Ice coats southern Maritimes

Freezing rain and ice pellets fall in Greater Moncton, 07 Feb 2020 (Dearing)

A sprawling low pressure system brought a mixed bag of precipitation to the Maritimes on Thursday and Friday with mainly snow in the north and mixed snow, ice pellets, freezing rain and rain in the south.

Temperatures remained below freezing in Greater Moncton during the lengthy storm where about 13 cm of mixed precipitation fell.

Parts of Nova Scotia had extended periods of freezing rain and later rain as the thermometer surged amid strong southwest winds but quickly plummeted.

The storm also dumped heavy snow on eastern Ontario and southern Quebec.

Snowfall totals (cm) as of 08 February:

  • Edmundston  42
  • Montreal area  35-45
  • Quebec City area  35-40
  • Charlo  29
  • Ottawa Airport  26
  • Gatineau  18
  • Miramichi  16
  • Greater Moncton  13

(Data courtesy Environment Canada)

Groundhogs send mixed messages

Shubenacadie Sam sees his shadow, Shubenacadie, NS, 02 Feb 2020 (Twitter)

The first marmot in North America to make a weather prediction on Groundhog Day was Nova Scotia’s Shubenacadie Sam who saw his shadow early today which means another six weeks of winter.

However, Ontario’s Wiarton Willie and Pennsylvania’s Punxsutawney Phil didn’t see their respective shadows hence an early spring is expected.

So which groundhog do we believe?

The annual tradition originated in Germany and traces its roots to religion rather than science.

Environment Canada notes how data over the last 30 to 40 years shows that the groundhogs have only been correct about 37 percent of the time.

But admittedly, it’s a fun way to mark the midpoint of winter whether or not it wraps up early or drags on into spring.

January 2020 – Warmer than normal

Sunset at Irishtown Nature Park, 25 January 2020 (Dearing)

Glancing at the data for January 2020, one would think it was as cold if not colder than normal in Southeast New Brunswick.

The thermometer sank below -10°C on sixteen days while four of those days dropped to -20°C or lower during the month.

Despite the frigid weather, January was in fact almost three degrees above normal in Greater Moncton.

Despite two major snowfalls (including one event near 30 cm) and some rainfall, precipitation was close to the thirty-year average.

JANUARY 2020 ALMANAC (at Greater Moncton Int’l Airport, 1981-2010)

Average HIGH -2.1°C

Average LOW -10.1°C

AVERAGE -6.1°C (about 2.8 degrees ABOVE normal)

Extreme HIGH 10.9°C (11 Jan)

Extreme LOW -21.3°C (18 and 22 Jan)

RAINFALL 24.6 mm (NEAR normal)

SNOWFALL 69.6 cm (NEAR normal)

(Data courtesy Environment Canada)

Coldest, snowiest yet this winter

Snow covered steps in NE Moncton, 19 Jan 2020 (Dearing)

On the heels of the coldest weather so far this winter in Greater Moncton with lows of -21°C comes the heaviest snowfall to date.

A Colorado Low arrived in the Maritimes on Sunday after delivering a blow to the middle of the continent including Ontario and Quebec.

Since it was already very cold across Southern New Brunswick, the snow that fell was light and dry – unlike so-called “heart attack” snow which is heavy and wet.

Snowfall totals (in cm):

  • Minto area  31
  • Greater Moncton Airport  25
  • Fredericton area  16
  • Saint John Airport  13
  • Miramichi  10
  • Bathurst  4

(Data courtesy volunteer observations)

Storm brings snow to Ontario & Quebec


A Colorado Low tracked across Lake Huron on Saturday and brought snow to nearly all of Ontario and Southern Quebec with the first major amounts this winter.

Strong gusty winds up to 100 km/h in some areas also created blowing snow.

The low pressure system continued through the Northeastern United States and impacted the Maritimes on Sunday.

Snowfall amounts (in cm):

  • Marathon  30
  • Thunder Bay  21
  • Ottawa  20 (new daily record for 18 January)
  • Kitchener-Waterloo  19
  • Toronto Pearson Airport  17.2 (new daily record for 18 January)
  • Montreal  17
  • London  16
  • Kenora  15

(Data courtesy Environment Canada and volunteer observations)

Historic blizzard buries Newfoundland

Aftermath of a historic blizzard, St. John’s, NL, 18 Jan 2020 (Bob Hallett/Twitter)

Eastern Newfoundland has been paralyzed by a blizzard which meteorologists are calling a weather bomb with historic snow and howling winds.

A state of emergency continued Saturday in St. John’s where a new all-time daily snowfall record was set on Friday.

The provincial capital received an astonishing 76.2 cm on 17 January which buried vehicles and left huge snowdrifts making even walking difficult.

The previous daily record was 68.4 cm from 05 April 1999 with records dating to 1942.

Other communities in the Avalon Peninsula recorded more than 90 cm of snow.

Wind gusts exceeded hurricane-force in many areas with a peak of 171 km/h at Fortune Bay.

The Newfoundland premier has asked the federal government to bring in the army for help in the cleanup effort.

Bitter cold, snow in the West

Snow falls in Vancouver, BC, 15 January 2020 (Vancouver PD/Twitter)

Extremely cold Arctic air has enveloped Western Canada.

Temperatures have dropped into the -30s Celsius with bitter wind chills in the -40s on the Prairies and near -50 in the northern territories.

Even the normally mild Pacific coast has not escaped a so-called Arctic outflow.

About 15 to 20 cm snow fell in Vancouver and Victoria.

Schools closed, traffic was snarled and public transit buses got stuck in a region ill-equipped to handle wintry weather.

Hours of ice pellets!

Jan 12 storm

Radar shows snow (blue), ice (red), and rain (green) at 9am 12 Jan 2020 (Microsoft Weather)


Back-to-back low pressure systems brought a messy mix of precipitation to much of the Maritimes over the weekend.

Rain began falling Saturday with a near record warm high of 11 C in Greater Moncton which melted any snow on the ground.

However, the next system brought colder temperatures and more than ten hours of ice pellets (sleet) in Southeast New Brunswick sometimes mixed with snow and freezing rain.

About 15 cm of ice pellets and snow accumulated Sunday which forecasters say is quite rare and it was certainly heavy to move.

Year in Review 2019

YQM 2019
Most major centres across Southern Canada were slightly colder than normal in 2019 with only the Arctic region posting above average values.

Greater Moncton was no exception at 0.1 degree below normal which was in contrast to 2018 which was 0.4 degrees above normal.

Based on the thirty year period from 1981-2010, Moncton had more hot days and fewer frigid days in 2019 but other categories were close to average.

Rainfall was above normal for Southeast New Brunswick while less snowfall was recorded for the year.

Nova Scotia hit with heavy snow

Halifax Public Gardens main entrance, 08 Jan 2020 (Storyful/Accuweather)

Just days after the first major snowstorm of the season hit Nova Scotia, another low pressure system intensified as it tracked south of the province on Wednesday.

The eastern mainland and Cape Breton Island received lots of snow – more than 60 cm fell in some areas.

Southeast New Brunswick got off relatively easy with about 10 cm recorded in Greater Moncton.

Here are some snowfall totals (in cm) from 09 January at 5pm AST:

  • Pictou area – 63
  • Truro – 42
  • Ingonish Beach – 38
  • Halifax Stanfield Airport – 30
  • Dartmouth – 28
  • Sydney – 27
  • Charlottetown, PE – 23
  • Kentville – 20
  • Yarmouth – 15

(Data courtesy Environment Canada)