Meteorological winter begins

EC winter

Most Canadians know winter, astronomically speaking, begins around 21 December but we know the season actually gets underway weeks before then.

Meteorologists like to package winter into neat three month blocks which is why 01 December marks the start of meteorological winter and 28 February marks the end.

In its three month outlook, Environment Canada expects most of New Brunswick will have above normal temperatures and near normal precipitation.

A large swath of the Arctic will likely be warmer than usual while Ontario and the southern Prairies will have higher amounts of rain and snow compared to normal.

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November 2017 – Seesaw temperatures

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Wildflowers and annuals in northeast Moncton, 03 Nov 2017 (Dearing)

As dark and dreary as November seems in Southeast New Brunswick, temperatures can often be volatile and this month was no exception.

Greater Moncton had at least five dramatic temperature swings starting on 10-11 November with a high of 10 C falling to -7 C with strong winds gusting up 69 km/h and the first snow flurries of the season.

The monthly mean of 1.9 C was exactly normal with highs near 20 C on two days early in the month while two days remained below freezing.

Overall precipitation was near normal for the first time since May although snowfall at 3.2 cm was well below normal.

NOVEMBER 2017 ALMANAC (at Greater Moncton Int’l Airport, 1981-2010)

Average HIGH  7.2 C

Average LOW  -3.3 C

AVERAGE  1.9 C (Normal)

Extreme HIGH  19.8 C (06 Nov)

Extreme LOW  -10.6 C (28 Nov)

RAINFALL  101.8 mm (NEAR normal)

SNOWFALL  3.2 cm (about 80 percent BELOW normal)

(Data courtesy Environment Canada)

Fall foliage past peak

Maple tree past peak in Moncton, 22 Oct 2017 (Dearing)

The fall foliage in Southeast New Brunswick is now past peak and the leaves are starting to tumble to the ground.

Typically a strong wind and/or rain event will bring down most remaining leaves from the trees with maples the first to shed and oaks among the last.

Forestry experts say unseasonably warm weather across the Maritimes this autumn have muted some fall colours.

Rich, vivid displays are most common when days are sunny but cool and nights are cold.

May 2017 – Wet and cloudy

Trailing arbutus or Mayflower growing in Irishtown Nature Park, 20 May 2017 (Dearing)


May in Southeast New Brunswick certainly lived up to its unpredictable nature as a transitional month between winter and summer.

Overall temperatures were above normal in Greater Moncton but oddly enough some of the coolest days were in the last third of the month.

Many days were cloudy and rainfall was heavy with only seven days without at least a trace of precipitation.

By the final week, trees were in full leaf or blossom and perennials were in full bloom.

MAY 2017 ALMANAC (at Greater Moncton Int’l Airport, 1981-2010)

Average HIGH 16.1 C

Average LOW  5.1 C

AVERAGE 10.8 C (about 0.8 degrees ABOVE normal)

Extreme HIGH 30.5 C (18 May)

Extreme LOW -0.4 C (13 May)

RAINFALL 163.5 mm (about 40 percent ABOVE normal)

(Data courtesy Environment Canada)

February 2017 – Lots of snow then mild

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Spillway at Irishtown Nature Park, Moncton, 26 Feb 2017 (Dearing)

Three major winter storms including a blizzard were part of a very active weather pattern in Greater Moncton during February.

While snowfall was below normal in January, it made up for it in February with more than double the average amount recorded.

Temperatures were above normal but oddly enough it was still warmer in January which is typically the coldest month.

The final week felt like spring with mild temperatures climbing above 10 C which was enough to melt most of the snow which had fallen during the previous three weeks.

FEBRUARY 2017 ALMANAC (at Greater Moncton Int’l Airport, 1981-2010)

Average HIGH  -1.2 C

Average LOW  -10.9 C

AVERAGE  -6.2 C (about 1.4 degrees ABOVE normal)

Extreme HIGH  11.5 C (24 February)

Extreme LOW  -22.6 C (12 February)

RAINFALL  19.7 mm (slightly BELOW normal)

SNOWFALL  124.1 cm (about 100 percent ABOVE normal)

(Data courtesy Environment Canada)

2016 was warm in Greater Moncton

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Clockwise from top left: Jan 2016 Moncton, May 2016 Moncton, Aug 2016 Kouchibouguac N.P., Oct 2016 Moncton

The average annual temperature for 2016 in Greater Moncton was 6.4 C which was one degree above the 1981-2010 period according to data from Environment Canada.

