Guns and fists as "snow rage" erupts

QUEBEC CITY, Quebec Wed Mar 12, 2008 12:00pm EDT

A worker clears snow in downtown Toronto February 1, 2008. Although Canada is one of the snowiest countries in the world, a series of violent ''snow rage'' incidents reveal that even the locals have their limits. REUTERS/Mark Blinch

A worker clears snow in downtown Toronto February 1, 2008. Although Canada is one of the snowiest countries in the world, a series of violent ''snow rage'' incidents reveal that even the locals have their limits.

Credit: Reuters/Mark Blinch

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QUEBEC CITY, Quebec (Reuters) - Although Canada is one of the snowiest countries in the world, a series of violent "snow rage" incidents reveal that even the locals have their limits.

Police in the French-speaking province of Quebec said on Wednesday that people were fighting over snow clearing and even parking spaces.

Recent Canadian winters have been mild but this one looks set to break all-time records for snow. One storm last weekend dumped 23 inches on the capital Ottawa and 19 inches on Quebec City, which has already received 210 inches this year.

Quebec City police said they had been called to a dozen violent disputes about snow from one property ending up on someone else's. The drifts outside some houses are 12 feet and higher.

Last Sunday, a man in an upscale Quebec City neighborhood became so upset a woman from a snow removal service was putting snow on his yard that he shouted at her and then took a shovel and hit the window of the vehicle she was driving.

"The woman apologized and returned to work ... a bit later the man opened his garage door and emerged with a shotgun, pointed it at the ground and looked at her in a threatening way," said police spokeswoman Catherine Viel.

Police arrested the man, who will be charged with negligent use of a firearm, and seized a total of 13 weapons from his home. Viel said snow-related fights were unusually common.

"It's happened particularly often this year ... you have to be used to snow if you live in Quebec but it's been a bit extreme this year. People are fed up," she said.

In Montreal, police said a man had produced a toy gun during a heated dispute Sunday between two drivers over a rare parking space. He may face weapons charges.

There may be more trouble to come, since Environment Canada says there is no sign winter is about to end. Snow fell again on Quebec City and Ottawa Wednesday.

Montreal is also having problems disposing of the snow. One massive mound is around 80-feet high and officials told reporters that unless steps were taken to dismantle the pile, much of it would still be there when next winter started.

(Reporting by David Ljunggren, editing by Mario Di Simine)

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