Winter 2019-20 in Review

Data courtesy Environment Canada

Meteorological winter in Greater Moncton covering the months of December, January and February proved to be almost two degrees above normal compared to the 30-year average.

The warmest temperatures were recorded in December while frigid weather in February saw the coldest low in five years.

Precipitation was about 25 percent below normal with little snow in December and barely any rain in February.

February 2020 – Cold yet above normal

Ducks on ice, Irishtown Nature Park, Moncton, 29 Feb 2020 (Dearing)

Some of the coldest lows yet this winter were recorded in February yet the mean monthly temperature in Greater Moncton was actually above normal based on the 30-year average.

Four overnight lows dropped to -20°C or lower with a frigid -24.4°C on 15 Feb which was the coldest minimum in five years (since February 2015).

Eleven days were below freezing but daytime highs climbed above freezing during the final week of the month.

Three major storms brought above normal snowfall but a scant 1.0 mm of rain was recorded which was well below the average of 28 mm.

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

Average HIGH -1.0°C

Average LOW -11.4°C

AVERAGE -6.2°C (about 1.4 degrees ABOVE normal)

Extreme HIGH 7.3°C (24 Feb)

Extreme LOW -24.4°C (15 Feb)

RAINFALL 1.0 mm (substantially BELOW normal)

SNOWFALL 71.2 cm (slightly ABOVE normal)

(Data courtesy Environment Canada)

Spring 2020 forecast unveiled

Spring 2020
The Weather Network has unveiled its spring forecast for the months of March, April and May.

Recent spring-like weather in New Brunswick has made many wonder when the real season will arrive.

TWN meteorologist Doug Gilham expects we should still expect some wintry weather during March which is not unusual but he thinks temperatures should be near normal for the three month period.

Gilham believes it will be a wet season overall with above normal precipitation especially rainfall.

Last year, spring was very late and cold weather just wouldn’t let go.

Snow was recorded as late as 21 May in Greater Moncton.

Winter storm sweeps Eastern Canada

Snow falls in NE Moncton, 27 Feb 2020 (Dearing)

A major winter storm moved across Ontario, Quebec and Atlantic Canada delivering snow, rain, freezing rain, strong winds and ice pellets.

Police told drivers to stay off the roads, many flights were grounded, schools closed and some businesses shut down.

Almost 17 cm of snow/ice pellets fell in Greater Moncton which made roads treacherous and forced the transit system to cancel service by late afternoon.

Snowfall amounts (in cm):

  • Mont-Laurier, QC 49
  • Pembroke, ON 34
  • Gaspe, QC 25 to 45
  • Ingonish Beach, NS 25
  • Miramichi, NB 22
  • Quebec City area 20 to 40
  • Edmundston, NB 18
  • Greater Moncton 17
  • Ottawa 17
  • Fredericton 16
  • Toronto Pearson 15
  • London 12
  • Greater Montreal 5 to 15
  • St. John’s 11

Duration of freezing rain (in hours):

  • CFB Trenton 7
  • Kingston 5
  • Ottawa 1.5

Rainfall (in mm):

  • Western Head, NS 47
  • Shelburne, NS 34

Wind gusts (in km/h):

  • Grand Etang, Cape Breton, NS 181
  • Wreckhouse, NL 181
  • Yarmouth, NS 118
  • Port aux Basques, NL 123
  • Quebec City 102
  • Stephenville, NL 100
  • Picton area, ON 101
  • Sydney, NS 93
  • Halifax Stanfield 89
  • Toronto Billy Bishop 82

(Data courtesy Environment Canada)

Spring-like weather ends

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File photo (Dearing)

The last few days have felt like spring in New Brunswick but the warm spell is about to end.

Temperatures have soared as high as 10°C in some areas.

The normal maximum for late February is about 0°C in Greater Moncton.

Recent daytime highs:

  • 6.1°C on 23 Feb
  • 7.3°C on 24 Feb
  • 6.0°C on 25 Feb
  • 4.0°C on 26 Feb

However, winter is returning as a low pressure system brings mixed precipitation to Ontario and Quebec with the Maritimes next in its path.

Environment Canada has issued various weather warnings and up to 25 cm of snow and ice pellets could fall starting late Thursday into Friday.

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)