Surprise! Lots of snow

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Freshly fallen snow in west end Moncton, 18 Jan 2018 (Dearing)

Almost 20 cm of snow fell in Greater Moncton yesterday and it came without any official weather warnings.

Some media outlets were suggesting more than 20 cm while Environment Canada was calling for between 10 and 14 cm.

The snowfall turned out to be the second heaviest of the season so far after the Christmas Day storm.

The low pressure system also brought 14 cm to Saint John, 17 cm in the Fredericton area and about 20 cm in Grand Manan and Alma.

Even higher amounts were recorded in eastern Prince Edward Island, northern Nova Scotia and Cape Breton Island.

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Greater Moncton spared worst of storm

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Powerful storm surge causes flooding along the waterfront in Halifax, NS, 05 Jan 2018 (Twitter)

The ‘bomb cyclone’ or ‘snow hurricane’ – featuring a dramatic drop in atmospheric pressure when warm and cold air collided – has left the Maritimes and spared Southeast New Brunswick from the worst of its fury.

While strong winds were a factor throughout the region, Greater Moncton received less snow compared to further north and west.

To the south and east, more rain fell along with hurricane-force winds (up to 200 km/h gusts in western Cape Breton) which created powerful storm surges causing flooding along the coast.

Here are some totals from Environment Canada and local estimates:

  • Greater Moncton Airport  14 cm snow, 10 mm rain, 91 km/h wind gust
  • Bathurst  58 cm snow, 80 km/h wind gust
  • Fredericton  30 cm snow, 78 km/h wind gust
  • Saint John  5 cm snow, 20 mm rain, 87 km/h wind gust
  • Halifax Stanfield Airport  40 mm rain, trace snow, 122 km/h wind gust

The storm may have departed but Arctic air has filtered back into the Maritimes which will mean a bitterly cold weekend.

First snowstorm of season

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Heavy snow falling in northeast Moncton, 09 Dec 2017 (Dearing)

A classic snowstorm brought heavy, moisture-laden snow to much of New Brunswick this weekend.

Environment Canada says the heaviest amounts fell in northeast areas of the province with 27 cm at Bathurst and 24 cm at Miscou Island.

Greater Moncton received 15 cm which was exactly what was being forecasted for Southeast New Brunswick.

The same system brought rain and warm temperatures to eastern mainland Nova Scotia, Cape Breton and the island of Newfoundland with a high of 18 C in St. John’s.

Cape Breton drenched again

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A stream overflows in north end Sydney, NS, 11 May 2017 (Cape Breton Post)

Parts of Cape Breton Island were flooded by a deluge of rain barely six months ago – Thanksgiving weekend – and this week it’s happening again.

The ground is saturated with water after more than 160 mm of rain since the weekend and some Sydney residents are dealing with flooded basements.

Rain and snow melt from the Cape Breton highlands is being blamed for washouts along sections of the Cabot Trail and its side roads.

Road crews are working overtime making repairs before the busy tourism season begins in a few weeks.

Blizzard of 2017

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Aftermath of Blizzard 2017 in Fredericton, 14 Feb 2017 (Facebook)

A monster blizzard packing winds of more than 100 km/h and dumping upwards of 80 cm of snow over the Maritimes has moved into Newfoundland.

Greater Moncton recorded about 40 cm of snow and had a peak wind gust of almost 70 km/h.

The Fredericton area received the most snow from this storm with about 80 cm while Grand Etang on Cape Breton Island had a peak wind gust of almost 150 km/h.

Emergency management officials closed highways to police vehicles, fire trucks and ambulances only.

Blizzard conditions persisted for at least 15 hours in some areas.

Other snowfall totals:

Halifax Stanfield Airport 54 cm

Greenwood, NS 61 cm

Charlottetown 40 cm

Saint John Airport 39 cm

Messy mix for New Brunswick

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Trying to scrape car of snow, ice pellets and freezing rain, NE Moncton, 04 Jan 2017 (Dearing)

Four types of precipitation fell in Southeast New Brunswick in less than 12 hours after a low pressure system over the U.S. Eastern Seaboard tracked into the Maritimes.

Greater Moncton recorded 2 cm of snow/ice pellets, 12 mm of rain and almost 3 hours of freezing rain.

More snow fell in central and northern New Brunswick with 12 cm in Fredericton and 14 cm in Bathurst.

In Nova Scotia, the Halifax Stanfield Airport received almost 30 mm of rain and strong winds gusted to more than 140 km/h over Cape Breton Island.

October 2016 – Mild then cold

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Fall colours past peak, Centennial Park, Moncton, 16 Oct 2016 (Dearing)

It’s not surprising the days gradually get cooler in October but it was a sudden change in Greater Moncton when temperatures went from mild to cold during the last week of the month.

A warm, humid daytime high of 20.5 C on 22 October will undoubtedly be the last time the thermometer climbs above 20 C in this calendar year.

Although a couple overnight lows fell below freezing early in the month, a hard frost was not reported until 27 October.

Almost 50 mm of rain fell on Thanksgiving weekend in Southeast New Brunswick – far less than other parts of the Maritimes such as Cape Breton Island with over 220 mm.

OCTOBER 2016 ALMANAC (at Greater Moncton International Airport, 1981-2010)

Average HIGH  14.5 C

Average LOW  3.6 C

AVERAGE  9.0 C (about 1.4 degrees ABOVE normal)

Extreme HIGH  24.4 C (07 October)

Extreme LOW  -2.8 C (28 October)

RAINFALL  99.8 mm (about 10 percent BELOW normal)

(Data courtesy Environment Canada)

Tropical system brings rain, wind, warmth

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Irishtown Nature Park, Moncton, NB, 23 Oct 2016 (Dearing)

A cold front from the Great Lakes combined with a tropical low to bring rain, wind and warm temperatures to the Maritimes this weekend.

The heaviest amount of rain fell in the Halifax region with about 80 mm recorded, already-soaked Cape Breton got off relatively easily with 35 mm in Sydney.

Greater Moncton only received 16 mm of rain but winds were as gusty as 70 km/h and the temperature climbed to a balmy 20.5 C.

The hot spot in the Maritimes was in Cheticamp with a record high of 23.9 C.

Turbulent Thanksgiving!

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Floodwaters on Whitney Ave. in Sydney, NS, 10 Oct 2016 (Twitter)

Parts of Cape Breton Island received more than 200 mm of rain over the Thanksgiving weekend along with strong winds which flooded basements and washed out roads.

Mainland Nova Scotia including Halifax had more than 100 mm of rain and damaging winds which brought down trees and power lines causing widespread power outages.

Forecasters say a low pressure system fuelled by Matthew’s moisture brought the severe weather which also affected central Newfoundland where a state of emergency was declared in several communities.

The storm was less severe in New Brunswick with about 48 mm of rain in Greater Moncton with winds at times gusting more than 70 km/h.

Tornado watch in Cape Breton

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Ominous clouds off Glace Bay, NS, 07 Aug 2016 (A. Petrie/Twitter)


A tornado watch may be rare for New Brunswick but it is even more so for Cape Breton Island.

Environment Canada issued a tornado watch for Sydney and Cape Breton County early Sunday evening for almost an hour.

Although some ominous clouds were spotted including potential funnel clouds, no tornadoes were reported.