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

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.

Severe weather in Manitoba, NW Ontario

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After a hot and windy day across southern Manitoba, severe thunderstorms developed late Friday afternoon with heavy rain, hail and lightning strikes causing at least one grass fire.

Daytime highs soared to 36.6°C in Winnipeg and 37.3°C in Carman which was the hot spot in Canada.

Temperatures dropped dramatically after the storms rolled through and damaging winds up to 100 km/h were reported in some areas along with nickel-sized hail.

The heat and thunderstorms moved east into northwestern Ontario with Kenora reaching 33.0°C yesterday and Armstrong climbing to 32.3°C today.

Frost advisory!

Desmoiselles Beach, Hopewell Rocks, 12 May 2019 (Dearing)

The Victoria Day long weekend marks the unofficial start of the summer season in Canada when opening up the cottage or camping are on the agenda.

However, many residents are still wearing heavy, winter jackets and gloves as daytime highs struggle to reach 10°C in Southeast New Brunswick.

The normal maximum in Greater Moncton is about 18°C but the long range forecast shows it won’t be that warm for another six days!

Environment Canada has issued a frost advisory for all of New Brunswick and most of mainland Nova Scotia as the overnight low drops to near freezing.

On the upside, the advisory means the growing season is now officially underway but on the downside, it’s not warm enough to plant anything.

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.

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)

Winter snowfall across Canada

TWN Snowmap

It has been quite a winter across Canada with no region reporting a shortage of snow.

Snowfall has been especially heavy in the West this season especially coastal British Columbia which usually sees only scant amounts.

Victoria, BC had almost 70 cm of snow in February – more than what typically falls all winter – even higher than snowy Moncton at nearly 60 cm last month.

While many areas of the West have already exceeded their snowfall amounts for an average winter, much of the East is still falling short of a normal season.

The deepest snowpack can be found in northern New Brunswick, central Quebec, Labrador, the Rockies and B.C.’s mountain ranges.

Labrador coast buried in snow!

Labrador typically receives some of the highest amounts of snow in Canada during the winter which stretches from October to April – and this season is no exception.

A coastal blizzard has buried the community of Makkovik with almost 110 cm of snow falling since late last week.

Social media posts have showed entrances to buildings blocked and the snow depth higher than local residents trying to dig out.

Based on the 30-year average, Makkovik usually gets about 411 cm per year with only July and August not recording measurable snow.

More snow and more coming

Heavy snow falling in NE Moncton, 05 Jan 2019 (Dearing)

A low pressure system moved across the Maritimes heading to Newfoundland bringing snow to the west and rain to the east.

Greater Moncton received about 14 cm of snow by the time it stopped late this morning.

The temperature will plummet tonight with cold northwesterly winds.

Forecasters are watching the next weather system now making its way across the country with more snow expected on Wednesday.

White Christmas

While much of Canada is covered in white on this Christmas Day, many of the major cities are without a snow cover.

Only the Prairie cities of Winnipeg, Saskatoon and Edmonton were guaranteed a White Christmas.

Recent heavy rain and warm temperatures have erased the snow pack across Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island and southern New Brunswick.

Traditionally Greater Moncton has a 65 percent chance of having a White Christmas.

Today, the airport recorded 3 cm of snow lying on the ground but much of the city and surrounding area have no snow cover at all.