February 2019 – Cold & Stormy

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Aftermath of ice storm in NE Moncton, 08 Feb 2019 (Dearing)

February may be the shortest month but it certainly seemed a lot longer this year with bitterly cold and stormy conditions.

While January was snowy in Greater Moncton, all was quiet until the largest single snowfall of the year arrived at mid-month.

After several freeze-thaw cycles which produced icy conditions, the latter half became decidedly colder with bitter overnight lows and wind chills.

Strong winds and blowing snow created dangerous whiteout conditions during the last week wreaking havoc with transportation across New Brunswick.

FEBRUARY 2019 ALMANAC (at Greater Moncton Int’l Airport, 1981-2010)

Average HIGH -3.5°C

Average LOW -12.9°C

AVERAGE -8.3°C (about 0.7 degrees BELOW normal)

Extreme HIGH 7.2°C (05 Feb)

Extreme LOW -18.7°C (27 Feb)

RAINFALL 25.2 mm (just slightly BELOW normal)

SNOWFALL 58.8 cm (about 10 percent BELOW normal)

(Data courtesy Environment Canada)

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Frigid air follows ice storm

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Aftermath of ice storm in NE Moncton, 08 Feb 2019 (Dearing)

Southern New Brunswick received several hours of freezing rain Friday morning – enough to make highways and other surfaces extremely icy.

Schools were cancelled, many businesses delayed opening until midday, pedestrians were forced to walk like penguins and even salt trucks slid off the road in Nova Scotia.

Ice coated my own steps to the point where I had to slide down them and crawl to my car which was a few metres away.

Greater Moncton only received about 10 mm of rain but the water eventually froze when a cold front followed the ice storm and temperatures plummeted by early Saturday.

Winds were also strong behind the system gusting at times up to 90 km/h.

Environment Canada is forecasting colder than normal weather but mostly clear skies over the next few days.

What a mess!

Crestwood Drive under water in north Moncton, 20 Jan 2019 (MacKay/Facebook)

An intense low pressure system proved to be one of the strongest winter storms in the Maritimes so far this season.

Greater Moncton received 12 cm of snow followed by several hours of freezing rain and then almost 30 mm of rain.

The rain led to flooding on many streets after storm drains became clogged with ice and snow and the water had no place to go.

To make matters worse, temperatures plunged well below freezing after the rain and subsequent flooding which led to such icy streets that some donned skates as a more efficient way of getting around.

The wild weather closed many highways for hours including the Trans Canada and Route 1 between River Glade and St. Stephen yesterday.

Northern New Brunswick received the most snow between 30 and 50 cm while the Halifax region of Nova Scotia got the most rain at nearly 60 mm.

Winter storm stretches across central, eastern U.S.

Cross country skiing near US Capitol, Washington, DC, USA, 13 Jan 2018 (Twitter/Nathanaj80)

A major winter storm brought heavy snow and mixed precipitation from the American Midwest to the mid-Atlantic states over the weekend.

The snow began falling in Kansas and Missouri with some areas getting almost 50 cm.

The storm knocked out power, disrupted air travel and created slippery highways with numerous collisions including an Illinois crash which killed a police officer.

Freezing rain led to a build-up of ice on surfaces in North Carolina and Virginia.

Between 15 and 30 cm of snow fell over the Washington, DC area – its heaviest snowfall in three years – which closed schools and federal government offices on Monday.

Forecasters say melting during the day would create hazardous black ice after sunset as temperatures fell back below freezing.

The storm system has moved out into the Atlantic but will brush Cape Breton Island and eastern Newfoundland on Tuesday.

Icy weekend in Central Canada

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A tree falls onto an SUV in an ice storm, East York, Toronto, ON, 15 April 2018 (R. Johnston/Toronto Star)

A slow moving low pressure system brought a wintry mix of snow, ice pellets, freezing rain, rain and strong winds to Southern Ontario and Southern Quebec over the weekend.

Icy conditions led to more than 1,600 highway crashes, numerous power outages from falling trees and downed lines, cancelled flights, transit delays and school closures.

Officials were forced to close the CN Tower due to falling ice from the structure.

