Bitter cold, snow in the West

Snow falls in Vancouver, BC, 15 January 2020 (Vancouver PD/Twitter)

Extremely cold Arctic air has enveloped Western Canada.

Temperatures have dropped into the -30s Celsius with bitter wind chills in the -40s on the Prairies and near -50 in the northern territories.

Even the normally mild Pacific coast has not escaped a so-called Arctic outflow.

About 15 to 20 cm snow fell in Vancouver and Victoria.

Schools closed, traffic was snarled and public transit buses got stuck in a region ill-equipped to handle wintry weather.

Hours of ice pellets!

Jan 12 storm

Radar shows snow (blue), ice (red), and rain (green) at 9am 12 Jan 2020 (Microsoft Weather)


Back-to-back low pressure systems brought a messy mix of precipitation to much of the Maritimes over the weekend.

Rain began falling Saturday with a near record warm high of 11 C in Greater Moncton which melted any snow on the ground.

However, the next system brought colder temperatures and more than ten hours of ice pellets (sleet) in Southeast New Brunswick sometimes mixed with snow and freezing rain.

About 15 cm of ice pellets and snow accumulated Sunday which forecasters say is quite rare and it was certainly heavy to move.

Review of 2019

YQM 2019
The data has been collected for 2019 which shows most major centres across Southern Canada were slightly below normal with only the Arctic region posting above average values.

Greater Moncton was no exception at 0.1 degree below normal which was in contrast to 2018 which was 0.4 degrees above normal.

Based on the thirty year period from 1981-2010, Moncton had more hot days and fewer frigid days but other categories were close to average.

Rainfall was above normal for Southeast New Brunswick while less snowfall was recorded for the year.

Nova Scotia hit with heavy snow

Halifax Public Gardens main entrance, 08 Jan 2020 (Storyful/Accuweather)

Just days after the first major snowstorm of the season hit Nova Scotia, another low pressure system intensified as it tracked south of the province on Wednesday.

The eastern mainland and Cape Breton Island received lots of snow – more than 60 cm fell in some areas.

Southeast New Brunswick got off relatively easy with about 10 cm recorded in Greater Moncton.

Here are some snowfall totals (in cm) from 09 January at 5pm AST:

  • Pictou area – 63
  • Truro – 42
  • Ingonish Beach – 38
  • Halifax Stanfield Airport – 30
  • Dartmouth – 28
  • Sydney – 27
  • Charlottetown, PE – 23
  • Kentville – 20
  • Yarmouth – 15

(Data courtesy Environment Canada)

First storm of 2020

Heavy snow in St. John’s, NL, 06 Jan 2020 (Twitter/@kelseyhowlett93)

Just days into the new year, a low pressure system has brought mostly snow to Atlantic Canada especially near the ocean.

For most of Nova Scotia, it was winter’s first major snowfall with up to 15 cm at Halifax Stanfield Airport and nearly 40 cm in Sydney.

The storm grazed Greater Moncton with only 3 cm of snow.

After leaving the Maritimes, the system brought 42 cm snow to St. John’s, Newfoundland and 30 cm to the Burin Peninsula with a peak wind gust of 106 km/h in Bonavista.

Meantime, forecasters say another low pressure system is coming midweek.

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.