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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Cold nights in NB

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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.

First snow of the season!

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Snow falling in west end Moncton, 10 Nov 2017 (Dearing)

A low pressure system moved into New Brunswick today bringing heavy rain accompanied by a vigorous cold front with Arctic air behind it.

As a result, the temperature in Greater Moncton plunged dramatically in just one hour – from a daytime high of 10.3 C at 11am to only 1.8 C by noon.

The thermometer continued to drop below freezing and rain turned to snow before the sky cleared in the late afternoon.

Environment Canada is forecasting a cold but dry weekend with sunshine and temperatures at or slightly above freezing.

Dramatic drop in temperature

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Irishtown Reservoir, Moncton, 05 Nov 2017 (Dearing)

Autumn has made an abrupt return to Southeast New Brunswick.

The passage of a cold front lowered daytime highs in Greater Moncton from a near record of 19.3 C to a below seasonal high of 5.2 C over the past 24 hours.

Temperatures are poised to drop even lower later this week when the first blast of Arctic air this season moves into the Maritimes.

Environment Canada is forecasting a low of -7 C by early Saturday which will likely mean a hard, killing frost for any remaining sensitive vegetation.

Early snow along BC South Coast

The first Arctic front of the season has moved across British Columbia bringing a blast of cold air, strong winds and the first snowfall to the south coast including most of Vancouver Island.

Victoria received 7 cm of snow which was the earliest appearance since 1991.

Significant snow fell in the BC interior with 19 cm in Kelowna and 34 cm in Cranbrook.

The same storm system also has Southern Alberta digging out with Calgary getting 14 cm and Lethbridge picking up a whopping 39 cm of snow.

Winter returns to the U.K.

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Snow covers a vehicle in Aviemore, Scotland, UK, 25 April 2017 (BBC Weather)


Arctic air has enveloped the United Kingdom with heavy snow in Scotland and northern England and near freezing temperatures as far south as London.

Forecasters say snow in late April is not uncommon and actually fell over parts of the country around the same time last year.

Temperatures struggled to reach 10 C today after a hard frost early this morning.

This cold snap is a far cry from record breaking heat earlier this month when the thermometer climbed to 26 C in southern England and a mild March which was the fifth warmest ever for the U.K.

Another rollercoaster ride!

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The January wolf moon over downtown Moncton, 11 Jan 2017 (Dearing)

Greater Moncton is experiencing another see-saw temperature pattern this week.

After the thermometer fell to -23.2 early Tuesday (coldest yet this winter and coldest since February 2015), a Colorado Low brought milder air and rain to Southeast New Brunswick today with a balmy high of 7.7 C.

But an Arctic air mass is pushing in again by the weekend and Environment Canada says a drop to -19 C is forecast by early Saturday.

By early next week, temperatures are set to get warmer again and climb above freezing.

Brief Arctic Blast

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Courtesy The Weather Network

The wind chill was so bitterly cold in Greater Moncton early this morning, it felt more like -35 as the temperature fell to -22 C.

However, the Arctic blast will be short-lived as a Colorado Low approaches the Maritimes with snow, rain and milder temperatures.

Environment Canada is forecasting highs of 8 C by later this week in Southeast New Brunswick.

But by the weekend, temperatures will plummet once again with a low of -16 C expected by early Saturday morning.

Canada’s Top 10 of 2016

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RCMP officer in burnt neighbourhood, Fort McMurray, AB, 05 May 2016 (Alberta RCMP)

From the horrible wildfires which destroyed parts of Fort McMurray, Alberta to the winter that wasn’t to a warm, dry summer which led to drought in areas of Eastern Canada, 2016 was certainly noteworthy for major weather events.

  1. Fort McMurray’s “Fire Beast”
  2. Super El Niño Cancels Winter – 2nd warmest Canada-wide ever
  3. August Long Weekend Storm on the Prairies… Big and Costly
  4. A Summer to Remember in the East
  5. November’s Heat Wave and December’s Deep Freeze
  6. Arctic Sea Ice Going, Going… Break-up earlier/Freeze-up later
  7. Wild Summer Prairie Weather
  8. A Tale of Two Springs – Cold East and Warm West
  9. Thanksgiving Day Atlantic Weather Bomb
  10. Southwest Ontario’s $100 Million September Gusher                                               (Courtesy Environment Canada)

Coldest weather in 40 years

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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.