May 2016 – Full of surprises

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Wooded trail in Irishtown Nature Park, NB, 29 May 2016 (Dearing)

Greater Moncton was actually warmer than normal in May according to Environment Canada but somehow it seemed cooler than average.

Overnight lows were quite cold throughout the month with five nights either at or below freezing and just three nights at or higher than 10 C.

Daytime highs varied widely with six days failing to reach 10 C and eleven days climbing to at least 20 C or more.

Rainfall was below normal with snow flurries spotted on 09 May and measurable snow in western New Brunswick as late as 16 May.

MAY 2016 ALMANAC (at the Greater Moncton International Airport)

Average HIGH  16.7 C

Average LOW  4.7 C

AVERAGE  10.7 C (about 0.7 degrees ABOVE 30-year average)

Extreme HIGH  29.5 C (31 May, new record high for date)

Extreme LOW  -4.0 C (01 May)

RAINFALL  75.0 mm (about 20 percent BELOW 30-year average)

(Data courtesy Environment Canada)

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Dramatic drop in temperature!

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Dark clouds over NE Moncton, 31 May 2016 (Dearing)

The warmest temperature so far in 2016 was recorded in Greater Moncton this afternoon with a warm high of 29.5 C – beating today’s record of 29.3 C from 1999.

But a strong cold front moved across Southeast New Brunswick which prompted Environment Canada to issue a severe thunderstorm warning shortly after 6pm.

In less than an hour, the temperature dropped nine degrees from 27 C to 18 C and hail was reported north of Moncton.

The front has ushered in much cooler temperatures with a high tomorrow of only 13 C and a risk of frost by early Thursday morning.

Thunderstorms roll across NB

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Flooding on Pine Glen Road, Riverview, NB, 25 May 2016 (Facebook)


For the first time this spring, a series of thunderstorms rolled across New Brunswick with various watches and warnings issued by Environment Canada.

Greater Moncton received heavy downpours from thundershowers early this afternoon.

In many parts of the city, so much rain fell so quickly that storm drains were inundated with water causing localized flooding.

Riverview seemed hardest hit with flooding reported in Gunningsville, Point Park and West Riverview by mid-afternoon.

UPDATE – Although less than 10 mm of rain fell at Greater Moncton Airport, some backyard observers suggest more than 100 mm fell in parts of Riverview.

First beach day of the season!

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Aboiteau Beach, Cap-Pele, NB, 21 May 2016 (Dearing)

A warm, beautiful day in Greater Moncton was a great excuse to head to the beach.

Aboiteau Beach in Cap-Pele became my destination with a decent crowd for the Victoria Day weekend although the water was a bit chilly for swimming.

The temperature in Greater Moncton climbed to almost 28 C and likely a few degrees cooler along the coast but still the warmest day this spring and in 2016!

NB under frost advisory

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Hummingbird feeder awaits visitors in NE Moncton, 18 May 2016 (Dearing)

If you have any sensitive plants outside, bring them indoors tonight!

Frost is possible for all of New Brunswick overnight especially in low-lying areas.

Environment Canada says light winds and clear skies will allow temperatures to fall near freezing by early tomorrow.

The average last spring frost date in Greater Moncton is 24 May while in Saint John it is 18 May.

Heavy snow falls in western NB

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Snowy scene along TCH near Perth-Andover, NB, 16 May 2016 (NB Hwy Cams)


With a cold, intermittent rain shower, the thermometer barely reached 7 C at midday in Greater Moncton and with strong winds gusting near 70 km/h, the wind chill made it feel more like -3 C.

Did I mention it was the middle of May and it also snowed today in western New Brunswick and in the neighbouring State of Maine?

Up to 20 centimetres of snow fell over Carleton and Victoria Counties thanks to a blast of Arctic air and a low pressure system moving through the region.

Forecasters say temperatures will improve as the week goes on with highs near the seasonal mark of 17 C by Thursday.

PM Trudeau in Fort McMurray

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Prime Minister Justin Trudeau tours burnt-out areas of Fort McMurray, AB with Fire Chief Darby Allen, 13 May 2016 (Reuters)


Prime Minister Justin Trudeau visited Fort McMurray on Friday for the first time since wildfires destroyed more than 10 percent of the city or about 2,400 buildings.

Trudeau praised the work of emergency responders including firefighters for helping to save most of the city including the downtown core.

More than 90,000 people remain displaced and are staying with family or friends or remain in evacuation centres waiting for word on when they can return home.

Trudeau announced an extension of jobless benefits for those in the region which follows emergency financial aid announced for fire victims by the Red Cross and the Alberta government.

Although the wildfires have moved away from Fort McMurray, officials say the blazes could burn for weeks to come in forested areas.

What a difference a day makes!

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Parlee Beach, NB, 07 May 2016 (Dearing)


Spring can often be volatile in New Brunswick.

Perhaps that explains why Greater Moncton had a daytime high of 22 C yesterday and snow flurries this morning when the temperature fell near freezing.

But unlike last week, this round of chilly weather is not expected to last long with temperatures climbing close to the average high of 16 C for mid-May.

Cold, clouds linger in Southeast NB

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Magnolia tree in bloom, downtown Moncton, 03 May 2016 (Dearing)

Greater Moncton has been enveloped by cloudy skies, cold conditions and frequent showers this week thanks to our close proximity to the jet stream.

While temperatures struggled to reach 6 or 7 C in the southeast, northwestern New Brunswick climbed into the low 20s today.

Forecasters say that warm air will finally push south this weekend with daytime highs near 18 C.

Wildfires grow in northern Alberta

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RCMP officer in burned neighbourhood of Fort McMurray, 05 May 2016 (Alberta RCMP)


Apart from RCMP officers on patrol, the city of Fort McMurray remains a ghost town after wildfires forced almost 90,000 residents to evacuate.

Thousands who fled north to oil sands camps found themselves stranded since Highway 63 is the only route south.

RCMP are leading vehicles in convoys heading south through empty and burned out areas of Fort McMurray to evacuation centres as far south as Edmonton.

Wildfires have grown to cover 1000 square kilometres of northern Alberta and officials say only rain and cooler conditions will help temper the flames.