Much needed rain arrives

Heavy downpour during thunderstorm in NE Moncton, 11 Aug 2017 (Dearing)

A thunderstorm rolled through Greater Moncton on Friday afternoon and it was a welcome sight when two periods of downpours brought much needed rain.

A fire ban had been in place across Southern New Brunswick but more rain today lowered the fire hazard and burning is now allowed from 8pm to 8am.

The last significant rainfall in Greater Moncton was 8.2 mm on 21 July and prior to that it was 21.2 mm on 24 June.

Agriculture Canada has declared that much of Prince Edward Island is experiencing a drought with little rain since early June.


Wildfires tear through Tennessee

Burned buildings and cars aftermath of wildfire in Gatlinburg Tennessee

Wildfire devastation in Gatlinburg, Tennessee, USA, 29 Nov 2016 (Reuters)

It sounds all too familiar in 2016 – wildfires devastate a community.

This time it’s autumn in Gatlinburg, Tennessee and last time it was spring in Fort McMurray, Alberta.

About 1,000 homes and businesses have been destroyed by wildfires in the eastern part of the southern U.S. state of Tennessee.

Officials believe the fire was human-caused and began earlier this week in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

Strong winds toppled trees and power lines and spread embers to nearby Gatlinburg where 14,000 people had to be evacuated.

Rain has helped fire crews but months of drought has left the ground bone-dry.

At least two Canadians are among 13 people who have died in the wildfires.

SW Nova Scotia hit by drought


Dry pond, Arcadia, Yarmouth Co., NS, 14 Sept 2016 (Comeau/Yarmouth Vanguard)

While it has been dry this summer in parts of New Brunswick, no where has it been drier in the Maritimes than in southwest Nova Scotia.

Meteorologists say while the jet stream normally flows through the middle of the region providing adequate amounts of rain, it was pushed farther north this summer due to the Bermuda High which has been northwest of its usual position.

As a result, rainfall in northern New Brunswick has been above average while southwest Nova Scotia has only received 32 percent of its normal summer precipitation.

For example, Yarmouth had 87 mm of rain during June, July and August which is well below the average of 268 mm.

Emergency management officials say at least 1,000 households have run out of water and bottled water donations from major retailers are being shipped to affected communities.

California drought prompts water restrictions

Houseboats on lake near La Grange, California, USA (Getty)

Houseboats on lake near La Grange, California, USA (Getty)

A historic four-year drought in California has prompted water restrictions from the state government.

Cities and towns in America’s most populous state have been ordered to reduce their water usage by 25 percent.

Californians will be asked to reduce watering lawns, washing cars and even taking showers.

The action comes as the winter snowpack in the Sierra Nevada Mountains is at near record lows, which the state heavily relies on for its summer water supply.

Wildfires rage in drought-plagued California

Wildfires in the hills of San Marcos, CA, USA, 16 May 2014 (Stuart Palley/EPA)

Wildfires in the hills of San Marcos, CA, USA, 16 May 2014 (Stuart Palley/EPA)

Firefighters in Southern California are gaining the upper hand on dozens of wildfires which have been burning mostly in San Diego County over the past several days thanks to cooler temperatures and lighter winds.

The American Southwest is tinder-dry thanks to little rain over the winter – which is traditionally the rainy season – and skyrocketing spring temperatures which have soared into the 40s Celsius.

California fire officials say dozens of homes and other buildings have been damaged or destroyed in the fires with numerous injuries but only one death reported so far.

The cause of the fires is being investigated but at least one was related to a spark from outdoor power equipment.

California declares a drought

Smoke from a wildfire behind the Los Angeles skyline, 16 Jan 2014 (LA Times)

Smoke from a wildfire behind the Los Angeles skyline, 16 Jan 2014 (LA Times)

The state of California formally declared drought conditions this week in an effort to receive federal aid.

Hundreds of wildfires have been reported this winter – normally the wettest time of year – as bone-dry conditions persist.

Thousands of residents were allowed to return home this weekend after firefighters contained a wildfire in the suburbs northeast of Los Angeles which destroyed at least five homes.

Bushfire emergency declared in NSW, Australia

Charred countryside near Sydney, NSW, 21 Oct 2013 (Twitter)

Charred countryside near Sydney, NSW, 21 Oct 2013 (Twitter)

More than 60 bushfires burning in Australia’s most populous state have prompted officials to declare a state of emergency.

At least 3,000 firefighters and nearly 100 aircraft are battling the blazes in New South Wales under catastrophic conditions including high temperatures, low humidity and strong winds gusting up to 100 km/h.

Many communities have been evacuated in the Blue Mountains region, west of Sydney, where over 200 homes have been destroyed by the bushfires.

Heavy smoke has been drifting into Sydney and its suburbs since last week.

In an effort to contain the blazes and prevent them from spreading, firefighters have been lighting controlled fires.

2012 was warmest year ever in USA


Courtesy NOAA

Courtesy NOAA

The U.S. National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration says 2012 marked the warmest year on record for the mainland United States.

The year consisted of a record warm spring, second-warmest summer, fourth-warmest winter and a warmer-than-average autumn.

The average temperature for 2012 was 12.9 C, 1.8 C above the 20th century average and 0.56 C above 1998, the previous warmest year.

The average precipitation total for the mainland U.S. for 2012 was 67.5 cm or 6.53 cm below average, making it the 15th driest year on record.

At its peak in July, the drought of 2012 engulfed 61 percent of the U.S. with the Rockies, Great Plains and Midwest experiencing the most intense drought conditions.

Here comes the rain!

Courtesy The Weather Network

In Southeast New Brunswick, we have waited almost the entire summer for a decent rainfall and it finally came today!

Environment Canada posted rainfall warning for virtually the entire province today as the remnants of Hurricane Isaac merged with a low pressure system to create a big downpour.

As much as 90 mm of rain was expected to fall in some areas which would surpass rainfall totals for July and August combined.

Some minor localized flooding was reported especially in Saint John and along the Fundy coast.


Moncton  64.6 mm (beats old record of 31.0 mm from 1966)

Saint John  107.7 mm (beats old record of 27.6 mm from 1988)

Dry spell continues


Riverfront Park in Moncton, 24 August 2012 (Dearing photo)

Much of New Brunswick has been exceptionally dry this summer but August has proven to be very dry.

The unofficial rainfall total for Greater Moncton as of 24 August was a mere 23.4 mm which is less than one-third of the normal total monthly amount of 79.5 mm.

The water supply in most communities is still in good shape with the village of McAdam, NB being a notable exception.

Farmers would like to see rain but most are fairing reasonably well despite the dry conditions.