April 2020 – Where’s spring?

First dandelions of spring in Moncton, 30 Apr 2020 (Dearing)

Signs of spring were extremely rare in April with frigid overnight lows in Greater Moncton making it feel like a continuation of March.

Any warmth came in short spurts with only 11 days above 10°C and some nights sank as low as -5°C right up to the end of the month.

Like the previous month, April was also quite dry with both rainfall and snowfall amounts well below average.

APRIL 2020 ALMANAC (at Greater Moncton Int’l Airport, 1981-2010)

Average HIGH 8.3°C

Average LOW -2.4°C

AVERAGE 3.0°C (about 0.5 degrees BELOW normal)

Extreme HIGH 15.7°C (30 Apr)

Extreme LOW -6.3°C (09 Apr)

RAINFALL 19.2 mm (about 70 percent BELOW normal)

SNOWFALL 19.8 cm (about 35 percent BELOW normal)

(Data courtesy Environment Canada)

Flooding in Fort McMurray

Fort McMurray under floodwaters, 27 April 2020 (Instagram/d_nyce.entertainment)

Almost four years after wildfires ravaged Fort McMurray, the northern Alberta city is now dealing with devastating flooding.

About 13,000 residents have been evacuated after ice jams on the Athabasca and Clearwater Rivers forced floodwaters into the city.

Provincial officials say there are extensive ice jams on the rivers which will need to thaw before the flooding subsides.

The mayor says this is a one-in-a-100-year flood which unfortunately occurred this year on top of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Late season snow!

Courtesy Nova Scotia Highway Cameras

Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island saw more snow today which is becoming a bit unusual as April comes to an end.

A slow moving low pressure system brought several centimetres which mainly accumulated on colder surfaces such as grass and vehicles.

The Halifax area turned white and so did northern and eastern areas of the province and Cape Breton.

New Brunswick seemed to escape the snow except for a few scattered flurries.

UPDATE – New snowfall records:

Halifax Stanfield Airport – 28.2 cm (old record 19.3 cm from 1967)

Sydney Airport – 24.8 cm (old record 6.6 cm from 1971)

Snow pellets!

Snow pellets or graupel fall in NE Moncton, 22 April 2020 (Dearing)

Many areas of New Brunswick reported intervals of snow pellets mixed with snow on Wednesday including Greater Moncton.

Also known as graupel, snow pellets are tiny super-cooled water droplets which collect on a snowflake and fall to the ground.

Meteorologists say it’s not unusual to see graupel in the spring on cool, unstable days.

Heavy snow hits Cape Breton

Satellite image shows storm over Cape Breton Island, 19 Apr 2020 (Twitter/J.Abraham)

A winter-like storm brought heavy snow to Cape Breton Island and western Newfoundland on Sunday with more than 30 cm recorded in some areas.

A whopping 43 cm of snow fell at the Sydney Airport which made roads treacherous in the region and certainly kept snow plows busy.

Environment Canada data shows it has already been an extremely snowy winter in Sydney with almost 400 cm recorded since the start of 2020.

The system was expected to bring snow to mainland Nova Scotia but it eventually tracked further to the east and mostly hit Cape Breton.

Warmest day since December

Ice melting at Irishtown Nature Park Reservoir, 05 April 2019 (Dearing)

Greater Moncton climbed to a daytime high of 13.4°C on 14 April which was the warmest in four months – since 15 December.

During the last few years, the thermometer has typically been surging into the teens Celsius by mid-April.

Environment Canada data shows the next heat milestone in Southeast New Brunswick, 20°C, is typically reached between now and early May although that kind of warmth is not in the current long range forecast.

In 2019, the milestone was reached on 05 May when it hit 19.7°C.

A spring snowstorm

Snowy Grant Street in NE Moncton, 10 Apr 2020 (Dearing)

A low pressure system moved up the Bay of Fundy and brought heavy, wet snow to most of New Brunswick with rain as well in some areas.

About 5-10 cm snow fell across the southern part of the province, 20 cm in central areas and up to 30 cm in the north creating messy road conditions.

The mid-April snow was not unusual but was still the heaviest snowfall since early March.

Snow amounts by volunteers (in cm):

  • Miramichi 20
  • Fredericton 13
  • Greater Moncton 13
  • St. Andrews 6
  • Dorchester 6

Return to winter

A strong low pressure system is expected to bring a lot of snow, some rain and wind to Southeast New Brunswick starting Thursday night.

About 15 cm could fall in Greater Moncton prompting Environment Canada to issue a snowfall warning.

Strong winds will coincide with high tide along the Northumberland Strait creating storm surge.

This could be the heaviest snowfall event since 01 March when 14 cm fell.