December 2019 – Mild with little snow

Along Northumberland Strait, Beaubassin-est, NB, 29 December 2019 (Dearing)

It felt like winter was on pause during December in Southeast New Brunswick.

After significant snow on 07-08 November, many thought winter arrived early again.

But more rain fell and the heaviest snow was a mere 9 cm – paltry by Greater Moncton standards.

Although the temperature remained below freezing on 13 days and most daytime highs were just slightly above zero, the thermometer did climb above 10°C on four occasions.

DECEMBER 2019 ALMANAC (at Greater Moncton Int’l Airport, 1981-2010)

Average HIGH 0.9°C

Average LOW -8.0°C

AVERAGE -3.6°C (about 1.2 degrees ABOVE normal)

Extreme HIGH 13.8°C (15 Dec)

Extreme LOW -15.1°C (27 Dec)

RAINFALL 56.9 mm (slightly ABOVE normal)

SNOWFALL 26.0 cm (about 60 percent BELOW normal)

(Data courtesy Environment Canada)

Wintry mix for New Year’s Eve

A wintry mix falls in NE Moncton, 31 Dec 2019 (Dearing)

The same storm system which impacted Ontario and Quebec is now creating travel havoc in the Maritimes with a mixed bag of precipitation.

Snow along with ice pellets began in Southwest New Brunswick on New Year’s Eve morning and gradually spread to Greater Moncton by early afternoon.

About 14 cm of snow and ice pellets could accumulate in the Southeast before a changeover to rain around midnight as temperatures rise above freezing.

Snowfall warnings have been posted in western and northern New Brunswick with 15 to 30 cm likely with lesser amounts for Prince Edward Island and mostly rain is forecast for mainland Nova Scotia.

UPDATE

Moncton received 5.4 cm of snow, Saint John had 3.4 cm while about 10 cm fell in Fredericton but near 30 cm in Woodstock.

Storm sweeps Ontario

Freezing rain coats trees in central Ontario, 30 Dec 2019 (South Simcoe Police)

Ontario is so large and sprawling that it’s rare one storm could impact most of the province but that’s what happened Sunday into Monday.

A large low pressure system brought severe winds to the southwest, hours of freezing rain in the east and heavy snow in the northwest.

Temperatures also soared briefly in the Greater Toronto Area with a new record high of 10.2°C set at Pearson Airport.

Freezing rain duration in hours:

  • Ottawa Int’l Airport – 22
  • Sudbury – 20
  • CFB Trenton – 18

Snowfall in cm:

  • Marathon – 37
  • Thunder Bay – 30
  • Atikokan – 18

Maximum wind gusts in km/h:

  • Chatham-Kent – 104
  • Windsor – 100
  • Toronto Billy Bishop Airport – 81

(Data courtesy Environment Canada)

White Christmas

Light snow falls on Boxing Day, Truro, NS, 26 Dec 2019 (Dearing)

Despite a relatively snow-free December, Greater Moncton still managed to have a White Christmas this year after all – but just barely.

Environment Canada reports 2 cm of snow on the ground at the airport Christmas morning which fits its official definition.

Other parts of southern New Brunswick and Nova Scotia did not have snow including in Truro where I spent the holiday.

Meteorologists say odds of a White Christmas have decreased in recent years.

Here are the odds for select Canadian cities (1994-2017 versus 1955-2017):

  • Moncton – 65% / 73%
  • Fredericton – 50% / 76%
  • Saint John – 45% / 60%
  • Charlottetown – 55% / 78%
  • Halifax – 40% / 54%
  • Montreal – 70% / 76%
  • Toronto – 45% / 52%
  • Winnipeg – 100% / 98%
  • Calgary – 60% / 59%
  • Vancouver – 10% / 10%

Winter officially arrives

Sprinkling of snow at the Algonquin Resort, St. Andrews-by-the-Sea, NB, 22 Dec 2019 (Dearing)

The winter solstice arrived at 12:19am ADT Sunday in New Brunswick which means this is the shortest day of the year.

Greater Moncton will have 8 hours and 38 minutes of daylight.

But the days will slowly start getting longer again tomorrow with about 4 additional minutes by the end of this month.

The winter solstice is when the Sun is directly over the Tropic of Capricorn and now begins moving north to the Equator.

Canada’s Top 10 Weather Stories 2019

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Hurricane Dorian damage in Halifax’s west end, 08 Sept 2019 (NS Power)

Canada is a land of weather extremes and this year has been no exception with frigid winter cold and stifling summer heat which brought wildfires, flooding, snowstorms and hurricanes.

