February 2018 – Warm with more rain

Shubie Sam

Shubenacadie Sam predicted an early spring, 02 Feb 2018 (Shubenacadie Wildlife Park, NS)

The first half of February in Southeast New Brunswick was decidedly winter with frigid overnight lows dropping to a numbing -21 C in the first few days alone.

But the second half of the month was spring-like with most daytime highs above freezing and more tolerable minimums.

The average monthly temperature for Greater Moncton was about 3.2 degrees above normal and anything above 2 degrees is considered significant in meteorology.

Precipitation was slightly above average with more rain than snow falling compared to normal.

FEBRUARY 2018 ALMANAC (at Greater Moncton Int’l Airport, 1981-2010)

Average HIGH  1.0 C

Average LOW  -9.7 C

AVERAGE  -4.4 C (about 3.2 degrees ABOVE normal)

Extreme HIGH  12.9 C (21 Feb)

Extreme LOW  -20.5 C (03 Feb)

RAINFALL  42.0 mm (more than 30 percent ABOVE normal)

SNOWFALL  49.2 cm (about 25 percent BELOW normal)

(Data courtesy Environment Canada)

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Ontario heat!

It felt more like mid-spring than late winter across Southern Ontario today.

A mild air mass combined with strengthening February sunshine to set new record highs in the region.

Environment Canada reports April-like maximums for 28 February:

  • Sarnia,  16.8 C, old record 15.1 C from 2016
  • Toronto Pearson Airport,  16.2 C, old record 14.0 C from 2016
  • Windsor,  16.1 C, old record 13.6 C from 2017
  • London,  15.1 C, old record 14.2 C from 2016
  • Kitchener-Waterloo,  15.0 C, old record 12.4 C from 2016

Storm slams Newfoundland

Gander

Trans Canada Highway in Gander, NL, 28 Feb 2018 (NL Transportation & Works)

A late winter storm missed the Maritimes and took aim at Newfoundland instead delivering heavy snow to much of the island on Tuesday.

Schools were closed and many businesses and government offices shut down.

Drivers were urged to avoid the Trans Canada Highway in western Newfoundland as road conditions worsened.

Snow totals as of 11:30 am NT, 28 February:

  • Gander  31 cm
  • Deer Lake  26 cm
  • St. John’s  24 cm
  • Stephenville  19 cm

(Data courtesy Environment Canada)

Beast from the East

UK wintry Giddens PA

Vehicle stranded in snow on Highway A1, Peterborough, UK, 27 Feb 2018 (Giddens/PA)

The Siberian weather system dubbed “Beast from the East” bringing snow and strong winds is wreaking havoc in the United Kingdom and Ireland disrupting the transportation network.

Up to 50 cm of snow could fall in northern England and Scotland and temperatures could drop to as low as -15 C.

Schools have been closed and authorities have been busy responding to numerous highway crashes as drivers are being urged to stay off the roads.

The UK Met Office anticipates this will be the coldest week of the winter season.

TWN unveils spring forecast

TWN spring

The Weather Network has taken a look ahead at the months of March, April and May for Atlantic Canada…

While it has been a relatively mild winter across the region, winter will still have several parting shots, including the threat for a few Nor’easters.

For some places, the biggest snowfall of the year could still be on the horizon (keep in mind the context – some areas have not had a classic winter storm).

Back and forth temperature swings should come close to offsetting, but with more potential for warmth to outweigh the periods of colder weather.

An active storm track will tap into subtropical moisture at times and bring above normal precipitation to most of the region through the spring season.

Snow falls in Rome

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Man on skis at St. Peter’s Square, Vatican City, 26 Feb 2018 (Casilli/Reuters)

Thanks to a cold Siberian air mass dubbed “Beast from the East”, about 10 cm of snow fell in Rome prompting Italian authorities to call in the army and help clear streets.

In St. Peter’s Square, priests from the Vatican threw snowballs at each other and students skied on a hill near the Colosseum.

The heaviest snowfall in Rome in six years forced schools to close, cancelled flights and drivers were urged to stay home.

While Rome barely climbed above freezing, temperatures fell as low as -35 C in the Italian Alps early today.

Rivers spill banks in SW Ontario

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Days of rain, melting snow and ice jams have created swollen rivers and streams in Southwestern Ontario causing historic flooding.

A young boy was swept from his mother’s arms in a stranded vehicle along the Grand River near Orangeville and efforts to find him are still underway.

Streets, homes and businesses in low-lying areas of Chatham-Kent were flooded after officials say the Thames River peaked at 5.25 metres above normal Saturday.

Emergency responders had to rescue some residents by boat who were taken to a local convention centre for shelter.

Spring-like record breaker!

Warm spring-like sunshine could be felt on my western facing balcony this afternoon in northeast Moncton and for few precious minutes it almost felt like winter was over.

The thermometer climbed to 12.9 C at the Greater Moncton International Airport which just barely eclipsed the record high of 12.8 C from 1953.

Other record highs were set across the Maritimes including 13.8 C in Cheticamp, Nova Scotia and 10.4 C in Edmundston.

But further to the west, the temperature climbed to a balmy 17.6 C in Sherbrooke, Quebec.

Escaping a strange winter

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The beaches of Varadero, Cuba, 15 February 2018 (Dearing)

Let’s face it, winter in Southeast New Brunswick has been a volatile roller coaster ride with wildly fluctuating temperatures and unusual amounts of mixed precipitation.

I wanted an escape, so a two-week vacation getaway to Cuba was in order.

From 06-20 February, the island’s most popular beach destination of Varadero enjoyed daytime highs in the upper 20s C with glorious sunshine and just a few passing clouds.

Winter is the dry season in Cuba and precipitation was light except for a lengthy downpour of rain during just one early morning.

Varadero has some of the best beaches in the Caribbean and millions of international visitors – mostly Canadians – flock there every year.

Ontario warmth heading East!