Satellite of the Maritimes with mid-February 2015 on left and mid-February 2016 on right (NASA)
February proved to be milder than January in Greater Moncton – an above normal trend which began last fall thanks to what forecasters call a strong El Nino.
The temperature was often riding the weather rollercoaster with dramatic highs and lows within a 24 period.
Rainfall including freezing rain was higher than normal and although snowfall was heavy most of it fell during one event (38 cm) on 5 February.
FEBRUARY 2016 ALMANAC (at the Greater Moncton International Airport)
Average HIGH. 1.3 C
Average LOW. -10.0 C
AVERAGE. -4.4 C (about 3.4 degrees ABOVE normal)
Extreme HIGH. 13.9 C (25 Feb)
Extreme LOW. -21.5 C (15 Feb)
Rainfall. 33.3 mm (about 15 percent ABOVE normal)
Snowfall. 79.6 cm (almost 20 percent ABOVE normal)
(Data courtesy Environment Canada)
Freezing rain clings as ice on trees near Fredericton, 16 Feb 2016 (Twitter)
If anyone has ever wondered why Canadians talk about the weather so much, the previous 24-hours in Greater Moncton should serve as a great example.
The temperature bottomed out at -21.5 C yesterday morning (coldest yet this winter) and by this morning the high reached a balmy +10 C – a dramatic range of more than 30 degrees in barely a day.
Although temperature swings are common in New Brunswick during mid-winter, this one is especially extreme.
Environment Canada has issued various weather warnings for freezing rain and rain but snow is expected to be relatively light as a low pressure system moves across the region.
A view of Toronto from Lake Ontario, 13 Feb 2016 (Toronto Star)
The coldest shot of winter 2015-16 has enveloped New Brunswick with an early morning low of -21.0 C in Greater Moncton and as frigid as -32 C in central and northern parts of the province.
Wind chills could drop as low as -35 by Monday morning.
The Arctic dome of air has also led Environment Canada to issue extreme cold warnings for much of Ontario, Quebec, Labrador and all of New Brunswick except the Southeast and Fundy coast.
Extreme cold warnings are issued when very cold temperatures or wind chill creates health risks such as frost bite and hypothermia.
Strong winds create blowing snow in NE Moncton, 09 Feb 2016 (Dearing)
Snow and strong winds from a powerful Nor’easter finally tapered off in Southeast New Brunswick this evening.
During a 36 hour period, Environment Canada reported strong winds in Greater Moncton at times gusting as high as 74 km/h.
The snow was light yesterday and became heavier by early this morning but in the end less than 20 cm had accumulated.
Nova Scotia took a bigger pounding as blizzard warnings were posted across the province and almost 50 cm of snow fell in Halifax and eastern Cape Breton Island.
Snow begins falling in downtown Moncton, 05 Feb 2016 (City of Moncton)
Snow began falling early yesterday in Greater Moncton and by the time a fast-moving low pressure system moved out early today, almost 38 cm had accumulated according to Environment Canada.
This storm is by far the biggest snow event of the winter to date in Southeast New Brunswick.
Just a couple of days ago, the ground was virtually bare!
Snow was also heavy in Saint John with about 32 cm but northern New Brunswick got off easy with this storm with only 7 cm in Bathurst.
Radar image taken at 8pm, 03 February 2016 (Bing Maps)
A fast shot of snow created slippery driving conditions in Greater Moncton during the afternoon commute with numerous fender benders and vehicles sliding into the ditch.
A low pressure system brought the snow and southerly winds will eventually bring mild temperatures with a high of 12 C expected tomorrow.
In the meantime, Environment Canada says the snow will change to ice pellets and then to freezing rain and rain overnight.
Snow has almost completely melted in NE Moncton, 02 February 2015 (Dearing)
Southwesterly winds and some sunshine helped push the temperature to 11.0 C in Greater Moncton yesterday – just shy of the record high of 12.2 C from 1951.
That means it was the warmest daytime high since 27 November.
The mild weather allowed the snow cover to nearly disappear.
Environment Canada is forecasting another shot of warmth later this week.