Frigid temperatures across Canada, observed 8am AST 28 Dec 2017
This is Canada and we know it gets cold in the winter but the bitter Arctic air which has enveloped almost the entire country is a bit unusual so early in the season.
Environment Canada says the size of the cold wave – from interior British Columbia to Atlantic Canada – and the duration of the frigid weather are exceptional for late December.
Meteorologists say 1993 was the last time there was a similar cold spell between Christmas and New Year’s.
Only the coast of British Columbia will escape the worst but even there, daytime temperatures will barely climb above freezing.
A ridge of clouds as the sun rises over northern Nova Scotia near Truro, 15 Dec 2017 (Dearing)
A ridge of clouds as the sun rose over northern Nova Scotia was an awesome sight to behold during a trip from Moncton to Halifax on Friday.
Although Greater Moncton lost most of its snow cover due to rain a few days ago, Truro picked up some snow early Friday (5-10 cm) but Halifax was snow-free.
The Nova Scotia capital did pick up a few centimetres early Saturday but Truro and Moncton didn’t.
But the entire Maritimes is under an Arctic air mass which has brought cold wind chills to -25 and daytime highs well below freezing.
A sunny but cold morning in west end Moncton, 13 Nov 2017 (Dearing)
Clear skies and an Arctic air mass lowered temperatures in Greater Moncton to a chilly -9.0 C on November 12th and 13th.
Recent data shows temperatures that low (within 2 and 3 degrees of record lows) typically don’t occur until later in the month and the thermometer failed to climb above freezing on the 12th which is also earlier than normal.
A new record low was set at the Saint John Airport when it fell to -11.3 C on the 12th.
Quite a contrast from just a week ago when several communities in New Brunswick climbed into the low 20s Celsius.
Heavy rain during thunderstorm in NE Moncton, 21 July 2017 (Dearing)
The temperature climbed to 30 C for three days in a row in Greater Moncton which is an unofficial heat wave since 32 C is the maximum by definition.
Those warm daytime highs, 30.4 C (19 July), 30.4 C (20 July) and 30.0 C (21 July), still haven’t eclipsed the season-to-date maximum of 30.8 C recorded on 11 June.
A cold front moved west to east through New Brunswick yesterday triggering scattered thunderstorms with heavy rain, gusty winds and even hail.
The heat and humidity have been replaced by a cooler, drier air mass with highs in the low 20’s C which is slightly below normal for late July.
Heavy rain, hail and wind, Plaster Rock, NB, 27 June 2017 (Greg LeBel/Facebook)
An unstable air mass moved from west to east in New Brunswick producing severe thunderstorms bringing torrential rain, large hail and strong winds.
Environment Canada believes a severe thunderstorm formed near Doaktown and possibly spawned a tornado that moved into the Blackville area last night.
Golf ball size hail and damaging winds with gusts up to 100 km/h were recorded in the Plaster Rock area.
Southeast New Brunswick has seen an above average 18 days with thunderstorm activity this June and a severe thunderstorm watch was issued in the region this afternoon.
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.
A cold late afternoon in downtown Moncton, 16 Dec 2016 (Facebook)
An Arctic air mass has lowered temperatures in Southeast New Brunswick to their coldest levels for mid-December since the early 1970s.
The thermometer dropped below -20°C over the last two days in Greater Moncton settling at -22.1°C this morning with a bitter wind chill of -35.
The record for this date is -26.1°C from 1943.
Environment Canada is forecasting a sharp temperature rise overnight and tomorrow.
Environment Canada is advising on how to avoid frostbite and hypothermia with Southeast New Brunswick under an extreme cold warning.
A bitterly cold Arctic air mass will move across the province Thursday and into Friday.
Temperatures are expected to drop below -20°C by Friday morning with winds gusting from 40 to 60 km/h behind a deepening low pressure system.
Wind chill values are expected to fall below -35 for the early part of Friday.
A snowy downtown Vancouver, BC, 05 Dec 2016 (Instagram)
Between 5 and 10 centimetres of snow fell on Greater Vancouver during the morning commute today which created havoc on highways and bridges.
Vancouverites haven’t seen snow for at least 1,000 days when the last significant amount was recorded at the airport on 24 February, 2014.
An Arctic air mass is to blame for the snow and cold with Environment Canada showing temperatures barely climbing above freezing this week.
A weather statement has been issued indicating more snow could fall in Vancouver on Thursday.
A hint of fall colour in Irishtown Nature Park, Moncton, 24 Sept 2016 (Dearing)
Autumn only began a few days ago but it is already feeling fall-like and a frost advisory has been issued for most of New Brunswick.
Environment Canada says a cold air mass will remain over the province with overnight low temperatures approaching zero in some areas.
Frost is expected to be more significant in low lying areas away from coastal waters.
Incidentally, the average first frost date in the fall is 27 September.
The low in Greater Moncton this morning was 2.8 C with patchy frost reported.
UPDATE: On Sunday morning, the temperature fell to 1.8 C.