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)
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)
Power crews working on restoration efforts in Nanaimo, BC, 25 Dec 2018 (BC Hydro)
Almost 7,000 customers are still without electricity in British Columbia after the most powerful windstorm in 20 years struck the province a week ago.
BC Hydro says most of the remaining outages are in the southern Gulf Islands and those customers should be back on the grid by New Year’s Eve.
At the storm’s peak about 700,000 customers were in the dark after wind gusts of between 90 and 123 km/h were recorded on Vancouver Island and the Lower Mainland.
After a brief quiet period over Christmas, the next system is coming this weekend bringing more active weather including rain, snow, and gusty winds.
Snow falling in southern Scotland, UK, 15 Dec 2018 (D.Cheskin/PA)
So-called Storm Deirdre put a damper on holiday shopping this weekend just days before Christmas as strong winds, freezing rain, rain and snow turned many roads into ice rinks across the United Kingdom and Ireland.
Weather warnings covered most regions except for Greater London and southeast England which saw mostly rain.
Hurricane force winds gusted up to 120 km/h in the Scottish Highlands where up to 50 cm of snow fell.
Police responded to numerous highway collisions related to the icy conditions.
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.
Santa Claus in downtown Moncton (City of Moncton/Facebook)
The Greater Moncton Santa Claus Parade is the unofficial start to the Christmas season in Southeast New Brunswick.
The weather was cooperative for Santa’s arrival this year with a mild 10 C when the parade started at 5pm with light winds under clear and dry conditions.
It was a different story last year with a chilly 3 C under a mostly cloudy sky with damp conditions.
An estimated 100,000 spectators come out to see the parade every year and this year the crowd seemed even larger.
Fast melting icicles in NE Moncton neighbourhood, 05 April 2015 (Dearing)
While Christmas was mild and wet in Southeast New Brunswick, Easter turned out to be cold and white and it felt like December.
A low pressure system delivered almost 10 mm rain yesterday before the thermometer dropped below freezing and precipitation turned to snow.
Less than 5 cm fell and given the strong power of the sun in April, the snow and even icicles melted quickly.
Temperatures continue to be cold in what many are calling “sprinter” – a hybrid of spring and winter – and an overnight low of -16 C overnight could break a record
Wentworth Valley, NS, 25 Dec 2013 (Dearing)
My drive from Moncton to Truro on Christmas morning was a bit scary at times with snow and poor visibility especially through the Tantramar Marsh.
Road conditions were tricky with the passing lane snow covered for most of the trip.
Fortunately traffic was light and drivers on the road were slowing down for the conditions.
The Weather Network
An incredible amount of ice has coated much of New Brunswick with Greater Moncton hit with more than 41 hours worth of freezing rain and ice pellets as of early today.
NB Power crews have been scrambling to try and bring the lights back on for Christmas Day.
At the outage peak more than 50,000 customers were in the dark and although the numbers keep dropping, many may not have their electricity back until Saturday.
Warming centres have been opened in schools and community halls for those who may need them.
My thermometer in NE Moncton reads 22 C, 12 Nov 2012 (Dearing photo)
It felt more like September than November in Greater Moncton today when the thermometer climbed to 18.1 C beating the old record of 17.3 from 1984.
The warmest spot in the province was Fredericton at 19.8 C eclipsing 17.9 C from 1995.
Environment Canada says other records fell in Bouctouche at 19.3 C and Point Lepreau at 15.7 C.
Some hit the beach (although the water was too cold for a swim) while others decided it was a good day to put up Christmas lights and decorations.
To put things in perspective, our friends in the West are shivering with a high in Regina, SK today of only -9.6 C!