The Year Without Spring

Snow in Rexton, 21 May 2019 (S. Hudson/Facebook)

It snowed overnight in Southeast New Brunswick.

About 0.6 cm of wet snow was recorded at the Greater Moncton Airport and even higher accumulations around the region.

In recent history, I can’t recall a snowfall this late in the month of May.

With meteorological summer arriving in 10 days and astronomical summer in barely a month, I’ve concluded that 2019 is the “Year Without Spring”.

The cold, damp weather has impacted farmers who are at least two weeks behind in planting crops due to saturated fields.

Sidewalk patios are eerily empty and winter parkas are still being worn by many.

A frost advisory has been posted for tonight and another one will likely be posted in two days as temperatures drop to near freezing again overnight.

Will the weather improve anytime soon?

A high of 20°C is forecast for Saturday but keep in mind we often hit 30°C before the beginning of June.

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Frost advisory!

Desmoiselles Beach, Hopewell Rocks, 12 May 2019 (Dearing)

The Victoria Day long weekend marks the unofficial start of the summer season in Canada when opening up the cottage or camping are on the agenda.

However, many residents are still wearing heavy, winter jackets and gloves as daytime highs struggle to reach 10°C in Southeast New Brunswick.

The normal maximum in Greater Moncton is about 18°C but the long range forecast shows it won’t be that warm for another six days!

Environment Canada has issued a frost advisory for all of New Brunswick and most of mainland Nova Scotia as the overnight low drops to near freezing.

On the upside, the advisory means the growing season is now officially underway but on the downside, it’s not warm enough to plant anything.

“Sprinter” continues

Snowflakes falling in NE Moncton, 14 May 2019 (Dearing)

Sprinter is a portmanteau of spring and winter which aptly describes the recent weather in Southeast New Brunswick.

Already mid-May, Environment Canada indicates Greater Moncton is running about three degrees below normal for the month.

Snow mixed in with rain last night and 0.6 cm was recorded at the airport.

Today’s daytime high was 5.3°C and the forecast shows little change for tomorrow.

The Victoria Day long weekend is expected to bring some sunshine but temperatures will remain below seasonable.

Flooding eases along St. John River

FredApr2019

Flooding in Fredericton, 24 Apr 2019 (GNB/Yerxa)

The New Brunswick Emergency Measures Organization says water levels continue to recede and are now below flood stage along most of the St. John River system.

Several roads remain closed and drivers are told to respect any barricades.

The provincial government has launched a disaster assistance program to help residents, businesses and municipalities deal with property damage from flooding.

Health officials are warning about harvesting wild, edible plants like fiddleheads near flooded waterways which may have been exposed to contaminants.

We finally hit 20°C!

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Hummingbird feeder in NE Moncton, 05 May 2019 (Dearing)

It took a little bit longer this spring compared to the last several years but Greater Moncton has finally reached 20°C.

The daytime high Sunday was 19.7°C which is about as close as you can get and while it was a cooler Monday, the temperature climbed to 21.1°C Tuesday.

Environment Canada is forecasting cooler, slightly below temperatures for the remainder of the week.

Annual dates reaching 20°C…

  • 2019 – 05 May
  • 2018 – 24 April
  • 2017 – 11 April
  • 2016 – 21 April
  • 2015 – 04 May
  • 2014 – 13 April

Frost free season approaches

May is here which means it won’t be long before Jack Frost visits Atlantic Canada for the last time this spring.

Mid to late May is typically when the last frost arrives in Greater Moncton, early in the month for Halifax and late April for Yarmouth.

Early to mid June dates are normal for most of Newfoundland and Labrador.

Last year in New Brunswick and Nova Scotia, frost appeared as late as early June which proved disastrous for grape, blueberry and strawberry farmers.

April 2019 – Wet and chilly

Glorious sunset in NE Moncton, 22 Apr 2019 (Dearing)

Spring can be the most disappointing season of the year in New Brunswick and April 2019 was no exception with cloudy, cool and often wet conditions.

Surprisingly, Greater Moncton was close to normal in temperature but double the average amount of rain fell along with slightly more snow than usual.

Melting snow and heavy precipitation led to more disastrous flooding along the St. John River – almost as bad as last year’s historic water levels.

Only one day was fully below freezing and while nights weren’t that cold, daytime highs often struggled to reach the double digits.

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

Average HIGH  8.1°C

Average LOW  -1.0°C

AVERAGE  3.6°C (near normal)

Extreme HIGH  18.9°C (21 Apr)

Extreme LOW  -6.0°C (08 Apr)

RAINFALL  122.5 mm (about 100 percent ABOVE normal)

SNOWFALL  32.8 cm (slightly ABOVE normal)

(Data courtesy Environment Canada)

Spring blizzard sweeps Prairies

A snowy sidewalk in Calgary, 27 April 2019 (Instagram/machadogiselia)

A strong low pressure system brought snow and strong winds to Alberta creating poor visibility and even thunderstorms and a possible tornado were reported.

Emergency officials scrambled to respond to more than 120 road crashes in Calgary on Sunday due to slippery, treacherous conditions after about 15 cm snow fell.

The spring blizzard continued to move across the Prairies where it dumped up to 45 cm on southwestern Saskatchewan including the Cypress Hills area.

The storm crossed into Manitoba with as little as 5 cm in the southeast to about 30 cm in the southwest.

Flooding plagues Ontario & Quebec

Ottawa flood

Volunteers filling sandbags in Ottawa, 25 April 2019 (City of Ottawa)


New Brunswick is not the only province experiencing severe flooding this spring – so are Ontario and Quebec.

The City of Ottawa declared a state of emergency this week as water levels rose along the Ottawa River.

The military was called in to help with flood mitigation efforts including sandbagging along with thousands of community volunteers.

In the western Laurentian mountains, the Rouge River is threatening to spill over the Bell Falls Dam and at least 60 homes have been evacuated downstream.

Due to the threat of flooding in several areas of the city, Montreal has also declared a state of emergency.

Flooding closes section of TCH

Flooding along the St. John River in Maugerville, 23 April 2019 (5th Canadian Division/Facebook)

For the second year in a row, floodwaters from the St. John River have forced the closure of the Trans Canada Highway between Moncton and Fredericton.

The New Brunswick Department of Transportation says drivers must detour at the Oromocto exit or at the River Glade exit and travel through Saint John.

The detour will add approximately 90 kilometres in each direction.

River Watch officials say water levels in Saint John are expected to reach last year’s historic marks by Friday and while now receding in Fredericton, the water will likely rise again by this weekend.