Flooding destroys roads, bridges across southern N.B.

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Heavy rain and fast melting snow from the weekend storm swelled rivers and streams throughout Southern New Brunswick.

Floodwaters swept away culverts and damaged bridges including the historic covered Bell Bridge which crews say is beyond repair and will be torn down.

Washouts and severe erosion forced the Department of Transportation to close dozens of roads and reduce others to one lane.

Residents have been urged to report storm damage to the provincial government and contact their insurance companies for losses.

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Flooding then flash freeze

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Satellite image taken just before cold front sweeps through Maritimes, 13 Jan 2018 (earth.nullschool.net)

After a low pressure system brought heavy rain and strong winds gusting up to 74 km/h to Southeast New Brunswick early today, a cold front moved through the region plummeting temperatures below freezing.

The thermometer in Greater Moncton dropped an incredible 14 degrees in just one hour – from 15 C at 11am to 1 C at noon – and then fell below zero shortly afterward.

Today’s daytime high of 16.7 C has unofficially broken the 13 January record of 12.2 C from 1972.

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Floodwaters in Moncton near Wheeler Blvd. and Crowley Farm Rd., 13 Jan 2018 (City of Moncton)

Flooding was reported in various parts of Greater Moncton and the province was forced to close some roads due to high water levels.

Before the precipitation ends later tonight, rain will change to freezing rain mixed with ice pellets and then finally to snow.

Record January thaw

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Icy conditions in a parking lot of NE Moncton, 11 Jan 2018 (Dearing)

A few days ago it was extremely cold in Greater Moncton and today it felt like spring.

The unofficial high was 14.3 C which beats the record of 11.2 C from 2014 according to Environment Canada.

But emergency measures officials are warning New Brunswickers to be prepared for possible flooding this weekend with 50 to 100 mm of rain possible and a flash freeze warning.

The ground is mostly frozen and has a reduced ability to absorb heavy rainfall.

The temperature is forecast to fall below freezing by late Saturday which will lead to icy conditions.

Arctic air to retreat

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Snow is piled high in Boston, MA, USA, 05 Jan 2018 (AP)

Much of New Brunswick was under another extreme cold warning this weekend with a near record low of -22.3 C in Greater Moncton today (record is -23.3 C from 1945) and a bone-chilling wind chill near -36.

Environment Canada is calling for temperatures to moderate this week with a return to near normal values and even above freezing temperatures by Thursday.

The Northeast United States has also been under a cold snap and the thermometer bottomed out Sunday with record lows in a number of cities including Burlington, Vermont at -29 C and Portland, Maine at -24 C.

Boston, Massachusetts tied its record low of -19 C just days after digging out from 34 cm of snow during the ‘bomb cyclone’ and being inundated with icy floodwaters from the highest tides in a century.

Greater Moncton spared worst of storm

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Powerful storm surge causes flooding along the waterfront in Halifax, NS, 05 Jan 2018 (Twitter)

The ‘bomb cyclone’ or ‘snow hurricane’ – featuring a dramatic drop in atmospheric pressure when warm and cold air collided – has left the Maritimes and spared Southeast New Brunswick from the worst of its fury.

While strong winds were a factor throughout the region, Greater Moncton received less snow compared to further north and west.

To the south and east, more rain fell along with hurricane-force winds (up to 200 km/h gusts in western Cape Breton) which created powerful storm surges causing flooding along the coast.

Here are some totals from Environment Canada and local estimates:

  • Greater Moncton Airport  14 cm snow, 10 mm rain, 91 km/h wind gust
  • Bathurst  58 cm snow, 80 km/h wind gust
  • Fredericton  30 cm snow, 78 km/h wind gust
  • Saint John  5 cm snow, 20 mm rain, 87 km/h wind gust
  • Halifax Stanfield Airport  40 mm rain, trace snow, 122 km/h wind gust

The storm may have departed but Arctic air has filtered back into the Maritimes which will mean a bitterly cold weekend.

Maria becomes a menace

MariaThe parade of hurricanes in the Atlantic continues with Maria making landfall late tonight over the eastern Caribbean island nation of Dominica as a powerful category 5 storm packing sustained winds of 260 km/h.

