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

First -10°C low in the fall

First -10
Although it seems like really cold weather arrived earlier than usual, the chart above shows a drop of -10°C occurred on the same date last year in Greater Moncton – 14 November.

Over the last seven years, the temperature has gotten that cold between mid-November and early December.

The thermometer will likely sink to -15°C sometime later next month.

The last time it dropped that low in Southeast New Brunswick was 10 March.

Colorado Low impacts Maritimes

Snowy Highway 102 in Bedford, NS (NS Highway Cameras)

A Colorado Low tracked through the Maritimes today bringing mixed precipitation and strong winds.

The system brought the first major snowfall to Nova Scotia with 23 cm at Halifax Stanfield Airport and lesser amounts in the city but it caught drivers and plow operators off guard creating gridlock.

About 10 to 20 cm of snow also fell in central and southwestern New Brunswick where some schools closed with slippery road conditions.

Greater Moncton had a rain/snow mix this morning with 2 cm before it changed to rain.

As this system moves off to Newfoundland, brisk winds behind it will produce gusts up to 90 km/h with snow squalls expected along coastal areas.

First Below 0°C Daytime High

First Below 0
Cold, wintry weather seems to have arrived earlier this season in New Brunswick and Greater Moncton is no exception.

As shown above, the first below freezing daytime high was recorded on 09 November which makes it the earliest date in recent years.

In addition, the thermometer has already dropped to -10°C this month which I will outline in an upcoming post.

(Data courtesy Environment Canada)

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.

Early snow for southern Ontario & Quebec

A snowy Gore Park, Hamilton, ON, 11 Nov 2019 (City of Hamilton)

An early winter storm tracked south of the Great Lakes on Monday and brought snow to Southern Ontario and Southern Quebec.

Snowfall amounts generally ranged between 10 and 30 cm.

Environment Canada says Toronto marked its earliest major snowfall on record with about 15 cm.

Arctic air has filtered in behind the storm prompting the city to issue an extreme cold weather alert with a possible overnight low of -15°C.

Snowfall amounts (cm), Tuesday 5pm EST:

  • Montreal 20
  • Quebec City 20
  • Windsor 19
  • Hamilton 17
  • Toronto (downtown) 15
  • Ottawa 13

October 2019 – Gradual easing into fall

Centennial Park, Moncton, 14 Oct 2019 (Dearing)

Daytime highs were consistently in the mid-teens in Southeast New Brunswick during October which usually sees a sharp drop in temperature as the month progresses.

The average temperature was 0.7°C above normal in Greater Moncton with two days failing to reach 10°C and the warmest maximum on the last day, 19.3°C.

Six days had lows below freezing with some light frost but there was no hard freeze allowing vegetation to flourish.

The precipitation total mostly came from five rainfall events with not a single snowflake recorded.

Fall foliage peaked prior to Thanksgiving weekend and several strong wind events left few leaves on trees by Halloween night.

OCTOBER 2019 ALMANAC (at Greater Moncton Int’l Airport, 1981-2010)

Average HIGH 13.5°C

Average LOW 3.0°C

AVERAGE 8.3°C (about 0.7 degrees ABOVE normal)

Extreme HIGH 19.3°C (31 Oct)

Extreme LOW -2.7°C (27 Oct)

RAINFALL 102.7 mm (slightly BELOW normal)

(Data courtesy Environment Canada)

A Blustery Halloween!

Fallen leaves, Centennial Park, Moncton, 14 Oct 2019 (Dearing)

Fewer trick or treaters are expected to be spooking neighbourhoods in Greater Moncton thanks to heavy rain and strong winds.

A low pressure system could bring at least 30 mm of rain to Southeast New Brunswick over the next 24 hours.

Potentially hurricane-strength winds are expected tomorrow ahead of a cold front but temperatures will be warm reaching the high teens.

Environment Canada has issued wind warnings with gusts from 60-90 km/h and possibly up to 110 km/h in the Tantramar Marsh.

Forecasters say the wind may cause damage to buildings such as to roof shingles and windows.

The wind may not die down until early Saturday.

Fast and furious storm

A tree topples over in Halifax, NS, 17 Oct 2019 (Nova Scotia Power/Twitter)

A so-called bomb cyclone with wind and rain moved through the Maritimes in just a few hours today.

The intense low pressure system brought winds gusting up to 89 km/h in Saint John which uprooted some trees already weakened by Hurricane Dorian last month.

Greater Moncton recorded a peak gust of 78 km/h along with 20 mm of rain which caused some localized flooding as leaves clogged storm drains.

The winds were even stronger in Nova Scotia with a gust of 101 km/h at Halifax harbour and 106 km/h in Lunenburg which brought trees down knocking out power.

The highest gust was near Cheticamp on Cape Breton Island at 148 km/h.

Rainfall amounts across New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island ranged from 15 to 30 mm with more than double those amounts in Nova Scotia.

Strong fall storm coming

An intense low pressure system is heading to the Maritimes.

Heavy rain will start during the morning hours in Greater Moncton and strong winds will develop by midday.

Environment Canada says rainfall amounts could reach 50 mm while easterly wind gusts of 70 km/h or higher are likely.

Some trees may be at risk of falling after being weakened by Hurricane Dorian last month.

Many leaves will undoubtedly drop which could plug storm drains causing localized flooding.