Fall colours reach peak

Fall foliage along St George Boulevard, Moncton, 13 Oct 2018 (Dearing)

The brilliant fall foliage hues of red, orange and gold have reached their peak in Southeast New Brunswick.

Leaves have already begun falling to the ground and the season is already past peak across the northern part of the province.

Experts say the colours have peaked about a week later than usual thanks to a hot, dry summer which caused stress for leaves.

The drought was relatively short-lived with a plentiful amount of rain recorded so far this autumn.

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September 2018 – Warm and wet

Black-eyed Susans growing in Upper Hammonds Plains, NS, 21 Sept 2018 (Dearing)

Warm, summer weather picked up in September where it left off in August in Southeast New Brunswick.

But the passage of a cold front marked a drastic temperature drop on the 18th and suddenly it felt like fall in Greater Moncton.

The thermometer continued to plunge and sank to -1.9°C on the 25th with light, scattered frost although most vegetation was spared severe damage.

Precipitation was actually above normal although heavy amounts fell in a handful of rainfalls.

SEPTEMBER 2018 ALMANAC (at Greater Moncton Int’l Airport, 1981-2010)

Average HIGH 20.9°C

Average LOW 7.9°C

AVERAGE 14.4°C (about 0.8 degrees ABOVE normal)

Extreme HIGH 28.9°C (06 Sept)

Extreme LOW -1.9°C (25 Sept)

RAINFALL 100.5 mm (about 10 percent ABOVE normal)

(Data courtesy Environment Canada)

August 2018 – Heat continues!

Tall trees in Irishtown Nature Park, 26 August 2018 (Dearing)

A hot July also translated into a hot August in what has to be one of the warmest summers in Southeast New Brunswick since 1940.

In Greater Moncton, the thermometer climbed to 30°C or higher on 6 days during August and never dropped below 18°C during 9 overnights.

Fans, air conditioners and other cooling units sold out at stores across the region and many weren’t able to reorder more.

Although it seemed rather dry, rainfall was actually slightly above average thanks to a single rain event which delivered nearly 60 mm which is 60 percent of the monthly total.

AUGUST 2018 ALMANAC (at Greater Moncton Int’l Airport, 1981-2010)

Average HIGH 26.2°C

Average LOW 14.6°C

AVERAGE 20.4°C (about 2.2 degrees ABOVE normal)

Extreme HIGH 31.6°C (06 Aug)

Extreme LOW 9.7°C (31 Aug)

RAINFALL 100.4 mm (about 20 percent ABOVE normal)

(Data courtesy Environment Canada)

Calgary sets new heat record

Palm tree flourishing in the heat, SE Calgary, AB, 11 August 2018 (Dearing)

Calgary hit an all-time record high on Friday when the thermometer climbed to 36.5°C which eclipsed the previous record of 36.1°C set 85 years ago.

Environment Canada had issued heat warnings for more than 100 regions in Alberta, British Columbia, Saskatchewan and Manitoba.

Besides the heat, smoke from forest fires have caused poor air quality throughout Western Canada.

A cold front lowered temperatures in Alberta to near seasonal values for the weekend but the heat lingered in the eastern Prairies.

Summer heat sizzles Europe

A warm air mass from north Africa has caused temperatures to skyrocket into the 40s C throughout the Iberian Peninsula challenging all-time heat records in Europe.

Lisbon, Portugal set a new maximum for 04 August at 44°C and even overnight lows are barely falling below 30°C.

Hundreds of firefighters are battling wildfires in the Algarve region and in neighbouring Spain.

The water in some rivers has become so overheated that fish are dying on a mass scale.

Forecasters say the heat is moving east and will affect France and Germany over the next few days.

The hottest temperature ever recorded in Europe is 48°C (118.4°F) set in Athens, Greece in July 1977.

Warm July for most of Canada

July was a warm month not only in Greater Moncton and New Brunswick but also throughout most of Canada – except for the Far North.

Montreal shattered its monthly record with a mean temperature of 24.1 C – three degrees above normal – and sadly dozens died from not having air conditioning.

Halifax and Toronto were both almost two degrees above normal while Vancouver and Calgary were each more than one degree higher than average.

Even normally cool St. John’s, Newfoundland was 1.6 degrees warmer in July with 15 days reaching daytime highs of 25 C or more.

Only in the Arctic were temperatures lower with Iqaluit, Nunavut nearly one degree below average and Resolute was off by 2.5 degrees – its coldest July since 1964.

July 2018 – Record heat!

Five Islands, Colchester County, NS, 24 July 2018 (Dearing)

July was definitely hot and often humid in Greater Moncton with Environment Canada confirming it was the warmest since 1940.

The average daily temperature was 21.4 C which is 2.6 degrees above normal.

An official heat wave in the first week was followed by numerous heat warnings being issued.

The thermometer climbed to 30 C or higher on 11 days during July and never dropped below 18 C during 7 overnights.

Rainfall was more than 30 percent below normal and much of the precipitation fell during thunderstorms.

JULY 2018 ALMANAC (at Greater Moncton Int’l Airport, 1981-2010)

Average HIGH  27.8°C

Average LOW  14.8°C

AVERAGE  21.4°C (about 2.6 degrees ABOVE normal)

Extreme HIGH  34.2°C (05 July)

Extreme LOW  8.7°C (13 July)

RAINFALL  63.0 mm (more than 30 percent BELOW normal)

(Data courtesy Environment Canada)

Wildfires rage in California

CAfires

Wildfires burning in northern California, 29 July 2018 (Google Maps)

The largest of California’s wildfires has claimed five lives and destroyed more than 500 buildings near the city of Redding in the northern part of the state.

Fire officials say the blaze has grown in size to about 360 square kilometres thanks to hot, dry conditions and gusty winds.

Sparks from a vehicle ignited the fire on 23 July and now many of Redding’s 92,000 residents are on evacuation notice.

Further south, crews have made progress containing a wildfire outside Yosemite National Park but heavy smoke has closed the Yosemite Valley until next weekend.

Furnace Friday

HotUK

Forecast highs in the UK for 27 July 2018 (Met Office)

The British, like Canadians, often give names to extreme weather events and ‘Furnace Friday’ is a fine example.

Meteorologists were expecting the all-time heat record of 38.5 C from 2003 would fall yesterday but thunderstorms rolled through and cooled things down.

Nevertheless, the UK Met Office reports a maximum of 34.7 C at Tibenham Airfield, Norfolk while it reached 35.3 C in Faversham, Kent – the hottest high of 2018 so far.

The heat wave has turned grass brown, triggered water restrictions, disrupted rail services and prompted a warning from officials to stay out of the sun.

The heat returns!

Countryside near Victoria-by-the-Sea, PEI, 23 July 2018 (Dearing)

Another round of very warm temperatures and high humidity has enveloped almost all of the Maritimes with only New Brunswick’s Fundy coast exempt from an Environment Canada heat warning.

While actual daytime highs will approach 30 C, humidex values will range between 35 and 40 which can be dangerous for those at risk including young children, seniors and anyone with a chronic illness.

Forecasters say some relief may come on Thursday with some much needed rain but high humidity could persist until early next week.