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.

Heat comes to abrupt end

Thunderstorm moves into Saint John, 12 June 2017 (AKS/Twitter)


After three days of daytime highs above 28 C in Greater Moncton, much cooler weather is coming thanks to a cold front and a change in wind direction. 

The warm sometimes unstable air mass has created severe thunderstorms across the region.

Flash flooding was reported in Saint John yesterday after heavy downpours with wind and and hail which were also observed today in northeastern Nova Scotia. 

Environment Canada is forecasting below seasonal temperatures for Southeast New Brunswick over the next couple of days. 

Back to the Beach

Aboiteau Beach, Cap-Pele, NB, 11 June 2017 (Dearing)


Although I walked along Parlee Beach earlier this spring, my first official beach day of the season was a visit to Aboiteau Beach in Cap-Pele yesterday. 

Under a mostly sunny sky, the afternoon high soared above 30 C although the water of the Northumberland Strait was a lot cooler. 

Signage indicated the water quality was good for swimming. 

The only minor downside was the wind which at times gusted to more than 80 km/h creating mini sand storms on the beach. 

Heavy rain, wind after record highs

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Tree downed in key intersection of downtown Moncton, 09 June 2017 (Wade Perry/Twitter)

A low pressure system moved into the Maritimes today bringing up to 40 mm of rain to Greater Moncton.

A strong thunderstorm also rolled through Southeast New Brunswick in the early evening with wind speeds clocked as high as 102 km/h.

The brief but powerful gusts downed trees and branches onto power lines and caused thousands of power outages.

Environment Canada had not issued any weather warnings for the region.

The storm replaced a warm air mass which set record highs in at least four New Brunswick communities yesterday.

The hotspot was Kouchibouguac National Park which climbed to 32 C and that beats the maximum from 1992.

Moncton and Doaktown both tied their record highs of 30.6 C for the date.

Tornado touches down in Alberta

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Tornado swirling near Three Hills, AB, 02 June 2017 (TWN/Twitter)


A large tornado touched down in central Alberta near Three Hills on Friday afternoon amid severe thunderstorms.

Environment Canada had issued a tornado warning for the region which lasted about half an hour.

Officials say wind speeds up to 130 km/h caused damage to trees, roofs and buildings but no one was hurt.

Acadian Peninsula hit again

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Severe thunderstorm, Caraquet, NB, 18 May 2017 (R.Mallais/Twitter)

After a severe ice storm in February, the Acadian Peninsula has been hit with bad weather again and this time by possible tornadoes.

Environment Canada is investigating after social media showed downed power poles, partially collapsed roofs and overturned concrete last night.

Severe thunderstorms can cause straight line winds with gusts as high as 130 km/h which is the same strength as the lowest level of tornado.

NB Power is working to restore electricity for thousands in northeastern New Brunswick and it could be sometime tomorrow before full restoration occurs.

The same frontal trough of low pressure moved into Greater Moncton this afternoon creating a 9 degree temperature drop (23 C to 14 C) in less than an hour and a wind direction change from southwest to northeast.

Nor’easter not as bad as expected

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Snow begins falling in NE Moncton, 14 March 2017 (Dearing)

An intense Nor’easter moved into New Brunswick last night from the U.S.Eastern Seaboard with heavy, wet snow and high winds creating blowing snow and poor visibility.

Snow switched over to rain over southern and central New Brunswick with a
brief period of freezing rain and ice pellets.

Forecasters had originally said up to 45 cm of snow could fall in parts of the province.

Summary of snowfall in centimetres:

Bathurst 30
Kouchibouguac 26
Fredericton 20
Edmundston 18
Moncton 17
Miramichi 16
Saint John 15

Summary of maximum winds in kilometres per hour:

Grand Manan 102
Saint John 102
Miramichi 81
Fredericton 80
Moncton 78
CFB Gagetown 72
Kouchibouguac 61

(Data courtesy Environment Canada)

Northeast U.S. nailed by Nor’easter

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Snow falls in Times Square, New York City, USA , 14 Mar 2017 (AP Photo)


One of the biggest storms this winter hit the Northeast United States with snow and gusty winds creating blizzard conditions.

Snow shovellers and plows were busy in New York City where 20 cm fell forcing schools to close and disrupting both ground and air transportation.

Boston was blanketed with 15 cm snow and amounts up to 45 cm were recorded elsewhere in Massachusetts, Connecticut and New York State.

Washington, DC only received a few centimetres but its near-peak and celebrated cherry blossoms were covered in ice.

Nor’easter replacing frigid air

Screenshot (76)_LIThe last week of winter in New Brunswick has felt more like January than March but that frigid air is about to be replaced by a powerful Nor’easter forming off the U.S. Eastern Seaboard from two low pressure systems.

Overnight temperatures plunged to -20.1 C in Greater Moncton on the weekend which is close to a record low and daytime highs remained well below freezing with dangerous wind chills as low as -35 at times.

Environment Canada says heavy snow and winds creating blowing snow will move into southwestern New Brunswick Tuesday afternoon and spread to the remainder of the province in the evening.

Snow will likely change to rain by early Wednesday with most areas of the province expected to receive up to 30 cm of snow.

Before the storm reaches the Maritimes, forecasters say the Nor’easter could drop between 30 and 50 cm of snow in the U.S. Northeast from Washington DC to New York to Boston.

Blizzard buries northern Manitoba

A blizzard buries front entrance of hotel in Churchill, MB, 09 March 2017 (Twitter)

Blizzards are not uncommon in late winter across the Prairie Provinces but the latest one to grip northern Manitoba lasted three days and dumped 60 cm snow in Churchill with winds up to 120 km/h creating enormous nine metre drifts.

Canada’s Polar Bear Capital declared a local state of emergency in an effort to gain resources from higher levels of government to help deal with the clean up.

Environment Canada says the blizzard in Churchill lasted 58 hours which was the third longest since 1953.

The fierce combination of snow and wind also stranded six people on a highway near Thompson for three days.