Canada’s Top 10 Weather Stories 2019

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Hurricane Dorian damage in Halifax’s west end, 08 Sept 2019 (NS Power)

Canada is a land of weather extremes and this year has been no exception with frigid winter cold and stifling summer heat which brought wildfires, flooding, snowstorms and hurricanes.

Environment Canada has compiled its annual list for 2019:

  1. Another record Ottawa River flood
  2. Destructive hurricane season especially Dorian
  3. Snowy Prairie autumn
  4. Bitterly cold February nationwide
  5. Record heat continues in the Arctic
  6. Too dry early, too wet later on Prairies
  7. Blustery Halloween in the East
  8. Spring never arrives in Eastern Canada
  9. More flooding along the St. John River
  10. Fewer wildfires but more hectares burned

Here are some weather highlights for Atlantic Canada:

  • New Year’s Day takes Newfoundland by storm
  • January Maritime storm included every type of weather
  • Winter storm forces Moncton residents outside
  • February storm causes road closures in Labrador
  • Pre-Valentine’s storm across the Maritimes
  • March starts out stormy in Nova Scotia
  • Newfoundland’s icebergs please tourists and locals
  • October “weather bomb” drops lots of rain

Early blast of Arctic air

The jet stream took a big dip south this week allowing Arctic air to envelop the eastern United States and eastern Canada.

Temperatures dropped to freezing all the way to the Gulf of Mexico.

Meteorologists say the early icy blast was more typical of January than mid-November.

New record lows were set in Ontario where CFB Borden fell to -24°C and Toronto Pearson Airport dropped to -14°C.

The coldest low of the season was set in Greater Moncton today at -10°C and just a couple degrees shy of the record.

The Southeast New Brunswick forecast calls for a roller coaster ride this weekend followed by more seasonable temperatures next week.

Sharp drop in temperature!

Temperature contrast 8pm, 12 Nov 2019 (earth nullschool.net)

Snow began falling in Southeast New Brunswick Monday night and later changed to freezing rain and then rain by Tuesday afternoon.

The temperature climbed to a balmy 14°C in Greater Moncton and 18°C in Greenwood, Nova Scotia.

But as the low pressure system moved out of the Maritimes toward Newfoundland, winds shifted to the northwest causing the thermometer to drop rapidly Tuesday night with a return to snow when it fell to freezing again.

Overnight low records could be challenged in the region by early Thursday as cold Arctic air takes hold.

August snow in northern BC!

Ft Nelson snow

BC Highway 97 near Fort Nelson, 19 Aug 2019 (Drive BC/Twitter)


Residents of northern British Columbia were shocked to wake up to snow this morning – an estimated 50 cm in some areas.

Environment Canada says cold Arctic air combined with moisture from the Pacific was responsible for the winter-like conditions in late summer.

Fort Nelson received a mix of rain and snow while higher elevations of 1,000 metres or more saw mainly snow.

Historical data shows measurable snow is likely in Fort Nelson in every month except July.

By contrast on Monday, Kamloops in the Okanagan Valley – about 1300 km south – reached a daytime high of 31°C.

Record heat at top of the world

The most northerly community in Canada – and the world for that matter – has set new all-time record highs for two days in a row.

Alert, Nunavut enjoyed the unusual heat thanks to a strong high pressure system over Greenland which moved into the Arctic Ocean.

Environment Canada notes Alert, population 62, normally sees highs of 6°C and lows of 1°C during July and more snow typically falls than rain.

Heat in the Arctic!

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Meteorologists have said a temperature anomaly of more than 2 C is considered significant – but how about 14.4 C above normal for March 2019!

Inuvik, Northwest Territories – above the Arctic Circle – was the hotspot in Canada’s far north last month.

Unbelievable cold in the West!

COLD

Thermometer reading near Edmonton where Celsius meets Fahrenheit, 05 Feb 2019 (Twitter)

An Arctic air mass has plunged much of Western Canada into the deep freeze with the coldest weather in nearly a decade.

Frigid temperatures have broken records in Saskatchewan, Alberta and British Columbia with the wind chill making it feel more like -50 in some areas!

Emergency responders had many calls related to frostbite and hypothermia with seniors and young children being especially vulnerable to the cold.

Auto clubs had almost ten times as many requests from drivers for dead car batteries.

These locations were among new minimums set on 05-06 February 2019:

Key Lake, SK
New record of -47.7
Old record of -44.0 set in 2007
Records started in 1976

Meadow Lake, SK
New record of -43.5
Old record of -41.0 set in 1979
Records started in 1959

Saskatoon, SK
New record of -42.5
Old record of -41.7 set in 1907
Records started in 1900

Grande Prairie, AB
New record of -41.5
Old record of -39.4 set in 1933
Records started in 1922

Edmonton International Airport, AB
New record of -41.2
Old record of -37.2 set in 1975
Records started in 1959

Jasper, AB
New record of -39.4
Old record of -35.7 set in 2014
Records started in 1916

Blue River, BC
New record -35.6
Old record -33.0 set in 1989

Lytton, BC
New record -17.4
Old record -17.2 set in 1949

(Data courtesy Environment Canada)

December 2018 – Cold & dry

Sun glistening on the ice of Shediac Bay, 30 Dec 2018 (Dearing)

December turned out to be another cold month in Greater Moncton continuing a trend which began in October.

An early Arctic air mass kept daytime highs below freezing for a lengthy ten day stretch.

The month did prove to be less stormier than November with below normal rainfall and snowfall.

While Southeast New Brunswick had a snow cover for a few weeks prior to Christmas, it had mostly disappeared by 25 December.

DECEMBER 2018 ALMANAC (at Greater Moncton Int’l Airport, 1981-2010)

Average HIGH -1.6°C

Average LOW -10.2°C

AVERAGE -5.9°C (about 1.1 degrees BELOW normal)

Extreme HIGH 12.8°C (22 Dec)

Extreme LOW -16.5°C (09 Dec)

RAINFALL 46.8 mm (slightly BELOW normal)

SNOWFALL 34.7 cm (about 40 percent BELOW normal)

(Data courtesy Environment Canada)

Bitter cold hangs on

Irishtown Nature Park reservoir is already frozen, 01 Dec 2018 (Dearing)

An Arctic air mass continues to have its grip over the Maritimes with today marking the sixth day of below freezing temperatures in Greater Moncton.

The early morning lows dropped to -16.1°C yesterday and -16.5°C today.

Brisk northwest winds have also created bitter wind chills into the -20s this weekend giving a risk of frostbite on exposed skin.

The normal high for early December is 0°C and the low is -8°C.

Environment Canada says temperatures may not climb above freezing until Friday making this one of the longest cold snaps in recent memory.

Nor’easter follows record cold

Snow settles in NE Moncton before a changeover to rain, 28 Oct 2018 (Dearing)

A frosty Saturday morning proved record breaking at the Greater Moncton International Airport when the thermometer plunged to -6.6°C which breaks the previous cold low from 1998 by 0.1°C.

Frigid temperatures were also set in Edmundston at -12.2°C, Woodstock at -11.7°C and Saint John at -8.4°C with weather records going back to 1886.

The Arctic cold was soon replaced by a low pressure system with some tropical moisture from the remnants of Hurricane Willa.

The early season Nor’easter brought snow, ice pellets and eventually rain to the Maritimes along with gusty winds which uprooted trees in parts of New England.