May 2010 – Where’s the sun?

Downtown Moncton (file)

Greater Moncton was dull and dismal throughout May thanks to a lingering low pressure system off Nova Scotia which didn’t want to move away from the region.

Rain, drizzle, and fog were common and when they weren’t, the sky was mostly cloudy.

Although temperatures were cool (especially at mid-month with a string of single digit highs) and precipitation was well above normal, no records were set during the month.

Warmer weather at month’s end helped boost the average overall temperature for May.

MAY 2010 ALMANAC

Average HIGH  14.8 C

Average LOW  5.4 C

AVERAGE  10.1 C (slightly above the 30-year average 1971-2000)

Extreme HIGH  26.3 C (on the 30th)

Extreme LOW  -0.7 C  (on the 2nd)

Precipitation (100% rainfall)  169.1 mm (almost 75% above average)

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Slave Lake residents return home

Charred ruins in Slave Lake, AB 27 May 2011 (CP)

After nearly two weeks away, some residents of Slave Lake, Alberta have been allowed to return home following a devastating wildfire which destroyed almost half of the community.

Early today, a lineup of vans, recreational vehicles, pickups and cars began rolling into the town’s entry point and were greeted by a Canadian flag hung from a ladder of a firefighter’s truck.

The mayor says only residents whose homes were undamaged by the fire were being allowed to return.

Essential services such as power, natural gas, phone and water have already been restored but a boil water advisory is still in effect.

Leaves at last!

Maple leaves in Moncton 24 May 2011

Trees in Greater Moncton have been budding for several weeks now but leaves have finally broken through this week.

Cold, damp weather with little sunshine has delayed budding and blossoming this spring by 2-3 weeks.

Weather officials say a comparison to last year can’t be made since May 2010 was unusually warm and dry.

Deadly twister strikes Missouri

Devastation Joplin, Missouri, USA 23 May 2011 (Reuters)

The deadliest tornado to hit the United States since June 1953 struck the southwestern Missouri city of Joplin yesterday, claiming at least 90 lives.

Many more are missing and injured as searchers look through rubble in this city of 50,000.

The main hospital had its roof blown off and a nursing home and downtown restaurant area also took direct hits.

UPDATE – As of 27 May, officials say the death toll had reached 126 with more than 200 more missing.

First frost warning of season

File photo of downtown Moncton

The growing season is now officially underway and as a result of a chilly overnight low, Environment Canada has issued the following for the region…

Frost warning for Moncton and Southeast New Brunswick
3:45 PM ADT Sunday 22 May 2011

This is a warning that at or near zero ground temperatures will cause frost in parts of these regions.

Clear skies and light winds combined with temperatures in the low single digits will give patchy frost over the above regions overnight tonight.

Forest fire burns Alberta town

Burned out neighbourhood Slave Lake, AB (Reuters)

Almost half of Slave Lake, in northern Alberta, has been destroyed by a raging forest fire.

The town of 7,000 is nearly empty as convoys of cars and trucks evacuated the community over the weekend to escape the flames which at times were whipped by winds of 100 km/h.

Local emergency information was difficult to come by as the radio station and town hall were both destroyed by fire and many residents turned to social media websites such as Facebook to get further details.

No deaths or injuries have been reported.

Historic Mississippi River flooding

Flooding Tunica, MS, USA 11 May 2011 (AP)

The mighty Mississippi River, which flows through America’s Heartland, continues to spill its banks, surpassing one historic height after another since cresting at Memphis, Tennessee last week.

Even as most of the river’s system of levees and floodwalls hold the river in check, dozens of tributaries are overflowing, swamping neighborhoods, devouring homes and driving residents and animals to higher ground.

The slow-moving disaster is expected to cause more than $4 billion in damage and displace thousands.

The U.S. Coast Guard plans to close the river from Baton Rouge to the Gulf of Mexico when the water level surpasses 5 metres at a gauge in New Orleans, which could happen by Monday.

Rain, rain go away!

Rainfall 5 day forecast (Accuweather.com)

Since the end of April, more than 100 mm of rain has fallen in Greater Moncton and parts of southern New Brunswick.

Along with the wet weather, a lot of cloud has meant little sun and daytime high temperatures have been as much as 10 C below normal this week.

Forecasters say a lingering low pressure system sitting off the coast of Nova Scotia is blamed for the dismal weather throughout the region and little change is expected in the short-term forecast.

Manitoba has plan to divert floodwaters

Flooding St. Francis Xavier, MB, 09 May 2011 (CP)

Emergency officials in Manitoba plan to break a dike along the Assiniboine River near Portage la Prairie which will flood at least 150 homes while saving hundreds more from being inundated with water.

An area of 225 square kilometres will be flooded and farmers have been scrambling to move livestock out of the area before the planned breach tomorrow.  

Soldiers have been sandbagging in parts of the province including Brandon where more than 900 residents were evacuated yesterday.

So far, Winnipeg has not been threatened by floodwaters.

Let the budding begin!

Trees budding in downtown Moncton, 06 May 2011

An annual rite of spring is upon us in Southeastern New Brunswick – the trees and shrubs are budding once again!

It is great to see because it helps transform the landscape from the starkness of winter to the greenery of spring.

In another ten days or so, most trees will likely be in full leaf around the region.