May 2017 – Wet and cloudy

Trailing arbutus or Mayflower growing in Irishtown Nature Park, 20 May 2017 (Dearing)


May in Southeast New Brunswick certainly lived up to its unpredictable nature as a transitional month between winter and summer.

Overall temperatures were above normal in Greater Moncton but oddly enough some of the coolest days were in the last third of the month.

Many days were cloudy and rainfall was heavy with only seven days without at least a trace of precipitation.

By the final week, trees were in full leaf or blossom and perennials were in full bloom.

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

Average HIGH 16.1 C

Average LOW  5.1 C

AVERAGE 10.8 C (about 0.8 degrees ABOVE normal)

Extreme HIGH 30.5 C (18 May)

Extreme LOW -0.4 C (13 May)

RAINFALL 163.5 mm (about 40 percent ABOVE normal)

(Data courtesy Environment Canada)

Busy Atlantic hurricane season expected

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The U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is predicting hurricane activity in the North Atlantic Ocean in 2017 is likely to be above normal (45 percent) or near-normal (35 percent).

The Canadian Hurricane Centre says it responds to 4 or 5 tropical cyclone events each year on average, with 1 or 2 of those affecting Canadian land and another 2 or 3 threatening offshore waters.

Hurricanes are typically a greater concern in Canadian waters later in the season but the Canadian Hurricane Centre monitors the Atlantic Ocean year‑round for any tropical or tropical‑like cyclone that could pose a threat to Canada or its waters.

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Weather Network unveils summer forecast

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The Weather Network has released its summer 2017 forecast covering June, July and August.

A changeable summer is expected across Atlantic Canada with extended periods of above seasonal and below seasonal weather.

The southern Maritimes which includes Greater Moncton and Southeast New Brunswick and possibly into southern Newfoundland have the best chance of seeing temperatures tip to the warm side of normal.

Meanwhile, cooler than normal temperatures are expected to be more persistent across eastern Labrador and northern Newfoundland.

Near normal rainfall is expected this summer except for western and northern New Brunswick.

There is the potential for a couple of systems to tap into subtropical or tropical moisture and bring above normal rainfall to parts of the region.

Snowy weekend in Newfoundland & Labrador

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Heavy snow in Cartwright, Labrador, NL, 21 May 2017 (Twitter)

The Victoria Day long weekend is considered the unofficial start to summer in most of Canada but not Newfoundland and Labrador this year.

More than 50 cm of snow fell in southeastern Labrador and between 20 and 30 cm was recorded in western Newfoundland and the Northern Peninsula.

Campers in Gros Morne National Park had fires one evening and then woke up to white the next morning.

St. John’s also picked up about 4 cm of snow which was the snowiest May long weekend since 1991.

Acadian Peninsula hit again

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Severe thunderstorm, Caraquet, NB, 18 May 2017 (R.Mallais/Twitter)

After a severe ice storm in February, the Acadian Peninsula has been hit with bad weather again and this time by possible tornadoes.

Environment Canada is investigating after social media showed downed power poles, partially collapsed roofs and overturned concrete last night.

Severe thunderstorms can cause straight line winds with gusts as high as 130 km/h which is the same strength as the lowest level of tornado.

NB Power is working to restore electricity for thousands in northeastern New Brunswick and it could be sometime tomorrow before full restoration occurs.

The same frontal trough of low pressure moved into Greater Moncton this afternoon creating a 9 degree temperature drop (23 C to 14 C) in less than an hour and a wind direction change from southwest to northeast.

Record highs in the Maritimes

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Jones Lake, west end Moncton, 18 May 2017 (Dearing)

Summer-like air enveloped the Maritime Provinces with new record high temperatures set in all three provinces yesterday.

Environment Canada says more than a dozen communities in New Brunswick hit new maximums for the date including St. Stephen at 34.0 C (hot spot in Canada), Fredericton at 33.0 C and both Woodstock and Edmundston at 32.0 C.

While the thermometer reached a record-breaking 30.5 C at the Greater Moncton International Airport, the overall 18 May record for Moncton is 31.7 C from 1918.

In Nova Scotia, new records were set in Greenwood and Kejimkujik Park at 32.0 C while Summerside, Prince Edward Island warmed up to 26.3 C.

Brief heat wave coming

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Warm weather in Ontario heading to the Maritimes, 17 May 2017 (TWN)

A high pressure system is pushing warm, southerly air into the Maritimes with highs approaching 30 C tomorrow in New Brunswick.

Environment Canada says humidex values could climb to 39 which has led to a Level 1 Heat Alert for Fredericton and St. Stephen.

The provincial health department issues this alert when anyone vulnerable to the heat may be affected.

Greater Moncton could break a record on Thursday if the temperature reaches the forecast high of 28 C.

Sunshine and dandelions 

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Dandelions growing in NE Moncton, 13 May 2017 (Dearing)

The dandelions are out in full force as Southeast New Brunswick welcomed a beautiful, sunny day following a cold, grey and rainy week.

The normal high in Greater Moncton for mid-May is 17 C and temperatures didn’t even reach 10 C for two days in a row.

Rainfall has already reached 87 mm and the normal monthly total is 93 mm.

Forecasters are calling for 20-30 mm rain early next week thanks to another low pressure system.

Cape Breton drenched again

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A stream overflows in north end Sydney, NS, 11 May 2017 (Cape Breton Post)

Parts of Cape Breton Island were flooded by a deluge of rain barely six months ago – Thanksgiving weekend – and this week it’s happening again.

The ground is saturated with water after more than 160 mm of rain since the weekend and some Sydney residents are dealing with flooded basements.

Rain and snow melt from the Cape Breton highlands is being blamed for washouts along sections of the Cabot Trail and its side roads.

Road crews are working overtime making repairs before the busy tourism season begins in a few weeks.

St. John River remains above flood stage

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Flooding along the St. John River, Fredericton, NB, 07 May 2017 (Instagram)

Much of New Brunswick was spared the worst of a low pressure system which delivered heavy rain and created flooding over the weekend especially along the St. John River.

Environment Canada says the extreme southern half of the province had the most rain with more than 100 mm in some areas and unofficially almost 180 mm (about two months worth) fell in Mechanic Settlement, near Fundy National Park.

Moncton got off relatively easy with 40 mm of rain while Saint John had 70 mm and Fredericton reported 80 mm.

The Emergency Measures Organization says water levels should remain high but steady for the rest of this week with more rain on the way.