December 2010 – Stormy to remember


December was a stormy month to remember in New Brunswick – with historic late autumn flooding in the southwest along the Bay of Fundy to powerful storm surges crashing along the eastern Northumberland Strait and northern Bay of Chaleur coastlines.

In Greater Moncton, not only were temperatures well above average (by almost 5 C) but the region had three times as much rain and oddly enough slightly less snow than normal.

Monday seemed to be a popular day of the week for storms with three major rain events on one major snow event during the month.

DECEMBER 2010 Almanac

Average HIGH  2.5 C

Average LOW  -4.2 C

AVERAGE  -0.8 C (4.7 degrees Celsius above the 30-year average)

Extreme HIGH  15.3 C (on the 13th)

Extreme LOW  -11.3 C (on the 30th)

Rainfall  138.0 mm (almost three times above normal)

Snowfall  49.5 cm (slightly below normal)

Blizzard of 2010

Blizzard in Bradley Beach, NJ, USA 27 Dec 10

The massive Boxing Day storm which impacted much of the Northeastern United States is being called the “Blizzard of 2010”.

Air travel in America’s busiest airspace nearly shut down and road and rail transport was crippled.

Thousands of stranded air passengers turned terminals in Philadelphia, New York and Boston  into open-air hotels while they waited for planes to take off and land on plowed runways.

Flights slowly resumed, although experts said it would likely take several days to rebook all the displaced passengers.

Blizzard snow totals…

Boston Logan Arpt  46 cm

Portland, Maine  23 cm

Atlantic City, NJ  51 cm

New York Central Park, NY  51 cm

Philadelphia Arpt  32 cm

Another Nor’easter!

Snowy Mountain Road, Moncton, NB 27 Dec 10 (courtesy TWN)

The fourth Monday of December and the fourth storm (second Nor’easter in a week) of the month to impact Greater Moncton and Southeastern New Brunswick – this time with more snow than rain.

Environment Canada is forecasting another changeover back to snow before the storm moves away tomorrow and colder air moves into the region for the rest of the week (and 2010).

Storm totals…

Bathurst  41 cm

Kouchbouguac Park  30 cm

Greater Moncton Airport  27 cm

Saint John Airport  16 cm

White Christmas 2010

Snow map North America 25 Dec 10 (courtesy NOAA)

Technically speaking, Moncton just barely had a White Christmas by definition… 2 cm of snow lying on the ground on Christmas Day… that is the official definition from Environment Canada.

Much of the Maritimes, including Truro, NS where I spent the holiday, had a Green Christmas or barely a white dusting on the ground.

Meantime many areas of the American South including Georgia and the Carolinas which seldom even see snow, had a White Christmas.

Atlanta, Georgia had 3.3 cm of snow on Christmas Day – the first time the city had a White Christmas since 1882.

California clobbered by storms

Rescue in Redlands, CA near LA 22 Dec 10

Many California residents who endured flooding, mudslides and evacuations during a weeklong onslaught of rain must now clean up or even rebuild and could face the prospect of not being able to spend Christmas at home.

Preliminary damage estimates throughout California were already in the tens of millions of dollars and were expected to rise.

The inland region of Southern California east of Los Angeles was emerging as among the hardest hit areas, especially San Bernardino County.

While more than 500 cm of snow has fallen in the Sierra Nevada Mountains, coastal cities like Los Angeles have been drenched with as much as 200 mm of rain (more than half the annual total) this week alone.

Relentless storm surge eases

Flooding Main Street, Shediac, NB 21 Dec 10

Environment Canada has ended weather warnings for New Brunswick which has been pounded by high winds and rain for much of the week.

The cleanup continues along the Northumberland Strait coast where homes, businesses and tourist attractions such as Parlee Beach, Pointe du Chene Wharf and Irving Eco-Centre have been badly damaged by a powerful storm surge.

Forecasters say more minor flooding is possible this evening during high tide.

The storm is now centred over the  Grand Banks of Newfoundland where it continues to meander very slowly away.

Nor’easter packs 1-2-3 punch!

Wharf at Pointe du Chene, NB 21 Dec 10

For the third start to the workweek in a row, a storm is lashing New Brunswick – this time a Nor’easter with drenching rain, strong winds and pounding surf.

Winds up to 90 km/h, combined with a high tide and a full moon, have created a significant storm surge along coasts of the Gulf of St Lawrence and Northumberland Strait.

Coastal flooding and coastal infrastructure damage was reported this afternoon in communities like Shediac and Pointe du Chene.

Environment Canada says conditions will improve tonight after the high tide passes and water levels fall.

Meantime, winter officially arrives at 7:38pm AT.

Snow snarls transport in Europe

Oxford Street, London, UK 18 Dec 10

Snow has been falling on and off for several days across Northern Europe as millions of travellers attempt to get to their destinations in time for Christmas.

Heathrow Airport in London has been either shut down or partially closed since Saturday with as much as 20 cm of snow creating cancellations and delays.

Retailers in London also report a drop in sales due to the storm as shoppers stay away from stores on the last weekend before Christmas.

Children have been making snowmen around the Eiffel Tower in Paris while others take to the hills around the French capital for snowboarding with as much as 15 cm of snow.

Germany has been pummelled with as much as 40 cm of snow in some areas snarling rail, road and air transport around the major cities of Munich, Berlin and Frankfurt.

Pre-Xmas snow for large swath of USA

U.S. Capitol, Washington, DC 16 Dec 10

Snow fell on Washington, DC for the first time this season after creating havoc in other parts of the USA earlier this week.

Only about 5 cm of snow fell but it was enough to snarl traffic and cause delays and cancellations at DC area airports.

A small amount compared to the mounds of snow that have fallen over the American Midwest and Great Lakes region with enough to collapse the Metrodome in Minneapolis.

Indianapolis, Cleveland and Pittsburgh are also digging out from major snowfalls from this storm.

Unprecedented flooding in NB

Flooding in Fredericton, NB 14 Dec 10

Emergency officials in New Brunswick say they’ve never seen it before – this level of flooding in mid-December which seems more typical for early spring.

Hundreds living along the swollen St. John River are starting to mop up after water filled their basements and yards during a powerful storm.

Officials warn it will take some time for floodwaters to recede and streams might swell even further if the area receives any more precipitation in the coming days.

Meantime, more record highs were set yesterday including at the Greater Moncton Airport which hit a new high of 13.9 C beating the old record of 10.6 C from 1968.