Precipitation was below normal with 995 mm recorded (1200 mm is average over the same thirty years) broken down as 689 mm of rain and 297 cm of snow.

The highest temperature of the year was 30.5 C on 28 July while the lowest was -22.1 C recorded on 17 December.

The growing season stretched from mid-May to early October which gave Moncton about 142 frost-free days, slightly higher than the average of 127.

Warm in west, chilly in east

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Barren trees in Fairview Knoll Park, Moncton, 05 Nov 2016 (Dearing)


Most trees have now lost their leaves in Greater Moncton – with oak trees being the exception – and the starkness of November is settling in.

The thermometer dipped to a frosty -3.1 C yesterday morning which was the coldest low so far this fall and a chilly high of only 4.5 C.

It’s a different story in the Prairies and northwestern Ontario with record breaking warm temperatures climbing near 20 C which is well above normal.

Edmonton climbed to 20.6 C on Friday which was the warmest high ever for a November day in the Alberta capital.

February 2016 – Wet and mild

Satellite of the Maritimes, mid-February 2015 (left), mid-February 2016 (right) (NASA)

Satellite of the Maritimes with mid-February 2015 on left and mid-February 2016 on right (NASA)

February proved to be milder than January in Greater Moncton – an above normal trend which began last fall thanks to what forecasters call a strong El Nino.

The temperature was often riding the weather rollercoaster with dramatic highs and lows within a 24 period.

Rainfall including freezing rain was higher than normal and although snowfall was heavy most of it fell during one event (38 cm) on 5 February.

FEBRUARY 2016 ALMANAC (at the Greater Moncton International Airport)

Average HIGH. 1.3 C

Average LOW. -10.0 C

AVERAGE. -4.4 C (about 3.4 degrees ABOVE normal)

Extreme HIGH. 13.9 C (25 Feb)

Extreme LOW. -21.5 C (15 Feb)

Rainfall. 33.3 mm (about 15 percent ABOVE normal)

Snowfall. 79.6 cm (almost 20 percent ABOVE normal)

(Data courtesy Environment Canada)

September 2015 – A continuation of summer

Sunset at Fairview Knoll Park, Moncton, NB, 09 Sept 2015 (Dearing)

Sunset at Fairview Knoll Park, Moncton, NB, 09 Sept 2015 (Dearing)

Summer may have sputtered at the start in Southeast New Brunswick but September certainly made up for it with lots of sunshine and warm temperatures.

Although it was mostly dry, two significant rainfall events – on the 11th and the 30th – actually pushed the monthly precipitation total well above normal.

Also notable were warm daytime highs – nine days at 27 C or higher – and mild overnight lows which led to an overall monthly temperature about 3.1 degrees above average

SEPTEMBER 2015 ALMANAC (at the Greater Moncton International Airport)

Average HIGH 23.3 C

Average LOW 10.0 C

AVERAGE 16.7 C (about 3.1 degrees above normal)

Extreme HIGH 32.0 C (new record for 07 Sept)

Extreme LOW 1.3 C (27 Sept)

RAINFALL 139.6 mm (more than 30 percent above normal)

(Data courtesy Environment Canada)

Fabulous final weekend of summer

A hillside view from Victoria-by-the-Sea, PEI, 19 July 2015 (Dearing)

A hillside view from Victoria-by-the-Sea, PEI, 19 July 2015 (Dearing)


No one could ask for a better end to summer in Greater Moncton than this past weekend.

From a near-record 28.7 C on Friday to a sultry 28.1 C on Saturday to the mostly cloudy but above seasonal 25.0 C on Sunday, it was a great way to wrap the season.

Less than 3 mm of much-needed rain fell in Southeast New Brunswick yesterday.

A cooler air mass has prompted Environment Canada to issue a frost advisory tonight for a large portion of western and northern New Brunswick.