01/27/2015 01:13 EST | Updated 03/29/2015 05:59 EDT

Montrealers on U.S. East Coast react to snow storm

A howling blizzard heaped snow on Boston but mostly spared New York City. Officials in New York lifted a travel ban and restarted subway trains amid better-than-expected weather conditions.

Montrealers in the Big Apple told CBC's Daybreak that the snow storm didn't stack up to predictions. 

"There’s not a lot of snow, it’s basically an ordinary winter day for Montrealers," said Aaron Chase, from NDG who lives in Park Slope, Brooklyn.  

"I was kind of banking on the fact that it would not be an utter “snowpocalypse” as people predicted... I don’t think this storm merited any reaction whatsoever."

Total accumulation was expected to reach or exceed about half a metre in most of Massachusetts, potentially making it one of the area's top snowstorms of all time. 

But weather officials downgraded the severity of the storm early Tuesday, saying Boston and the northeastern New England region would fare the worst, but even then not as bad as expected.

"I get to use my winter boots for once," said Sacha Veillette, an ex-Montrealer who now lives in the Boston area. "Winter here is pretty mild so this is a big storm for here for sure and it’s going to keep falling." 

Hydro-Québec helps out 

On Monday, Hydro-Québec sent 180 employees and 75 trucks to the Greater Boston Area. 

Spokesman Serge Abergel said Hydro-Québec and National Grid are part of a mutual assistance group, so the organizations can help each other out in times of need.

"It’s a very important part of our collaboration with our neighbours," said Abergel.

He said National Grid sent crews to Quebec during the 1998 Ice Storm.

Maritimes hit hard

Montreal escaped the storm's wrath but it did hit eastern Quebec and the Maritimes.

Highway 20 east of Quebec city is a no-go zone as the storm forced road closures all the way up to the coast until Rimouski.

There are wind warnings, winter storm warnings and blowing snow advisories in effect across the area, with winds gusting to 90 km/h along the coast.

Dozens of flights have been cancelled and transportation officials have shut down a 170-kilometre stretch of the Trans-Canada Highway in New Brunswick and Nova Scotia as a blizzard wreaked havoc on travel across nearly every county in the Maritimes.