February 2009 – Milder!

It may not have seemed like it at times but things did warm up substantially in Greater Moncton in February compared to January.

Daytime highs were close to or slightly above freezing for the most part and overnight lows were considerably milder than last month especially in the second half of February.

Snowfall was actually slightly above normal for the month but was confined to three major snow events.

FEBRUARY 2009 ALMANAC

Average HIGH  -0.6 C

Average LOW  -11.3 C

Average  -6.0 C  (2 degrees above normal)

Extreme HIGH  8.7 C

Extreme LOW  -20.8 C

Rainfall  28.4 mm (near normal)

Snowfall  71.3 cm (slightly above normal)

Snow bomb hits NB

Sidewalks were impassable in Moncton

Sidewalks were impassable in Moncton

The latest storm to hit New Brunswick yesterday is being referred to as a “snow bomb” – the storm intensified quickly in a short period of time, got refuelled over the Bay of Fundy and the Gulf of Maine and slammed into the province.

Greater Moncton got off relatively easy with 21 cm of snow, compared to Fredericton with 48 cm, Bathurst with 55 cm and Kouchibouguac with 60 cm.

Fredericton now has 71 cm of snow on the ground – the most in at least 22 years.

Greater Moncton virtually shut down on Monday and pedestrians were forced onto the streets awaiting the sidewalks to be plowed.

Winter escape to Cuba

Playa Esmeralda in Guardalavaca

Playa Esmeralda in Guardalavaca

In what is becoming my annual pilgrimage to Cuba (third trip), I spent a week along the north coast of Holguin province in Guardalavaca from February 14th to the 21st.

I was lucky enough to experience warm sunny days (generally 27 to 30 C) and cool, comfortable nights (16 to 20 C).

The only time in rained during the week was on the bus trip from the hotel to the airport – I figured it was a sign it was time to leave.

I’ll miss you Cuba – see you next year – hopefully!

Tornadoes strike Oklahoma

Damage is assessed in Edmond, OK, USA

Damage is assessed in Edmond, OK, USA

A series of tornadoes touched down in the Oklahoma City, USA  area yesterday claiming at least 8 lives.

A mobile home park in the community of Lone Grove was hardest hit.

It is rare for tornadoes to strike Oklahoma in winter but it has happened before – 44 twisters have struck the state in February since 1950.

Deadly fires in Australia

Fires in Kilmore, N of Melbourne

Fires in Kilmore, N of Melbourne

Hundreds of wildfires continue to burn in southeastern Australia with the state of Victoria being the hardest hit.

The fires have been fuelled by high winds, record heat and drought.

More than 200 people have died and more than 800 homes have been destroyed leaving at least 5,000 homeless.

Investigators say some of the fires may have been deliberately set.

More snow in UK, Ireland

Road chaos in Bristol, England

Road chaos in Bristol, England

Drivers had to be rescued from their cars today in Britain as more snow fell over the country.

As much as 30 cm of snow fell in Exeter, southwestern England, while rain and sleet mainly fell in London.

In Ireland, heavy snow and below freezing temepratures turned roads and airport runways into ice rinks creating chaos.

This is already being described as Ireland’s coldest winter since 1991.

Snow creates chaos in Britain

London's Big Ben covered in snow

London's Big Ben covered in snow

Southeast England was pounded with as much as 25 cm of snow today with London getting about 10 cm – the most in the capital in 18 years.

Transportation ground to a halt with trains cancelled, buses pulled off the roads and a jet even skidded off a runway at Heathrow Airport.

Several centimetres of snow also fell in Paris, Madrid and even as far south as Morocco. 

Forecasters say more snow could fall in Britain later this week.

Groundhog Day

Punxsutawney Phil

Punxsutawney Phil

The three major groundhog prognosticators have had their say -Ontario’s Wiarton Willie, Nova Scotia’s Shubenacadie Sam and Pennsylavania’s Punxsutawney Phil all saw their shadows this morning.

In groundhog lore, that means six more weeks of winter – if they had not seen their shadows it would have meant an early spring.

But can we really rely on groundhogs to predict weather?  Afterall, U.S. climatologists say Phil has only been right 39 percent of the time.