Frost free season approaches

May is here which means it won’t be long before Jack Frost visits Atlantic Canada for the last time this spring.

Mid to late May is typically when the last frost arrives in Greater Moncton, early in the month for Halifax and late April for Yarmouth.

Early to mid June dates are normal for most of Newfoundland and Labrador.

Last year in New Brunswick and Nova Scotia, frost appeared as late as early June which proved disastrous for grape, blueberry and strawberry farmers.

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Hello Spring!

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Magnolia tree in bloom, downtown Moncton, spring 2018 (Dearing)

The spring equinox officially arrived at 6:58pm ADT in the Northern Hemisphere which marks the moment when the Sun is directly above the equator as it moves northward.

The length of days are now roughly equal to the length of nights and the amount of daylight will continue to increase until the first day of summer on June 21st.

To mark the end of astronomical winter, here are a few highlights across Canada from the last three months:

  • Record highs were set in Atlantic Canada just before Christmas with 12.8°C in Greater Moncton on 22 December.
  • Edmonton broke numerous cold records during February with readings as low as -41.2°C and all but four days were in the minus 20’s and 30’s.
  • Snowfall records fell in coastal British Columbia from 10-12 February with 69 cm in Nanaimo and 52 cm in Victoria – more than what is normally received in an entire winter season!

(Data courtesy Environment Canada)

Snowfall totals so far this winter

It should come as no surprise that Greater Moncton is on top of the snowfall totals list in the southern Maritimes although locations in northern New Brunswick have received even heavier amounts.

Weather Network unveils winter forecast

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The Weather Network believes the harsh winter conditions this November in New Brunswick are just a preview of the upcoming season.

Temperatures will likely be below normal this season but periods of mild weather can still be expected.

An active storm track along the Atlantic coast will mean many systems delivering above average precipitation including snow, rain and freezing rain.

A developing El Nino should bring a warmer, drier winter for Western Canada and a colder, wetter winter from the Great Lakes to Atlantic Canada.

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Chris could pose threat

Chris

Atlantic Canada could feel an impact from Tropical Storm Chris which has formed off the coast of the Southeastern U.S.

The Canadian Hurricane Centre says the third named storm of 2018 will move northeastward and possibly strengthen to become a hurricane by early Wednesday.

The storm could weaken as it approaches Nova Scotia by Thursday.

The CHC notes there is still uncertainty in the forecast track and intensity of this system.

Beryl is the second named storm but first hurricane of the season and has been down downgraded to a tropical storm as it heads toward Puerto Rico.

Meantime, Environment Canada issued another heat warning for New Brunswick except the Fundy coast, Prince Edward Island and northern Nova Scotia as a warm, humid air mass pushes highs into the low 30s C with humidex values up to 38 on Monday.

Active weather across Eastern Canada

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Courtesy Environment Canada, 04 April 2018

Weather warnings are covering Southern Ontario, Quebec and Atlantic Canada as a strong low pressure system brings strong winds, heavy rain, snow and freezing rain.

Sudbury picked up 29 cm of snow, four hours of freezing rain fell in Ottawa and Toronto Billy Bishop Airport had a peak wind gust of 98 km/h.

Southeast New Brunswick is the only part of the province not under a weather warning.

Northern New Brunswick could receive 30 cm of snow from this system while central and southwestern portions are under a rainfall warning with up to 35 mm possible.

TWN unveils spring forecast

TWN spring

The Weather Network has taken a look ahead at the months of March, April and May for Atlantic Canada…

While it has been a relatively mild winter across the region, winter will still have several parting shots, including the threat for a few Nor’easters.

For some places, the biggest snowfall of the year could still be on the horizon (keep in mind the context – some areas have not had a classic winter storm).

Back and forth temperature swings should come close to offsetting, but with more potential for warmth to outweigh the periods of colder weather.

An active storm track will tap into subtropical moisture at times and bring above normal precipitation to most of the region through the spring season.

Bitter cold coast to coast

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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.

Western NB gets drenched

A slow moving frontal system brought heavy rain to western New Brunswick with about 20 mm falling per hour in the southwest.

Environment Canada reported 174 mm of rain in St. Stephen over a two day period which is a shocking amount considering about 180 mm fell from June to September.

Other amounts include 112 mm in Edmundston, 93 mm in Woodstock and 74 mm in Fredericton.

Rainfall totals were much lower in Southeast New Brunswick where only 27 mm fell at the Greater Moncton International Airport.

Tropical air with this system broke more record highs in Atlantic Canada with a maximum of 23.4 C in Moncton and Bouctouche, 23.5 C in Cheticamp, 22.0 C in Deer Lake and 21.2 C in Happy Valley-Goose Bay.

Gert churns up the Atlantic

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Hurricane Gert is not going to pose any threat to land in Atlantic Canada according to the Canadian Hurricane Centre but it will be felt in the sea.

The swell from the Category 1 storm will move into the Atlantic coast of Nova Scotia on Wednesday (16 August) and will persist into Thursday.

The swell will produce waves breaking up to three metres along parts of the coast and rip currents are likely.

Forecasters say Gert will not produce any rainfall for the region but the tropical moisture could feed into another low pressure system arriving later this week.