July 2014 – Amazing summer so far!

Alma, NB, 01 July 2014 (Dearing)

Alma, NB, 01 July 2014 (Dearing)

With warm temperatures and plenty of sunshine, residents of Greater Moncton and Southeast New Brunswick could not have asked for a better July.

Environment Canada says the average temperature during the month was 2.3 C above the thirty year average while rainfall was about 20 percent above normal.

The only spoiler was Arthur – a nasty post-tropical storm which pounded the province on 05 July with gusty winds at times stronger than hurricane force bringing down trees and power lines.

Thousands went without electricity for days in the Fredericton area.

JULY 2014 ALMANAC (at the Greater Moncton International Airport)

Average HIGH. 26.9 C

Average LOW. 15.3 C

AVERAGE. 21.1 C (about 2.3 degrees ABOVE normal)

Extreme HIGH. 31.3 C (01 July)

Extreme LOW. 11.3 (05, 06 July)

Rainfall 112.6 mm (about 20 percent ABOVE normal)

(Data courtesy Environment Canada based on period 1981-2010)

Polar vortex in July

Courtesy The Old Farmers Almanac

Courtesy The Old Farmers Almanac

Most of us are familiar with the polar vortex.

Last winter, the cold outbreak sunk deep into North America and brought frigid conditions to much of the continent.

But the polar vortex can happen in July too and essentially during mid-summer, it means the jet stream is taking an unusually deep trek south.

For Ontario, it has meant below seasonal temperatures this July.

As a matter of fact, St. John’s has had more days above 25 C this month than Toronto which is fairly significant given the Ontario capital’s typical hot and humid weather during July.

Fortunately, New Brunswick like Newfoundland has been on the other side of the jet stream this month with warm, sunny days and above seasonal temperatures.

Wildfire rages in B.C.’s Okanagan Valley

Smith Creek wildfire near West Kelowna, B.C. (Facebook)

Smith Creek wildfire near West Kelowna, BC, 20 July 2014 (Facebook)

The so-called Smith Creek wildfire is roughly half contained according to British Columbia fire officials and thousands have been allowed to return to their homes in West Kelowna.

About 300 residents remain evacuated since their homes are deemed to be closest to the fire.

The Smith Creek wildfire is roughly 260 hectares in size and officials say blazes inside the perimeter will keep burning and will be visible for several weeks.

Forecasters say recent wet weather will end and hot, dry conditions are expected to return later this week.

July Supermoon

Courtesy The Old Farmer's Almanac

Courtesy The Old Farmer’s Almanac

The full Moon appeared bigger and brighter last night – the July “Supermoon”!

The Supermoon occurs when the Moon becomes full on the same day as perigee – the point at which the Moon is nearest Earth each month so it can appear up to 30 percent brighter.

This effect can be enhanced if you are viewing the Moon near a horizon or through trees and other foreground objects.

In fact, this summer will bring three “Supermoons”— 12 July, 10 August, and 09 September.

Cleanup underway after Arthur

Trees and branches down in Fredericton, NB, 06 July 2014 (Twitter)

Trees and branches down in Fredericton, NB, 06 July 2014 (Twitter)

NB Power says the aftermath of Arthur is the worst event for outages in the history of the provincial utility.

At the peak, about 140,000 customers were left in the dark in New Brunswick and the majority of those were in the Fredericton region.

Officials in the provincial capital estimate more than 2,000 trees either came down or were damaged during the storm and that has created havoc for power crews.

A spokesperson for NB Power anticipates that 80 percent of customers will have electricity back by Wednesday.

In the meantime, a number of public buildings have been turned into recharging stations for medical devices, mobile phones and tablets/laptop computers.

UPDATE – Eight days after Arthur, NB Power is still reporting about 4,000 outages, mostly in Greater Fredericton, due to a tangled mess of downed trees and power lines.

Aftermath of Arthur

Courtesy TWN

Courtesy TWN

Arthur packed quite a punch across the Maritimes yesterday with strong, gusty winds along the Bay of Fundy, across southern New Brunswick and Nova Scotia’s Annapolis Valley.

Environment Canada is also reporting impressive rainfall amounts with a whopping 143 mm at St. Stephen – more than a month’s worth of rain in less than 24 hours!

Meantime, rain was light across Prince Edward Island, eastern Nova Scotia and Cape Breton.

Greater Moncton seems to have been spared the worst of Arthur with a peak wind gust of 67 km/h and about 36 mm of rain.

Arthur downgraded to post-tropical storm

George Street in Fredericton, NB, 05 July 2014 (Twitter)

George Street in Fredericton, NB, 05 July 2014 (Twitter)

Arthur made landfall in the Maritimes as a post-tropical storm near Meteghan, Nova Scotia around 7:30 a.m. today.

Forecasters at the Canadian Hurricane Centre say winds are strongest to the right of the storm in the Annapolis Valley (topping 140 km/h) and rain has been heaviest to the left of the storm in central and southern New Brunswick (over 150 mm).

More than 200,000 customers have lost power in the region with social media users reporting flooding and downed trees in Saint John, Fredericton and Halifax.

In Greater Moncton, periods of heavy rain and gusty winds have been ongoing since this morning with leaves, branches and even a few trees coming down.

 

What can New Brunswick expect from Arthur?

ArthurAccuweather is suggesting New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island will bear the brunt of the rain from Arthur while Nova Scotia will receive the strongest winds from the storm.

By the time Arthur arrives in the Maritimes on Saturday, it is expected to be downgraded from a hurricane to a tropical storm.

Greater Moncton could get winds gusting between 65 and 95 km/h with anywhere from 50-100 mm of rain.

Arthur upgraded to a hurricane

Courtesy Canadian Hurricane Centre

Courtesy Canadian Hurricane Centre

Forecasters say the season’s first hurricane is expected to bring significant rain and wind to the Maritimes on Saturday.

Arthur became a hurricane today with maximum sustained winds of about 120 kilometres per hour.

Forecasters say a trough of low pressure will move eastward from the Great Lakes and guide the storm toward the Maritimes.

The Canadian Hurricane Centre says the storm’s projected track has been moved slightly to the west with significant rain and wind for the Maritimes but it’s too early to make rainfall and wind speed predictions.

Heat warning for New Brunswick

Alma, NB, 01 July 2014 (Dearing)

Alma, NB, 01 July 2014 (Dearing)

Environment Canada issued a heat warning today for all of New Brunswick and it will remain in place for 02 July as well.

A warm and humid air mass over the Maritimes has resulted in humidex values reaching and exceeding 40.

Only some coastal areas will escape the heat, especially along the Fundy coast where onshore southwesterly winds will bring cooler temperatures.

Greater Moncton climbed to 31.3°C (humidex 38) today but the hot spot in the province was Bathurst at 34.2°C (humidex 40).