01/27/2014 02:07 EST | Updated 03/29/2014 05:59 EDT

Multi-vehicle pileup shuts down part of Quebec highway amid blowing snow

MONTREAL - Blowing snow and strong winds caused an estimated 150 traffic accidents in Quebec on Monday, with at least two deaths attributed to the blustery conditions.

Part of a major Quebec highway was shut down after a multi-vehicle smash-up that left seven people seriously injured and many others stranded.

A man died in Saint-Edmond-de-Grantham, about 100 kilometres northeast of Montreal, when his car was struck by a tractor-trailer.

In Saint-Georges, about 100 kilometres southeast of Quebec City, a woman was killed in a head-on collision with a truck.

And, a third death occurred on Highway 30 in the Vaudreuil-Dorion area off the western tip of the island of Montreal when two tractor-trailers collided, killing one of the drivers.

Visibility was reduced to zero in some places as snow was blown around by strong winds.

Provincial police spokesman Gino Pare said about 30 people were trapped in their vehicles after trucks and cars crashed into each other on Highway 15 south in the Laurentians north of Montreal.

Firefighters, police and ambulance crews used the jaws of life to pry people out of their vehicles.

The highway was closed in two directions around Mirabel and Ste-Adele while emergency crews freed the vehicles' occupants and tow trucks hauled away the wrecks.

Provincial police also reported a 20-car pileup near Levis but there were no serious injuries.