January 2014 – A rollercoaster ride!

A collision on an icy Salisbury Road near Moncton, 11 Jan 2014 (Facebook)

A collision on an icy Salisbury Road near Moncton, 11 Jan 2014 (Facebook)

From near record cold to near record warmth, January proved to be a real rollercoaster ride in Greater Moncton and Southeast New Brunswick.

In an unusual twist, much more rain fell during the month than snow which was a stark contrast to a very white December.

After all of the ups and downs, the overall monthly temperature was actually above normal and total precipitation was close to average.

JANUARY 2014 ALMANAC (at the Greater Moncton International Airport)

Average HIGH  -2.1 C

Average LOW -12.5 C

AVERAGE  -7.3 C (about 1.6 degrees ABOVE the 30-year average 1981-2010)

Extreme HIGH 11.2 C (12 Jan)

Extreme LOW -28.1 C (02 Jan)

Rainfall 83.6 mm (about 90 percent ABOVE average)

Snowfall  32.8 cm (about 60 percent BELOW average)

(Data courtesy Environment Canada)

American South paralyzed by winter storm

Icy road littered with vehicles near Birmingham, Alabama, USA, 28 Jan 2014 (AP)

Icy road littered with vehicles near Birmingham, Alabama, USA, 28 Jan 2014 (AP)

All modes of travel were halted over the American South yesterday from Texas to North Carolina thanks to a winter storm that dumped freezing rain and snow on the region.

Although most areas received less than 10 cm of snow, the region is not used to wintry weather and some cities don’t even have snow plows or salt trucks.

At least five states declared emergencies when motorists were left stranded in their vehicles, students were forced to stay in schools overnight and many others sought shelter in churches and even grocery stores.

Icy highways led to hundreds of collisions, many involving tractor trailers which jack-knifed and blocked traffic.

The same system is impacting the Maritimes today with less than 5 cm of snow expected in New Brunswick and higher amounts near the Atlantic coast of Nova Scotia.

Double flash freeze in southern N.B.

Courtesy Facebook/Cindy Day

Courtesy Facebook/Cindy Day

Temperatures have been on a wild rollercoaster ride in Greater Moncton over the past few days.

A frigid Saturday morning low of -21 C became +3 C by later that evening and precipitation changed from snow to rain.

After a high of +4 Sunday morning, the temperature fell sharply throughout the day to -16 C which led to a flash freeze.

Today the temperature rose dramatically until it reached +6 C by late afternoon with more rain.

Environment Canada issued another flash freeze warning tonight as the thermometer tumbles to a forecast low of -15 C by tomorrow morning.

Phew!

Nor’easter lets N.B. off relatively easy

Blizzard conditions in downtown Moncton, 22 Jan 2013 (Dearing)

Blizzard conditions in downtown Moncton, 22 Jan 2013 (Dearing)

The sixth winter storm of the 2013-14 season produced high winds, snow and widespread blowing snow for Southeast New Brunswick.

Greater Moncton received 15 cm of snow from the Nor’easter with a peak wind gust of 82 km/h.

Similar amounts of snow fell along the Fundy coast with far lesser amounts inland.

Nova Scotia took more of a beating from this storm as 24 cm of snow fell in Halifax and about 30 cm in Yarmouth and Sydney along with wind gusts between 70 and 100 km/h.

Prince Edward Island was also hard hit with more than 37 cm of snow in Charlottetown but only 12 cm in Summerside.

Winter returns to New Brunswick

BlizzardAfter a week-long mild spell dubbed “wintermission”, winter has returned to New Brunswick with cold, Arctic air back in the region and a storm on the way.

Environment Canada has issued a blizzard warning for Greater Moncton and Southeast New Brunswick for tomorrow with up to 30 cm of snow and strong winds creating blowing and drifting snow.

The low pressure system is impacting the American Northeast today with between 15 and 30 cm of snow expected from Washington, DC to Boston.

California declares a drought

Smoke from a wildfire behind the Los Angeles skyline, 16 Jan 2014 (LA Times)

Smoke from a wildfire behind the Los Angeles skyline, 16 Jan 2014 (LA Times)

The state of California formally declared drought conditions this week in an effort to receive federal aid.

Hundreds of wildfires have been reported this winter – normally the wettest time of year – as bone-dry conditions persist.

Thousands of residents were allowed to return home this weekend after firefighters contained a wildfire in the suburbs northeast of Los Angeles which destroyed at least five homes.

Heatwave subsides in Australia

Cooling off at the Australian Open in Melbourne, 14 Jan 2014 (Getty Images)

Cooling off at the Australian Open in Melbourne, 14 Jan 2014 (Getty Images)

An extremely hot air mass which enveloped much of southern Australia this week has finally subsided after temperatures climbed into the mid-40s Celsius.

Heat records were shattered and both players and spectators of the Australian Open Tennis Tournament in Melbourne tried to cool off when the thermometer climbed above 40 C.

The normal January high in Melbourne – at the height of summer Down Under – is in the high 20s C.

The heatwave led to power blackouts to conserve energy and more than 100 bushfires in South Australia, Victoria and New South Wales.

Heavy rain causes flooding in Greater Moncton

Mill Creek spills banks over Route 114 at Riverview town limits, 15 Jan 2014 (Dearing)

Mill Creek spills banks over Route 114 at Riverview town limits, 15 Jan 2014 (Dearing)

Greater Moncton received 30.8 mm of rain yesterday which breaks the previous record of 21 mm from 1992 according to Environment Canada.

As a result of the heavy rain and snowmelt, flooding has become a problem in low lying areas.

Acadie Avenue in Dieppe, a provincial highway carrying more than 24,000 vehicles per day, has been virtually shut down due to flooding although efforts are being made to open at least one lane of traffic.

In Riverview, Hillsborough Road at the town limits has been inundated with water after Mill Creek spilled its banks today leading to a lengthy detour for many motorists.

Route 106 between Memramcook and Dorchester has also been closed due to flooding this week.

The forecast is calling for at least 10 mm of rain in Southeast New Brunswick tomorrow.

Record highs during January thaw

A collision on an icy Salisbury Road near Moncton, 11 Jan 2014 (Facebook)

A collision on an icy Salisbury Road near Moncton, 11 Jan 2014 (Facebook)

Numerous record highs have been shattered across New Brunswick during a significant January thaw.

In Greater Moncton, the thermometer reached 11.2°C today which breaks the old record of 10.7°C from 1980 and is the warmest spot in the province.

Other record highs include 10.1°C in Kouchibouguac and 10.2°C in Alma while the national warm spot was in Cheticamp, Nova Scotia with a spring-like 14.2°C.

Precipitation began as freezing rain yesterday and before the temperature rose and the rain started, roads became extremely icy across New Brunswick.

Some sections of the Trans Canada Highway were shut down after the road resembled a skating rink.

UPDATE – Strong winds gusting to more than 100 km/h were reported in parts of Nova Scotia which brought down tree branches and destroyed many signs in the Halifax area.

Lots of rain coming to New Brunswick

Polar vortex retreats with frigid air now in High Arctic (Accuweather.com)

Polar vortex retreats with frigid air now in High Arctic (Accuweather.com)

An intense low pressure system is bringing a lot of rain up the Eastern Seaboard and it is headed for New Brunswick tomorrow.

Environment Canada has posted rainfall warnings for virtually the entire province.

Greater Moncton could see as much as 25 mm of rain by Sunday with higher amounts expected along the Fundy coast.

Precipitation may begin as snow or freezing rain but will quickly change to rain as the thermometer rises to a near record high of 11°C later this weekend.