January 2017 – Milder, less snowy but icy

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Ice buildup tilts power pole in Salisbury, NB, 25 Jan 2017 (Facebook/Salisbury Happenings)

The defining weather event of January 2017 in New Brunswick was the devastating ice storm which brought down power lines and poles leaving more than 133,000 electricity customers in the dark for days.

Freezing rain and ice pellets began falling in Greater Moncton and Southeast New Brunswick on 25 January and the storm eventually moved northeast to Miramichi and the Acadian Peninsula.

Emergency shelters were set up in churches and community centres and the military was called in to help after some households were still without power a week later.

While overnight lows became frigid during the early and middle parts of the month, daytime highs were generally much milder than usual.

JANUARY 2017 ALMANAC (at Greater Moncton Int’l Airport, 1981-2010)

Average HIGH  -1.2 C

Average LOW  -9.5 C

AVERAGE  -5.3 C (about 3.6 degrees ABOVE normal)

Extreme HIGH  8.5 C (12 January)

Extreme LOW  -23.2 C (10 January)

RAINFALL  65.7 mm (about 100 percent ABOVE normal)

SNOWFALL  48.9 cm (about 60 percent BELOW normal)

(Data courtesy Environment Canada)

Military joins ice storm relief effort

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Members of the military go door to door in Lameque, NB, 31 Jan 2017 (JTFA/Twitter)

Members of the Canadian Armed Forces have been dispatched to the Acadian Peninsula to help in the cleanup following the recent ice storm.

Thousands are still without electricity in northeastern New Brunswick almost a week after the devastating storm.

About 200 members of the military are doing various tasks including going door to door in communities to check on residents who may still be in their homes.

NB Power describes this “crisis” event as being worse than Hurricane Arthur in 2014.

Acadian Peninsula pounded by ice storm 

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Icy road on the Acadian Peninsula, 27 Jan 2017 (Twitter)

While Greater Moncton was hard hit by this week’s ice storm so was much of eastern New Brunswick including the Acadian Peninsula.

At least three communities have declared states of emergency – Tracadie-Sheila, Lameque and Shippagan – in what has been the most devastating ice storm in recent memory.

Two deaths have been reported and many others hospitalized for carbon monoxide poisoning related to an alternate source of indoor heating amid the massive power outages.

Power poles have snapped in half under the weight of ice-laden lines and downed trees and branches have shut down roads as the cleanup begins.

As of Saturday 28 January at 9am, NB Power reports about 46,000 customers are still without power and almost half are in the Acadian Peninsula.

NB ice storm cleanup continues

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Power pole and lines dangling in NW Moncton, 25 Jan 2017 (Facebook)


Some residents of New Brunswick have been without power for more than 24 hours after the worst ice storm in recent memory.

NB Power has about 250 crews on the ground and more from neighbouring Nova Scotia trying to restore electricity in what officials are calling a “huge weather event”.

By the end of today, the power utility believes 80 percent of customers in Greater Moncton and Sussex will be back on the grid while 60 percent in Shediac, Sackville and Miramichi should be restored.

Warming centres have opened in several communities where residents can seek shelter and charge their electronic devices.

Fortunately temperatures are not very cold and should not fall below freezing until early Friday.

Greater Moncton hard hit by ice storm

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Ice buildup tilts power pole in Salisbury, NB, 25 Jan 2017 (Facebook/Salisbury Happenings)

More than seven hours of freezing precipitation (ice pellets and freezing rain) weighed down trees and power lines in Southeast New Brunswick causing tens of thousands of power outages.

At the peak, NB Power reported more than 130,000 customers without electricity and the majority were concentrated in Greater Moncton.

The provincial power utility described the ice storm as a “major weather event” and dispatched at least 60 additional crews to restore the grid.

Environment Canada says at least 30 mm of freezing precipitation was recorded in the region and up to 15 mm of rain could fall today.

Above freezing temperatures are expected to melt much of the ice during daylight hours.

Calm before the storm

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Little snow on the ground in NE Moncton, 17 Jan 2017 (Dearing)

For the past week or so, the weather has been fairly calm in Greater Moncton apart from some light snow.

But that could change now that Environment Canada has issued a special weather statement for Southeast New Brunswick.

An intense low pressure system will approach the province on Tuesday and bring snow, ice pellets and freezing rain.

The precipitation is expected to change to rain later on Tuesday and along with strong winds will continue into Wednesday.

The Weather Network is suggesting up to 20 cm of snow before the changeover.

Europe cold snap ruins crops

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Snow falls along Mediterranean Sea at Javea, Alicante, Spain, 18 Jan 2017 (Facebook)

A combination of cold temperatures, flooding and lack of sunlight has been ruining crops across key agriculture areas in southern Europe.

The heaviest rain in 30 years has flooded the Murcia region of southeast Spain and severe cold and snow in central Italy have nearly wiped out vegetables such as lettuce, tomatoes, broccoli, peppers, eggplants and zucchinis.

The shortages have significantly increased food prices across northern Europe as suppliers scramble to meet demand.

Measurable snow has also blanketed the coast of the Mediterranean Sea for the first time since the early 1980s.

The cold snap has claimed more than 65 lives across Europe this month.

Another rollercoaster ride!

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The January wolf moon over downtown Moncton, 11 Jan 2017 (Dearing)

Greater Moncton is experiencing another see-saw temperature pattern this week.

After the thermometer fell to -23.2 early Tuesday (coldest yet this winter and coldest since February 2015), a Colorado Low brought milder air and rain to Southeast New Brunswick today with a balmy high of 7.7 C.

But an Arctic air mass is pushing in again by the weekend and Environment Canada says a drop to -19 C is forecast by early Saturday.

By early next week, temperatures are set to get warmer again and climb above freezing.

Ontario highway crash captured on video


More than 100 vehicles were involved in a pileup on Ontario’s Highway 401 outside the Greater Toronto Area last weekend.

Environment Canada says a snow squall off Lake Ontario created poor visibility and accumulating snow.

Ontario Provincial Police say drivers were going too fast during slippery road conditions.

Fortunately only a few minor injuries were reported.

Brief Arctic Blast

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Courtesy The Weather Network

The wind chill was so bitterly cold in Greater Moncton early this morning, it felt more like -35 as the temperature fell to -22 C.

However, the Arctic blast will be short-lived as a Colorado Low approaches the Maritimes with snow, rain and milder temperatures.

Environment Canada is forecasting highs of 8 C by later this week in Southeast New Brunswick.

But by the weekend, temperatures will plummet once again with a low of -16 C expected by early Saturday morning.