Warm spring-like sunshine could felt on my western facing balcony this afternoon in northeast Moncton and for few precious minutes it almost felt like winter was over.
The thermometer climbed to 12.9 C at the Greater Moncton International Airport which just barely eclipsed the record high of 12.8 C from 1953.
Other record highs were set across the Maritimes including 13.8 C in Cheticamp, Nova Scotia and 10.4 C in Edmundston.
But further to the west, the temperature climbed to a balmy 17.6 C in Sherbrooke, Quebec.
The beaches of Varadero, Cuba, 15 February 2018 (Dearing)
Let’s face it, winter in Southeast New Brunswick has been a volatile roller coaster ride with wildly fluctuating temperatures and unusual amounts of mixed precipitation.
I wanted an escape, so a two-week vacation getaway to Cuba was in order.
From 06-20 February, the island’s most popular beach destination of Varadero enjoyed daytime highs in the upper 20s C with glorious sunshine and just a few passing clouds.
Winter is the dry season in Cuba and precipitation was light except for a lengthy downpour of rain during just one early morning.
Varadero has some of the best beaches in the Caribbean and millions of international visitors – mostly Canadians – flock there every year.
Icy conditions in a parking lot of NE Moncton, 11 Jan 2018 (Dearing)
Environment Canada issued a flash freeze warning for much of New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island early today.
A low pressure system brought snow, later rain and then snow again after the temperature plummeted as Arctic air pushed back into the region.
The daytime high in Greater Moncton was 3.0 C at 11am and pooling water began freezing when the thermometer dropped below freezing by 3pm.
By early Saturday, forecasters say the low could drop to -20 C but temperatures will moderate on Sunday before falling again on Monday.
The Petitcodiac River in Moncton looking toward Dieppe, 28 January 2018 (Dearing)
The first month of 2018 proved to be quite a roller coaster ride in Southeast New Brunswick.
Bitter cold to begin January was briefly erased by a fast-moving ‘bomb cyclone’ until another Arctic blast sunk the low to -22.3 C with a bitter wind chill of -36.
A record thaw saw the thermometer climb to 16.7 C in Greater Moncton – the highest ever in January – and a new all-time provincial high of 17.3 C in Sussex.
Precipitation was above average overall with near normal snowfall – 25 cm was the heaviest snow event on 30-31 – and about twice as much rainfall.
JANUARY 2018 ALMANAC (at Greater Moncton Int’l Airport, 1981-2010)
Average HIGH -2.0 C
Average LOW -12.6 C
AVERAGE -7.4 C (1.5 degrees ABOVE normal)
Extreme HIGH 16.7 C (13 Jan, new all-time monthly high)
Extreme LOW -22.3 C (07 Jan)
RAINFALL 53.3 mm (almost 50 percent ABOVE normal)
SNOWFALL 77.2 cm (NEAR normal)
(Data courtesy Environment Canada)
The track of the latest Nor’easter hugged the Atlantic coast of Nova Scotia which ultimately led to more snow in Southeast New Brunswick than forecasters first thought.
Environment Canada originally predicted 10 cm but more than double fell in Greater Moncton which ended up with the highest snow total in the Maritimes.
This was a classic Nor’easter with strong winds reaching a peak gust of 78 km/h creating blowing and drifting snow in open areas.
Here are some regional totals as of 8am ADT on 31 January:
- Greater Moncton Airport: 25 cm
- Halifax International Airport: 23 cm
- Greenwood: 20
- Sydney: 20
- Halifax (downtown): 19
- Charlottetown: 19
- Bathurst: 18
- CFB Gagetown: 14
- Yarmouth: 13
- Saint John Airport: 11
A classic Nor’easter arrived in the Maritimes today bringing an abrupt end to a snow free Southeast New Brunswick.
Environment Canada says the intensity of the storm led to a snowfall warning and a blowing snow advisory being issued by mid-afternoon for Greater Moncton.
By 6pm, about 16 cm of snow had fallen with winds gusting up to 74 km/h creating poor visibility in blowing snow.
In Nova Scotia, about 16 cm fell in both the city of Halifax and at Stanfield Airport with an impressive 40 cm recorded in Sydney.
A snow free downtown Moncton, 28 Jan 2018 (Dearing)
With a daytime high of 7 C, it felt more like spring than midwinter along the Riverfront Trail in Moncton today.
Skateboarders instead of snowshoers were found along with joggers in shorts and T-shirts and a group having a picnic in the late afternoon sun.
A lack of snow cancelled numerous winter activities this weekend and ski resorts put snowmaking machines into overdrive to open just a handful of runs.
Environment Canada says winter is returning with a low pressure system arriving Tuesday with up to 15 cm of snow possible in Southeast New Brunswick.
Flooding along the River Seine in Paris, France, 27 Jan 2018 (Reuters)
According to France’s meteorological agency, rain in December and January has led to the third wettest period ever in Paris which is why the River Seine and other tributaries in northern France have spilled their banks.
The river is expected to peak on Sunday at 6 metres – normally it measures 2 metres – slightly below the exceptional flooding in 2016 and the disastrous flood of 1910.
Some riverside restaurants have been submerged and roads and parks have been closed due to high water levels.
All boat traffic on the Seine has been halted including tourist cruises, some Metro stations are shuttered and the Louvre has shut down the museum’s lower level as a precaution.
Bare ground in west end Moncton after rain washes away snow cover, 24 Jan 2018 (Dearing)
The snow cover in Greater Moncton has disappeared after the latest storm system rolled through with mixed precipitation and mild temperatures.
Rainfall amounts varied from 20 to 70 mm across New Brunswick, up to 8 hours of freezing rain fell in Gagetown and 20 cm of snow was recorded in Bathurst and Edmundston.
Record highs for 23 January were set in Saint John at 10.4 C and St. Stephen reached 11.3 C.
Since a consistent snow cover began on 09 December in Southeast New Brunswick, the ground has been bare a couple of times for short periods.
A view of downtown Moncton from city hall, 23 Jan 2018 (City of Moncton)
A low pressure system from the west is bringing another mixed bag of precipitation to the Maritimes and once it departs more cold air will filter in behind it.
Schools were cancelled in New Brunswick today as snow began in the morning followed by a changeover to ice pellets and freezing rain and eventually to rain as the temperature climbed above freezing.
Flooding is possible again since the partially frozen ground is less able to absorb heavy rainfall.
Environment Canada issued a freezing rain warning for Greater Moncton but it was dropped later in the day with less than an hour of ice pellets/freezing rain recorded.
The temperature is expected to reach 10 C by early Wednesday before plunging to -13 C by early Thursday – a difference of 23 degrees in less than a day.