April 2014 – Disappointing start to spring

Mountain of snow in NE Moncton, 03 April 2014 (Dearing)

Mountain of snow in NE Moncton, 03 April 2014 (Dearing)

Many might be surprised to learn that the average temperature in Greater Moncton in April 2014 was actually slightly above normal which seems odd given the chilly, wet and overall dreary weather.

A lack of sunshine, a lingering snow cover (which didn’t disappear until 18 April) and damp conditions slowed the arrival of spring and felt like a continuation of the severe winter we just had.

Above normal rainfall, a rapid snow melt and ice break up in rivers led to historic flooding in the Sussex region, swept away a covered bridge and washed out roads – many of which are still partially or fully closed weeks later.

APRIL 2014 ALMANAC (at the Greater Moncton International Airport, 1981-2010)

Average HIGH 8.3 C

Average LOW -0.8 C

AVERAGE 3.7 C (0.2 degrees ABOVE the thirty-year average, 1981-2010)

Extreme HIGH 19.9 C (15 Apr)

Extreme LOW -7.1 C (17 Apr)

Rainfall 96.4 mm (30 percent ABOVE normal)

Snowfall 14.4 cm (50 percent BELOW normal)

(Data courtesy Environment Canada)

Deadly tornadoes strike American South

Tornado destruction in Mayflower, Arkansas, 28 April 2014 (AP)

Tornado destruction in Mayflower, Arkansas, 28 April 2014 (AP)

More than 30 people have been killed by a series of tornadoes across the American South since Sunday.

The states of Arkansas and Mississippi have been hardest hit with hundreds injured, neighborhoods flattened, homes reduced to splinters and trees snapped like twigs.

Tornadoes have also knocked out power to tens of thousands across several states.

Forecasters were calling for more severe conditions today especially near the U.S. Gulf Coast.

Snow mountain officially melted!

NE Moncton, 27 April 2014 (Dearing)

NE Moncton, 27 April 2014 (Dearing)

Greater Moncton finally lost its official season snow cover on 18 April but some snow piles have lingered including a snow mountain in front of my home.

Yesterday, 26 April, the huge pile officially melted away under a beautiful sunny sky and a near seasonal 10 C.

Today, a bone-chilling rain has at least managed to bring back some green grass and even a few dandelions!

Say it isn’t so – SNOW!

Snow in my NE Moncton neighbourhood, 24 April 2014 (Dearing)

Snow in my NE Moncton neighbourhood, 24 April 2014 (Dearing)

I honestly thought we had seen the last of snow in Greater Moncton for the season.

But a cold, bone-chilling rain turned to ice pellets and snow this afternoon when the temperature fell to the freezing point after a daytime high of only 5.3°C.

About 5 cm of snow had accumulated by early evening in Southeast New Brunswick.

Northern parts of the province saw even more snow today with reports of 10-15 cm in Bathurst and Miramichi.

UPDATE – Greater Moncton Airport recorded 30 mm rain (new daily record) and 6.5 cm snow (close to record) yesterday.

Road washout in Notre-Dame flooding

Major washout on Falconer Road in Notre-Dame, NB, 21 April 2014 (Facebook)

Major washout on Falconer Road in Notre-Dame, NB, 21 April 2014 (Facebook)

A blocked culvert on Falconer Road in Notre-Dame, a small community north of Moncton, finally let go Sunday night.

The result was a release of rushing water which swept away 50 metres of the road causing about one million dollars in damage.

More than 50 people were asked to voluntarily evacuate the area in anticipation of the culvert break.

No one was hurt and emergency officials say things could have been a lot worse.

Historic covered bridge swept away

Cherryvale Bridge, before and after (GNB)

Cherryvale Bridge, before and after (GNB)

Covered bridges have been a storied part of New Brunswick’s history but one was lost on Wednesday.

The power of an ice jam and raging flood waters on the Canaan River swept away the Cherryvale Bridge – an 87-year-old covered crossing.

It is not yet clear when a new bridge will be built or if the provincial Department of Transportation will replace it with another covered bridge.

Snow cover finally disappears!

Huge snow mountain nearly gone after two weeks (Dearing)

Huge snow mountain nearly gone after two weeks (Dearing)

Environment Canada says as of today, 18 April, 0 cm of snow is lying on the ground at the Greater Moncton Airport.

Since snow began falling and covering the ground in mid-December, that means Southeast New Brunswick has had a consistent snow cover for about four months!

A lot of melting has taken place in the last couple weeks, as you can see by the picture above, with 80 cm of lying snow at the beginning of this month alone.

Southern N.B. inundated by floodwaters

RV dealership under floodwaters near Sussex, 16 April 2014 (Facebook)

RV dealership under floodwaters near Sussex, 16 April 2014 (Facebook)

Gateway Mall in Sussex, 16 April 2014 (Facebook)

Gateway Mall in Sussex, 16 April 2014 (Facebook)

A combination of heavy rain and melting snow forced many rivers and creeks to spill their banks across Southern New Brunswick today and the run-off often couldn’t be absorbed by the still partially frozen ground.

Many streets in Greater Moncton, especially in low lying or marshy areas, were forced to close or partially close due to floodwaters.

The Sussex area was especially hard hit after an ice jam in the nearby Kennebecasis River and the fast flowing Trout Creek forced water into the downtown area and nearby subdivisions in Sussex Corner.

Some residents had to be rescued by boat today after water surrounded their homes.

The flooding comes amid a dramatic temperature drop caused by a strong cold front which brought down the temperature in Greater Moncton from 15 C at 5-am to only 1 C by 1-pm.

Not quite beach weather yet!

Parlee Beach, NB, 12 April 2014 (Dearing)

Parlee Beach, NB, 12 April 2014 (Dearing)

To help celebrate the arrival of spring, I decided to take a drive to the beach yesterday.

Well, I realized that it’s not exactly beach weather just yet!

Parlee Beach in Shediac was still partially ice covered and Shediac Bay was still mostly frozen over but breaking up quickly.

It was a very different story in 2012, when above normal spring temperatures had been sending sun seekers to the beach since the end of March.

Snow mountain is melting – Week 2

Week-over-week snow mountain comparison (Dearing)

Week-over-week snow mountain comparison (Dearing)

The snow is melting in Moncton thanks to a string of days with slightly above normal daytime highs and chilly overnight lows.

As of 09 April, 38 cm of lying snow was recorded at the Greater Moncton Airport which is down considerably from 80 cm at the beginning of the month and below the record of 46 cm from 1963.

The most snow lying on the ground this season was 88 cm recorded on 31 December.

As you can see above, the mountain of snow in my NE Moncton neighbourhood has been melting quickly over the past week.