Average Rainfall: 20 mm (7.9 in)

Quebec City:

  • February Temperature Averages: Max -6 °C (27 °F), Low -16 °C (3 °F)*
  • February Average Snowfall: 63 cm (24.8 in)
  • February Average Rainfall: 13 mm (5.1 in)

*Temperatures provided exclude wind chill factor.

How to Pack/What to Wear

  • Layers, layers, layers! Bring warm, long-sleeved sweaters and sweatshirts that you can wear underneath your winter coat, if need be.
  • Heavy, waterproof winter jacket or vest (or many layers to wear underneath a lighter jacket)
  • Additional winter base (or inner) layers (made of wool, polyester or microfiber fabrics) especially if you plan on doing outdoor activities
  • Comfortable and warm waterproof shoes and boots
  • Hat, mittens or gloves and a scarf: you’ll wear them every day
  • Umbrella, for rainy days
  • Sunglasses, as the sun shines almost every day and can become downright blinding at sunset (especially if you’re driving)

Good to Know

  • Drivers should be aware that driving is difficult in winter. A Quebec law makes it compulsory for car owner to install winter tires from December 15 to March 15. All rental cars are loaned with winter tires on between these dates. When it snows, roads become slippery or icy and the visibility is poor. Some roads and highways can even be closed during major snowstorms. The government of Quebec provides up-to-the-minute road condition info on its Info Transport Website, and drivers can also call 5-1-1 on their mobile phones to get the latest info.

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