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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April 2019 – Wet and chilly

Glorious sunset in NE Moncton, 22 Apr 2019 (Dearing)

Spring can be the most disappointing season of the year in New Brunswick and April 2019 was no exception with cloudy, cool and often wet conditions.

Surprisingly, Greater Moncton was close to normal in temperature but double the average amount of rain fell along with slightly more snow than usual.

Melting snow and heavy precipitation led to more disastrous flooding along the St. John River – almost as bad as last year’s historic water levels.

Only one day was fully below freezing and while nights weren’t that cold, daytime highs often struggled to reach the double digits.

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

Average HIGH  8.1°C

Average LOW  -1.0°C

AVERAGE  3.6°C (near normal)

Extreme HIGH  18.9°C (21 Apr)

Extreme LOW  -6.0°C (08 Apr)

RAINFALL  122.5 mm (about 100 percent ABOVE normal)

SNOWFALL  32.8 cm (slightly ABOVE normal)

(Data courtesy Environment Canada)

Finally above freezing!

Tracks on frozen reservoir in Irishtown Nature Park, Moncton, 10 March 2019 (Dearing)

For the first time in 12 days, the daytime high in Greater Moncton finally climbed above freezing with a balmy high of 1°C today!

The normal maximum for early March in Southeast New Brunswick is 2°C with a minimum of -8°C.

The last third of winter has been especially cold with overnights consistently below -10°C and even as low as -20.1°C early Friday.

However, there is some good news – Environment Canada is forecasting that the next five out of six days will have highs above freezing.

Coastal B.C. gets winter wallop

Victoria BC

Victoria, BC, 12 Feb 2019 (Royal BC Museum Inner Harbour Webcam)

Wintry weather doesn’t visit the coast of British Columbia very often but it certainly causes disruption when it arrives.

Following back to back snow days, Vancouver has picked up almost 25 cm of snow with higher amounts in the Fraser Valley and Victoria has recorded more than 40 cm.

An Arctic outflow pushing temperatures below freezing combined with low pressure off Vancouver Island is creating snowy rather than more typical rainy conditions.

Traffic and transit services were snarled, schools were cancelled and scattered power outages kept crews busy in the region.

Winter storm stretches across central, eastern U.S.

Cross country skiing near US Capitol, Washington, DC, USA, 13 Jan 2018 (Twitter/Nathanaj80)

A major winter storm brought heavy snow and mixed precipitation from the American Midwest to the mid-Atlantic states over the weekend.

The snow began falling in Kansas and Missouri with some areas getting almost 50 cm.

The storm knocked out power, disrupted air travel and created slippery highways with numerous collisions including an Illinois crash which killed a police officer.

Freezing rain led to a build-up of ice on surfaces in North Carolina and Virginia.

Between 15 and 30 cm of snow fell over the Washington, DC area – its heaviest snowfall in three years – which closed schools and federal government offices on Monday.

Forecasters say melting during the day would create hazardous black ice after sunset as temperatures fell back below freezing.

The storm system has moved out into the Atlantic but will brush Cape Breton Island and eastern Newfoundland on Tuesday.

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)

Messy mix and a freeze!

Icy conditions at Cap-Pele Harbour, 29 Dec 2018 (Dearing)

A low pressure system from Quebec moved across New Brunswick Friday and into Saturday bringing a mixed bag of precipitation.

Snow began in Greater Moncton by late afternoon which later changed to ice pellets and then freezing rain followed by rain as the temperature climbed above freezing.

After 9 cm snow, 2.5 hours freezing rain and about 7 mm rain, some of the snow melted but by early evening, the thermometer dropped below freezing again which led to ice.

While this may be the last major weather event of 2018, Environment Canada is forecasting another system bringing snow or rain for New Year’s Day.

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.

September 2018 – Warm and wet

Black-eyed Susans growing in Upper Hammonds Plains, NS, 21 Sept 2018 (Dearing)

Warm, summer weather picked up in September where it left off in August in Southeast New Brunswick.

But the passage of a cold front marked a drastic temperature drop on the 18th and suddenly it felt like fall in Greater Moncton.

The thermometer continued to plunge and sank to -1.9°C on the 25th with light, scattered frost although most vegetation was spared severe damage.

Precipitation was actually above normal although heavy amounts fell in a handful of rainfalls.

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

Average HIGH 20.9°C

Average LOW 7.9°C

AVERAGE 14.4°C (about 0.8 degrees ABOVE normal)

Extreme HIGH 28.9°C (06 Sept)

Extreme LOW -1.9°C (25 Sept)

RAINFALL 100.5 mm (about 10 percent ABOVE normal)

(Data courtesy Environment Canada)

Frost forms under harvest moon

A clear night under a brilliant harvest moon lowered the temperature to -1.9°C in Greater Moncton this morning with some scattered frost.

Most sensitive vegetation survived as the thermometer fell below zero for less than six hours.

Many weather stations across New Brunswick had readings near or a few degrees below freezing.

On average, the first fall frost date in Moncton is 02 October with an growing season of 131 days.

However, a record breaking low of -3.2°C on 04 June brought a late frost (about two weeks later than usual) which proved devastating for farmers and gardeners.

So despite enjoying a long and warm summer, the frost-free season lasted 112 days which is about 19 days shorter than usual.