Decent first half of July

An ominous afternoon sky over Greater Moncton, 17 July 2017 (Dearing)


For whatever reason, summer seems to go by faster than the other seasons and here we are already at the midway point of July. 

After 16 days, Greater Moncton has been having a decent month with an average temperature of 19.3 C which is 0.5 degrees above normal. 

Daytime highs have been warm but not hot with a peak of 29.4 C on 16 July while overnight lows have been mild except for a chilly low of 8.9 C on  05 July. 

The only concern is a lack of rainfall. 

The tally is 19.8 mm so far – less than a quarter of the monthly total – but keep in mind we are entering what is traditionally the driest period of the year in Southeast New Brunswick. 

(Stats courtesy Environment Canada)

Firefighters make progress in B.C. wildfires

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Active wildfires burning in BC, 13 July 2017 (BC Wildfire Service/Google)

More than 300 firefighters from across Canada including New Brunswick are now in British Columbia to relieve those already on the ground battling over 180 wildfires.

Some progress has been made thanks to recent cooler weather but 14,000 residents have been evacuated and thousands more are on alert to leave their homes at short notice.

Forecasters say gusty winds expected this weekend could fan the flames even further and the heat is also expected to return.

The economy of the B.C. Interior is taking a hit this summer with many campgrounds and provincial parks forced to close due to the wildfires and related road closures.

Thousands evacuated in B.C. wildfires 

Wildfire north of Cache Creek, BC, 07 July 2017 (BC Transportation/Twitter)


A state of emergency is in place across British Columbia which gives government special authority over more than 230 wildfires. 

B.C. wildfire officials say weeks of hot, dry weather combined with strong winds and dry lightning have led to almost 16,000 hectares being burned so far. 

More than 7,000 residents in the Interior and Cariboo regions have been evacuated from communities like Cache Creek, Princeton, Ashcroft and 100 Mile House to be housed in Kamloops. 

Temperatures remain hot in these areas this weekend soaring above 30 C. 

Forest fire tragedy in Portugal

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Burnt cars block a road in the Pedrogao Grande area, Portugal, 18 June 2017 (AP/Armando Franca)

A massive forest fire in central Portugal has claimed more than 60 lives and injured dozens of others with hot, windy conditions fanning the flames.

Many died in their vehicles trying to flee the blaze while others died from smoke inhalation.

Portugal has declared three days of mourning in what has been called the worst human tragedy in recent times.

More than 2,000 firefighters are on the scene with help coming from Spain and across Europe.

Officials believe lightning started the fire on Saturday in the mountainous area of Pedrogao Grande, northeast of Lisbon.

Autumn officially arrives

Spring equinox

Courtesy Accuweather.com

Autumn arrived in New Brunswick at 11:21 AM (Atlantic Time) today.

The autumnal equinox occurs when the sun is directly overhead at the equator and days and nights are about equal in length.

The sun continues to move south of the equator and the amount of daylight decreases until the winter solstice (shortest day of the year) on 21 December.

The leaves are just starting to change colour in Greater Moncton.

Given the dry summer in much of the Maritimes, experts say the fall colours may not be as vibrant and the leaves could drop off earlier than usual.

Much needed rain arrives in Maritimes

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Notable rainfall amounts, 17 Aug 2016 (CTV/Twitter)

Greater Moncton recorded its highest rainfall event of the summer yesterday when more than 35 mm fell during what has been a very dry season.

Much of southern New Brunswick received between 20 and 60 mm of rain while unofficial reports in central Nova Scotia indicated as much as 100 mm fell.

The moisture lifted a burn ban across the region and helped temper forest fires in southwestern Nova Scotia.

The precipitation has also been welcomed by many farmers who have been struggling this summer.

Wildfire engulfs Fort McMurray

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RCMP among few left in Fort McMurray enforcing evacuation, 04 May 2016 (RCMP/Twitter)

About 1,600 buildings have burned to the ground in Fort McMurray as a wildfire engulfed the southwest portion of the city late yesterday.

Alberta has declared a state of emergency as the government confirms many homes in the Beacon Hill and Waterways neighbourhoods have been destroyed.

The wildfire cut the city in two forcing 10,000 people to evacuate north to oil sands camps and at least 80,000 had to head south.

Traffic became gridlocked on Highway 63 as dozens of drivers abandoned their vehicles after breaking down or running out of gas.

Heading further south to Edmonton, drivers faced a slow, tense trip with bumper-to-bumper traffic and long lineups at the few gas stations available.

The military has been called in to help firefighters and hundreds of additional RCMP officers are being deployed to the region.

Wildfire forces evacuation of Fort McMurray

FtMcfire

Wildfire closes in on Fort McMurray, AB neighbourhood, 03 May 2016 (Facebook)

The largest mandatory evacuation in the history of Alberta is underway as more than 80,000 people flee Fort McMurray due to a raging wildfire.

The forest has been tinder-dry and weather has not been cooperating for firefighters either with strong winds, soaring temperatures and low humidity.

The fire had entered the city limits by mid-afternoon and social media reports say homes, a trailer park and a hotel were engulfed in flames.

The airport remains open and officials say the city’s only hospital has been successfully evacuated.

Residents are being told to head north to the oil sands camps or Highway 63 south with evacuation centres on the way to Edmonton.

New Brunswick under burn ban

NB Burn Ban

Courtesy GNB

The forest fire season officially began this week and the entire province of New Brunswick is already under a burn ban.

The Department of Natural Resources says with little precipitation lately and the snow gone, the landscape has yet to become green and it is a dangerous time for fires.

Dead grass and branches become fast fuel for fires during early spring.

DNR reports about 30 fires have been recorded in New Brunswick so far this month which is near the 10-year average.

Green Christmas for Greater Moncton

Xmas Day 2015
For the second year in a row, it was a green Christmas in Greater Moncton with a mild high of 10 C on Christmas Day under a sunny sky.

The latest data shows that southern parts of Ontario, Quebec and the Maritimes are snow-free along with the Eastern United States.

Boxing Day also proved to be mild and dry in New Brunswick.

However, Environment Canada reports a change is coming with below freezing temperatures and low pressure bringing up to 20 cm of snow by Monday.