The U.S. National Hurricane Center is outlying a path for Maria which is eerily similar to the recent Hurricane Irma with the U.S and British Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico expected to be impacted on Wednesday.

Maria will be accompanied by a dangerous storm surge and between 300-500 mm (12-20 inches) of rain to some of the islands causing life-threatening flash floods and mudslides.

Meantime, Hurricane Jose is still churning northward as a category 1 storm with heavy surf and rip currents along the U.S East Coast from North Carolina to Massachusetts.

Canadian forecasters say the remnants of Jose have already brought high humidity to the Maritimes and will give Nova Scotia persistent moisture and cloud cover as well as rough surf along the Atlantic coast.

Irma swamps Florida

The impact of Hurricane Irma in Miami, FL, USA, 10 Sept 2017 (AP)

Irma was downgraded from a hurricane to a tropical storm today after slamming Florida with destructive wind, heavy rain, flash flooding, high storm surges and even tornadoes.

Irma, one of the most powerful hurricanes ever recorded in the Atlantic Ocean, made landfall over the Florida Keys on Sunday before coming ashore near Naples and then heading up the state’s west coast.

Miami was not in the storm’s direct path but was still battered by strong winds which swayed high rise buildings, brought down three construction cranes and downtown streets were swamped.

In northeast Florida, Jacksonville had historic flooding after the swollen St. Johns River spilled its banks and officials said dangerous conditions were expected for several days.

Prior to arriving in the United States, Irma claimed 10 lives in Cuba according to state media after battering Havana and tourist resorts such as Varadero and Cayo Coco where the international airport was destroyed.

Triple Threat: Irma, Jose & Katia

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From left to right, Hurricanes Katia, Irma, Jose, 08 Sept 2017 (Earth Wind Map)

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Irma aftermath on St. Maarten Island, eastern Caribbean, 06 Sept 2017 (Reuters)

Hurricane Irma has barreled through the Caribbean as a Category 5 storm claiming more than 20 lives and destroying more than 90 percent of the buildings on the islands of Barbuda, St. Martin/St. Maarten and St. Barts.

Irma is heading for Florida where officials say it could be the strongest storm ever and evacuation orders have led to massive lineups at gas stations as residents flee northward.

Following a similar path, Hurricane Jose is a Category 4 storm which could hit the already battered islands of Antigua and Barbuda.

Hurricane Katia is a Category 2 storm in the Gulf of Mexico which will make landfall along Mexico’s east coast bringing heavy rain and a storm surge before dissipating quickly over the rugged Sierra Madre mountains.

Forecasters say three simultaneous hurricanes is quite rare and the last time was in 2010 with Hurricanes Igor, Julia and Karl.

Harvey finally downgraded

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Floodwaters surround homes and vehicles in east Houston, Texas, USA, 28 Aug 2017 (Reuters)

Tropical Storm Harvey has been downgraded to a tropical depression but not before creating a new weather record in the United States.

Climatologists say Harvey is the worst rainfall event ever with 1318 mm (51.88 inches) of rain recorded at Cedar Bayou, Texas beating the previous mark of 1219 mm (48 inches) in Medina, Texas from Tropical Storm Amelia in 1978.

Thousands of residents could still be stranded and an estimated 40,000 homes have been destroyed by the storm in the Houston area.

Heavy rain is now moving over Louisiana, Mississippi, Arkansas and Tennessee with some areas expecting more than 200 mm.

Catastrophic flooding in Houston

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Floodwaters inundate a neighbourhood in Houston, TX, USA, 28 Aug 2017 (Getty Images)

More than 3,500 residents of Houston have been rescued since Tropical Storm Harvey began pounding southeastern Texas with more than 750 mm of rain and counting.

Tens of thousands displaced from their homes are being housed at evacuation centres which are now overcapacity forcing many to sleep in chairs or on the floor.

Officials began releasing water from two Houston reservoirs on Monday in order to prevent uncontrollable flooding in the downtown area.

Houston’s two main airports have been closed since their runways are completely underwater.

The Texas Gulf Coast is a key centre of the American oil and gas industry with some of the largest refineries in the United States halting operations.