Snow covered steps in NE Moncton, 19 Jan 2020 (Dearing)
On the heels of the coldest weather so far this winter in Greater Moncton with lows of -21°C comes the heaviest snowfall to date.
A Colorado Low arrived in the Maritimes on Sunday after delivering a blow to the middle of the continent including Ontario and Quebec.
Since it was already very cold across Southern New Brunswick, the snow that fell was light and dry – unlike so-called “heart attack” snow which is heavy and wet.
Snowfall totals (in cm):
- Minto area 31
- Greater Moncton Airport 25
- Fredericton area 16
- Saint John Airport 13
- Miramichi 10
- Bathurst 4
(Data courtesy volunteer observations)
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.
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.
Ice forms on Irishtown Reservoir after cold night, 13 Nov 2019 (Dearing)
November got off to a mild start in Greater Moncton – the monthly high 19.4 C was actually 0.1 degrees warmer than October’s maximum – but temperatures quickly tumbled especially overnight.
Only two nights were actually above freezing with the coldest weather around the middle of the month.
The first measurable snow was recorded on 07-8 (18.8 cm) which was more than half of the November total and rainfall was lighter than usual.
Daytime highs struggled to climb above freezing especially during the last two weeks which led to a below normal monthly average.
NOVEMBER 2019 ALMANAC (at Greater Moncton Int’l Airport, 1981-2010)
Average HIGH 4.6°C
Average LOW -3.7°C
AVERAGE 0.5°C (about 1.4 degrees BELOW normal)
Extreme HIGH 19.4°C (01 Nov)
Extreme LOW -10.9°C (17 Nov)
RAINFALL 66.7 mm (about 20 percent BELOW normal)
SNOWFALL 32.5 cm (almost double, well ABOVE normal)
(Data courtesy Environment Canada)
Although it seems like really cold weather arrived earlier than usual, the chart above shows a drop of -10°C occurred on the same date last year in Greater Moncton – 14 November.
Over the last seven years, the temperature has gotten that cold between mid-November and early December.
The thermometer will likely sink to -15°C sometime later next month.
The last time it dropped that low in Southeast New Brunswick was 10 March.
Snowy Highway 102 in Bedford, NS (NS Highway Cameras)
A Colorado Low tracked through the Maritimes today bringing mixed precipitation and strong winds.
The system brought the first major snowfall to Nova Scotia with 23 cm at Halifax Stanfield Airport and lesser amounts in the city but it caught drivers and plow operators off guard creating gridlock.
About 10 to 20 cm of snow also fell in central and southwestern New Brunswick where some schools closed with slippery road conditions.
Greater Moncton had a rain/snow mix this morning with 2 cm before it changed to rain.
As this system moves off to Newfoundland, brisk winds behind it will produce gusts up to 90 km/h with snow squalls expected along coastal areas.
Cold, wintry weather seems to have arrived earlier this season in New Brunswick and Greater Moncton is no exception.
As shown above, the first below freezing daytime high was recorded on 09 November which makes it the earliest date in recent years.
In addition, the thermometer has already dropped to -10°C this month which I will outline in an upcoming post.
(Data courtesy Environment Canada)
The jet stream took a big dip south this week allowing Arctic air to envelop the eastern United States and eastern Canada.
Temperatures dropped to freezing all the way to the Gulf of Mexico.
Meteorologists say the early icy blast was more typical of January than mid-November.
New record lows were set in Ontario where CFB Borden fell to -24°C and Toronto Pearson Airport dropped to -14°C.
The coldest low of the season was set in Greater Moncton today at -10°C and just a couple degrees shy of the record.
The Southeast New Brunswick forecast calls for a roller coaster ride this weekend followed by more seasonable temperatures next week.
Temperature contrast 8pm, 12 Nov 2019 (earth nullschool.net)
Snow began falling in Southeast New Brunswick Monday night and later changed to freezing rain and then rain by Tuesday afternoon.
The temperature climbed to a balmy 14°C in Greater Moncton and 18°C in Greenwood, Nova Scotia.
But as the low pressure system moved out of the Maritimes toward Newfoundland, winds shifted to the northwest causing the thermometer to drop rapidly Tuesday night with a return to snow when it fell to freezing again.
Overnight low records could be challenged in the region by early Thursday as cold Arctic air takes hold.
A snowy Gore Park, Hamilton, ON, 11 Nov 2019 (City of Hamilton)
An early winter storm tracked south of the Great Lakes on Monday and brought snow to Southern Ontario and Southern Quebec.
Snowfall amounts generally ranged between 10 and 30 cm.
Environment Canada says Toronto marked its earliest major snowfall on record with about 15 cm.
Arctic air has filtered in behind the storm prompting the city to issue an extreme cold weather alert with a possible overnight low of -15°C.
Snowfall amounts (cm), Tuesday 5pm EST:
- Montreal 20
- Quebec City 20
- Windsor 19
- Hamilton 17
- Toronto (downtown) 15
- Ottawa 13