B.C. wildfire smoke in the Maritimes!

The sun becomes an orange ball due to wildfire smoke, SE Calgary, AB, 14 Aug 2018 (Dearing)

British Columbia is more than 4,000 kilometres away from New Brunswick but that hasn’t stopped forest fire smoke from making its way across Canada.

On Friday afternoon, Environment Canada issued a special air quality statement: A plume of smoke from fires in Western Canada is moving at high altitude across the Maritimes today causing hazy skies and a reddish sun.

This smoke is not expected to reach the surface or affect air quality in our region and the plume will move off to the east tonight.

The British Columbia Wildfire Service says more than 600 fires are burning in the province with many regions still under air quality advisories.

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Snow cover lingers across Canada

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We know it snows in Canada in April but an astonishing amount of snow remains on the ground for the middle of the month.

The only snow-free areas as of 18 April are mainland Nova Scotia, extreme SW Ontario, southern Manitoba, SW Saskatchewan, SE Alberta, coastal British Columbia and southern valleys of the interior.

Even much of the northeastern United States and the upper Great Lakes region is still covered in white.

In Greater Moncton, the snow has mostly disappeared except for man-made snowbanks but as much as 100 cm remains in northern New Brunswick.

Canada’s Top 10 Weather Stories 2017

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Icy road on the Acadian Peninsula, 27 Jan 2017 (Twitter)

Canada had the eighth warmest period in 70 years of reporting weather in 2017, with temperatures averaging 1.4°C above normal.

From a list of 100 significant weather events across the country, Environment Canada picked the top 10 weather stories of the year:

1. Long and destructive summer wildfire season in British Columbia

2. Hot and dry summer in the West from Interior BC to Manitoba

3. Spring flooding in Quebec and Ontario

4. Cold and snowy winter in BC including Lower Mainland and Vancouver Island

5. More heavy rain and flooding in Southwestern Ontario during late August

6. Cool and wet summer in Central Canada

7. Heavy snow cripples Ontario and Quebec in mid-March

8. Record heat across Eastern Canada during September

9. Blizzards hit Newfoundland in March and April

10. Lengthy ice storm impacts New Brunswick in late January

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.

Warm Thanksgiving weekend

Aboiteau Beach, Cap-Pele, NB, 08 Oct 2017 (Dearing)

The jet stream brought warm southerly air into the Maritimes allowing temperatures in Southeast New Brunswick to climb into the 20s this Thanksgiving weekend.

Environment Canada says Greater Moncton reached a daytime high of 20.2 C on 07 October, 23.7 C on 08 October (near the record of 23.9 C from 1970), and 22.9 C on 09 October.

Given the autumn warmth, I couldn’t resist a visit to Aboiteau Beach (and neither could a handful of others) which was near 24 C under a mostly cloudy sky and it was quite windy.

Greenwood, Nova Scotia was the hot spot in Canada hitting 26 C for two days in a row.

September heat

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Flowers are flourishing in the September heat, 16 Sept 2017 (Dearing)

September usually doesn’t disappoint in Southeast New Brunswick when it comes to warm weather and so far this month is no exception.

Environment Canada reports on 14 September, the thermometer climbed to 27.8 C in Greater Moncton which ties the record high from 2003.

St. Stephen was the hot spot in the province and all of Canada with a high of 29.2 C which eclipsed the old record from 1903.

As we approach the first day of autumn on 22 September, temperatures in Greater Moncton can still climb into the 30s Celsius with a record high of 32.8 C in 1965.

Firefighters make progress in B.C. wildfires

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Active wildfires burning in BC, 13 July 2017 (BC Wildfire Service/Google)

More than 300 firefighters from across Canada including New Brunswick are now in British Columbia to relieve those already on the ground battling over 180 wildfires.

Some progress has been made thanks to recent cooler weather but 14,000 residents have been evacuated and thousands more are on alert to leave their homes at short notice.

Forecasters say gusty winds expected this weekend could fan the flames even further and the heat is also expected to return.

The economy of the B.C. Interior is taking a hit this summer with many campgrounds and provincial parks forced to close due to the wildfires and related road closures.

Heat warnings issued in the West

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Weather watches, warnings, statements re: heat and thunderstorms, 08 July 2017 (Environment Canada)

A strong ridge of high pressure over Western Canada has pushed the thermometer into record high territory for British Columbia and Alberta.

On 07 July, dozens of communities set new maximum temperatures with the highest at 39.4 C in Warfield and 38.3 C in Nelson but the hot spot in Canada was Garden River in northern Alberta at 40.3 C.

The major cities were warm too with Calgary reaching 33 C and Edmonton 30 C.

Heat warnings have been issued for most of Alberta and parts of Saskatchewan where temperatures will be near 29 C or higher for the next few days and residents are urged to take precautions.

Snowy weekend in Newfoundland & Labrador

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Heavy snow in Cartwright, Labrador, NL, 21 May 2017 (Twitter)

The Victoria Day long weekend is considered the unofficial start to summer in most of Canada but not Newfoundland and Labrador this year.

More than 50 cm of snow fell in southeastern Labrador and between 20 and 30 cm was recorded in western Newfoundland and the Northern Peninsula.

Campers in Gros Morne National Park had fires one evening and then woke up to white the next morning.

St. John’s also picked up about 4 cm of snow which was the snowiest May long weekend since 1991.

Cherry blossoms brighten B.C. coast

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Cherry blossoms in Vancouver,BC,15 April 2017 (CityofVancouver/Twitter)

Canada’s so-called Left Coast may have the mildest winters in the country but along with that comes a lot of cloudy skies and precipitation mostly falling as rain.

After a colder and snowier than usual winter, Vancouver experienced a gloomy March with the least amount of sunshine since records began in 1951 and it rained 28 out of 31 days.

So it’s no wonder, the sight of beautiful pink and white cherry blossoms is causing traffic troubles with so many drivers and pedestrians stopping to admire them.

The peak bloom is a bit later than normal this year thanks to dismal weather causing the Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival to reschedule some events.