December 2018 – Cold & dry

Sun glistening on the ice of Shediac Bay, 30 Dec 2018 (Dearing)

December turned out to be another cold month in Greater Moncton continuing a trend which began in October.

An early Arctic air mass kept daytime highs below freezing for a lengthy ten day stretch.

The month did prove to be less stormier than November with below normal rainfall and snowfall.

While Southeast New Brunswick had a snow cover for a few weeks prior to Christmas, it had mostly disappeared by 25 December.

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

Average HIGH -1.6°C

Average LOW -10.2°C

AVERAGE -5.9°C (about 1.1 degrees BELOW normal)

Extreme HIGH 12.8°C (22 Dec)

Extreme LOW -16.5°C (09 Dec)

RAINFALL 46.8 mm (slightly BELOW normal)

SNOWFALL 34.7 cm (about 40 percent BELOW normal)

(Data courtesy Environment Canada)

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Messy mix and a freeze!

Icy conditions at Cap-Pele Harbour, 29 Dec 2018 (Dearing)

A low pressure system from Quebec moved across New Brunswick Friday and into Saturday bringing a mixed bag of precipitation.

Snow began in Greater Moncton by late afternoon which later changed to ice pellets and then freezing rain followed by rain as the temperature climbed above freezing.

After 9 cm snow, 2.5 hours freezing rain and about 7 mm rain, some of the snow melted but by early evening, the thermometer dropped below freezing again which led to ice.

While this may be the last major weather event of 2018, Environment Canada is forecasting another system bringing snow or rain for New Year’s Day.

Storm ravaged B.C. to get more active weather

Power crews working on restoration efforts in Nanaimo, BC, 25 Dec 2018 (BC Hydro)

Almost 7,000 customers are still without electricity in British Columbia after the most powerful windstorm in 20 years struck the province a week ago.

BC Hydro says most of the remaining outages are in the southern Gulf Islands and those customers should be back on the grid by New Year’s Eve.

At the storm’s peak about 700,000 customers were in the dark after wind gusts of between 90 and 123 km/h were recorded on Vancouver Island and the Lower Mainland.

After a brief quiet period over Christmas, the next system is coming this weekend bringing more active weather including rain, snow, and gusty winds.

White Christmas

While much of Canada is covered in white on this Christmas Day, many of the major cities are without a snow cover.

Only the Prairie cities of Winnipeg, Saskatoon and Edmonton were guaranteed a White Christmas.

Recent heavy rain and warm temperatures have erased the snow pack across Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island and southern New Brunswick.

Traditionally Greater Moncton has a 65 percent chance of having a White Christmas.

Today, the airport recorded 3 cm of snow lying on the ground but much of the city and surrounding area have no snow cover at all.

Record highs in Maritimes

St. George Gorge, Magaguadavic River, NB, 22 Dec 2018 (Dearing)

Warm, moist air with southerly winds pushed temperatures into record high territory across the Maritimes on Saturday.

Greater Moncton reached a high of 12.8 C which was actually a bit shy of the 1973 record of 14.4 C.

New record highs for 22 December:

  • Greenwood, NS  16.8 C
  • St. Stephen, NB  14.7 C
  • Saint John, NB  14.1 C
  • Fredericton, NB  13.0 C
  • Halifax Stanfield Airport, NS  13.6 C
  • Alma. NB  12.9 C
  • Kouchibouguac, NB  12.9 C
  • St. Peters, PEI  12.2 C

Winter arrives with a deluge

The historic Algonquin Resort after a rainstorm, St. Andrews, NB, 22 Dec 2018 (Dearing)

Although it has felt like winter for weeks now, the solstice officially arrived in New Brunswick at 6:23pm AST Friday.

Oddly enough the weather now feels more like spring with a high of 10.1 C on Friday and 12.8 C today in Greater Moncton thanks to southerly winds and heavy rain from an intense low pressure system.

But the warmth will be short-lived as winds change direction to northwesterly behind the system and temperatures will fall below freezing on Sunday.

Rainfall amounts as of 22 December at 12pm AST:

  • Mechanic Settlement  92 mm
  • St. Andrews  79 mm
  • Grand Manan  73 mm
  • Alma  60 mm
  • Fredericton  51 mm
  • Saint John Airport  42 mm
  • Miramichi  31 cm
  • Greater Moncton  about 20 mm

Canada’s Top 10 Weather Stories 2018

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Wildfires create smoky sky over downtown Calgary, AB, 14 Aug 2018 (Dearing)

Here is the annual list from Environment Canada:

  1. Record wildfires and smoky summer skies in the West
  2. Summer heat wave from East to West
  3. Tough growing season in the Prairies
  4. Powerful May winds impact Ontario and Quebec
  5. September tornadoes touch down in Ottawa-Gatineau
  6. Spring flooding in southern British Columbia
  7. Historic spring flooding along the St. John River Valley
  8. August deluge in Toronto
  9. Record cold start to a long winter nationwide
  10. Cold and stormy April for the East

 

Snowstorm departs, rainstorm coming

Reservoir at Irishtown Nature Park, 16 Dec 2018 (Dearing)

More than 24 hours after it started, snow finally stopped falling in Southeast New Brunswick and a slow moving low pressure system headed to western Newfoundland.

Greater Moncton picked up between 20 and 25 cm and schools in the region were closed for two days.

Higher amounts of snow fell in western New Brunswick, western Prince Edward Island and the Cape Breton Highlands.

Environment Canada says the next major weather should arrive Friday with warm, moist air boosting temperatures and bringing significant rainfall.

Calm before the storm

Ogilvie Brook, Irishtown Nature Park, 16 Dec 2018 (Dearing)

The first half of December has been cold in Southeast New Brunswick and relatively calm but that is about to change.

Environment Canada says a slow moving low pressure system will bring rain and snow to most of the Maritimes.

The snow will begin Monday afternoon in Greater Moncton and continue into Tuesday with up 20 cm in total expected.

The latest storm follows three days with above freezing temperatures after a lengthy early winter cold snap.

Storm Deirdre slams U.K. & Ireland

Scotlandsnow

Snow falling in southern Scotland, UK, 15 Dec 2018 (D.Cheskin/PA)

So-called Storm Deirdre put a damper on holiday shopping this weekend just days before Christmas as strong winds, freezing rain, rain and snow turned many roads into ice rinks across the United Kingdom and Ireland.

Weather warnings covered most regions except for Greater London and southeast England which saw mostly rain.

Hurricane force winds gusted up to 120 km/h in the Scottish Highlands where up to 50 cm of snow fell.

Police responded to numerous highway collisions related to the icy conditions.