Here are some totals from the spring storm as of 16 April at 2pm EDT:

  • Toronto Pearson Airport – 18 hours of ice pellets, 6 hours of freezing rain, 12 cm ice pellets.
  • Toronto Billy Bishop Airport – Peak wind gust of 96km/h
  • London – 14 hours of freezing rain with ice pellets
  • Windsor – 6 hours of freezing rain
  • Hamilton – 11 hours of ice pellets, 6 hours of freezing rain and ice pellets, 8 hours of freezing rain
  • Ottawa – 9 hours of freezing rain Sunday, 6 hours of freezing rain Monday, wind gusts to 70 km/h
  • Montreal – 9 hours of freezing rain Saturday, 4 hours of freezing rain Sunday, 3 hours freezing rain Monday
  • Quebec City – 5 hours of freezing rain Monday

(Data courtesy Environment Canada)

Winter 2017/18 – Riding a Rollercoaster!

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A view of downtown Moncton from city hall, 23 Jan 2018 (City of Moncton)

Meteorological winter 2017/18 is now in the books since the three month period of December, January and February is over but we all know winter is not over yet in Southeast New Brunswick.

What a ride it has been in Greater Moncton with temperatures fluctuating wildly from very mild to extremely cold in just hours and in one case in mere minutes.

Snowfall was lighter compared to normal especially in February but the bigger concern were frequent periods of mixed, icy precipitation such as freezing rain and ice pellets.

WINTER ALMANAC 2017/18 at the Greater Moncton International Airport

Average HIGH  -1.2 C (about 0.9 degrees ABOVE normal)

Average LOW  -11.0 C (about 1 degree ABOVE normal)

AVERAGE  -6.1 C (about 1 degree ABOVE normal)

Extreme HIGH  16.7 C (13 January – highest temperature ever recorded in January)

Extreme LOW  -22.3 C (07 February)

RAINFALL  134.4 mm (about 20 percent ABOVE normal)

SNOWFALL  177.8 cm (about 15 percent BELOW normal)

(Data courtesy Environment Canada)

 

Freezing rain creates icy conditions

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Freezing rain (pink) sandwiched between snow (blue) to the north and rain (green) to the south, 23 Dec 2017 (Intellicast)

Streets and highways in Greater Moncton turned into skating rinks early this evening after freezing rain began falling through Central and Southeast New Brunswick.

Social media users mentioned how numerous vehicles were sliding off the roads in icy conditions and Magnetic Hill had become an ice sheet.

A low pressure system from the Northeastern United States brought mixed precipitation which eventually changed to rain.

Meantime, Environment Canada is monitoring a major snowstorm expected Christmas Day which could bring 20 cm snow to parts of New Brunswick.

Military joins ice storm relief effort

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Members of the military go door to door in Lameque, NB, 31 Jan 2017 (JTFA/Twitter)

Members of the Canadian Armed Forces have been dispatched to the Acadian Peninsula to help in the cleanup following the recent ice storm.

Thousands are still without electricity in northeastern New Brunswick almost a week after the devastating storm.

About 200 members of the military are doing various tasks including going door to door in communities to check on residents who may still be in their homes.

NB Power describes this “crisis” event as being worse than Hurricane Arthur in 2014.

Acadian Peninsula pounded by ice storm 

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Icy road on the Acadian Peninsula, 27 Jan 2017 (Twitter)

While Greater Moncton was hard hit by this week’s ice storm so was much of eastern New Brunswick including the Acadian Peninsula.

At least three communities have declared states of emergency – Tracadie-Sheila, Lameque and Shippagan – in what has been the most devastating ice storm in recent memory.

Two deaths have been reported and many others hospitalized for carbon monoxide poisoning related to an alternate source of indoor heating amid the massive power outages.

Power poles have snapped in half under the weight of ice-laden lines and downed trees and branches have shut down roads as the cleanup begins.

As of Saturday 28 January at 9am, NB Power reports about 46,000 customers are still without power and almost half are in the Acadian Peninsula.

NB ice storm cleanup continues

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Power pole and lines dangling in NW Moncton, 25 Jan 2017 (Facebook)


Some residents of New Brunswick have been without power for more than 24 hours after the worst ice storm in recent memory.

NB Power has about 250 crews on the ground and more from neighbouring Nova Scotia trying to restore electricity in what officials are calling a “huge weather event”.

By the end of today, the power utility believes 80 percent of customers in Greater Moncton and Sussex will be back on the grid while 60 percent in Shediac, Sackville and Miramichi should be restored.

Warming centres have opened in several communities where residents can seek shelter and charge their electronic devices.

Fortunately temperatures are not very cold and should not fall below freezing until early Friday.