Environment Canada has compiled its annual list for 2019:

  1. Another record Ottawa River flood
  2. Destructive hurricane season especially Dorian
  3. Snowy Prairie autumn
  4. Bitterly cold February nationwide
  5. Record heat continues in the Arctic
  6. Too dry early, too wet later on Prairies
  7. Blustery Halloween in the East
  8. Spring never arrives in Eastern Canada
  9. More flooding along the St. John River
  10. Fewer wildfires but more hectares burned

Here are some weather highlights for Atlantic Canada:

  • New Year’s Day takes Newfoundland by storm
  • January Maritime storm included every type of weather
  • Winter storm forces Moncton residents outside
  • February storm causes road closures in Labrador
  • Pre-Valentine’s storm across the Maritimes
  • March starts out stormy in Nova Scotia
  • Newfoundland’s icebergs please tourists and locals
  • October “weather bomb” drops lots of rain

Mild but stormy conditions

A break in the rain at Irishtown Nature Park reservoir, 15 Dec 2019 (Dearing)

Another intense low pressure system moved through the Maritimes on the weekend bringing a new round of heavy rain and strong winds.

After a bone-chilling start, winds changed direction and a southerly flow pushed the high in Greater Moncton to 13.8°C – close to the record of 13.9°C from 2008.

Winds were strong with gusts up to 87 km/h in Southeast New Brunswick and a peak of 91 km/h reported in Bathurst.

As the storm headed to Newfoundland, cold air plunged into the region and temperatures fell below freezing and may stay that way for several days.

Wind & rain cause damage

Roof damage at apartment building, Heather Way, 10 Dec 2019 (City of Saint John)

Strong winds and heavy rain from a strong low pressure system caused damage to properties and localized flooding in New Brunswick and Nova Scotia.

The Saint John area was hard hit with wind gusts up to 95 km/h which led to power outages and roof damage to at least two apartment buildings.

No one was hurt but all tenants were evacuated and assisted by the Red Cross.

Many roads were closed due to flooding or fallen trees and there were voluntary evacuations in Sussex in low lying areas.

The storm also brought mild, record-breaking temperatures with highs of 11°C in Edmundston and 12°C in Bathurst and Woodstock.

Greater Moncton hit 13.7°C but the record for 10 December was 15°C from 1957.

Rainfall totals (in mm) as of 8am on 10 December 2019:

  • Mechanic Settlement, NB  94 mm
  • Saint John Airport  63 mm
  • Kejimkujik NP, NS  53 mm
  • Dorchester, NB  50 mm
  • Yarmouth, NS  43 mm
  • Halifax (city)  48 mm
  • Fredericton  33 mm
  • Greater Moncton 26 mm

Peak wind gusts (km/h):

  • Cheticamp area, NS  135
  • Sydney  106
  • Halifax (Shearwater)  102
  • Saint John Airport  95
  • Lunenburg  92
  • Grand Manan, NB  89

(Data courtesy Environment Canada)

Heavy rain may cause flooding

Snow settles in Moncton, 05 Dec 2019 (Dearing)

The latest low pressure to invade the Maritimes is bringing heavy rain and strong winds to Southern New Brunswick and Northern Nova Scotia.

Environment Canada has issued a rainfall warning with up to 70 mm possible especially along the Fundy coast and strong winds gusting up to 90 km/h.

Meteorologists say that much rain is a lot for frozen ground to absorb and along with an existing snowpack could create localized flooding.

After a few days with below freezing temperatures, the small amount of snow in Greater Moncton has been taken away by the rain and a mild high of 12°C.

The forecast is calling for much colder air behind this system with some snow likely on Wednesday.

Messy mix falls over Maritimes

Icy slush in NE Moncton, 03 Dec 2019 (Dearing)

After exiting Ontario, a Colorado Low moved into the Maritimes bringing freezing rain and rain to Nova Scotia along with mixed precipitation to Southeast New Brunswick.

The system shut down schools in many parts of the region on Tuesday with icy roads being a major factor.

Greater Moncton had several hours of freezing rain and ice pellets mixing with snow (3 cm) and later rain (15 mm) as the temperature climbed slightly above freezing.

Northern and western New Brunswick received mostly snow with 10 cm in Fredericton, 18 cm in Miramichi and 27 cm in Woodstock.