The Petitcodiac River in Moncton looking toward Dieppe, 28 January 2018 (Dearing)
The first month of 2018 proved to be quite a roller coaster ride in Southeast New Brunswick.
Bitter cold to begin January was briefly erased by a fast-moving ‘bomb cyclone’ until another Arctic blast sunk the low to -22.3 C with a bitter wind chill of -36.
A record thaw saw the thermometer climb to 16.7 C in Greater Moncton – the highest ever in January – and a new all-time provincial high of 17.3 C in Sussex.
Precipitation was above average overall with near normal snowfall – 25 cm was the heaviest snow event on 30-31 – and about twice as much rainfall.
JANUARY 2018 ALMANAC (at Greater Moncton Int’l Airport, 1981-2010)
Average HIGH -2.0 C
Average LOW -12.6 C
AVERAGE -7.4 C (1.5 degrees ABOVE normal)
Extreme HIGH 16.7 C (13 Jan, new all-time monthly high)
Extreme LOW -22.3 C (07 Jan)
RAINFALL 53.3 mm (almost 50 percent ABOVE normal)
SNOWFALL 77.2 cm (NEAR normal)
(Data courtesy Environment Canada)
A view of downtown Moncton from city hall, 23 Jan 2018 (City of Moncton)
A low pressure system from the west is bringing another mixed bag of precipitation to the Maritimes and once it departs more cold air will filter in behind it.
Schools were cancelled in New Brunswick today as snow began in the morning followed by a changeover to ice pellets and freezing rain and eventually to rain as the temperature climbed above freezing.
Flooding is possible again since the partially frozen ground is less able to absorb heavy rainfall.
Environment Canada issued a freezing rain warning for Greater Moncton but it was dropped later in the day with less than an hour of ice pellets/freezing rain recorded.
The temperature is expected to reach 10 C by early Wednesday before plunging to -13 C by early Thursday – a difference of 23 degrees in less than a day.
Icy conditions in a parking lot of NE Moncton, 11 Jan 2018 (Dearing)
A few days ago it was extremely cold in Greater Moncton and today it felt like spring.
The unofficial high was 14.3 C which beats the record of 11.2 C from 2014 according to Environment Canada.
But emergency measures officials are warning New Brunswickers to be prepared for possible flooding this weekend with 50 to 100 mm of rain possible and a flash freeze warning.
The ground is mostly frozen and has a reduced ability to absorb heavy rainfall.
The temperature is forecast to fall below freezing by late Saturday which will lead to icy conditions.
Snow is piled high in Boston, MA, USA, 05 Jan 2018 (AP)
Much of New Brunswick was under another extreme cold warning this weekend with a near record low of -22.3 C in Greater Moncton today (record is -23.3 C from 1945) and a bone-chilling wind chill near -36.
Environment Canada is calling for temperatures to moderate this week with a return to near normal values and even above freezing temperatures by Thursday.
The Northeast United States has also been under a cold snap and the thermometer bottomed out Sunday with record lows in a number of cities including Burlington, Vermont at -29 C and Portland, Maine at -24 C.
Boston, Massachusetts tied its record low of -19 C just days after digging out from 34 cm of snow during the ‘bomb cyclone’ and being inundated with icy floodwaters from the highest tides in a century.
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.
“Bomb cyclone” south of the Maritimes, 04 Jan 2017 (earth.nullscholl.net)
An powerful Nor’easter has arrived in the Maritimes with strong, gusty winds bringing heavy rain for Nova Scotia and a snow/ice pellets/rain for New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island.
Winds were hurricane-force in the Halifax region at 117 km/h and thundersnow – a thunderstorm with snow – was recorded in Sydney.
Storm surge warnings are in place along the Atlantic coast as water levels will be high enough to cause some coastal flooding.
In Greater Moncton, snow began falling around noon with freezing rain/ice pellets by late afternoon and rain by evening.
Environment Canada says the storm will move out of the region by Friday afternoon but more frigid air is filtering in behind the system which will mean a very cold weekend.
Snow accumulates in Tallahassee, Florida, USA, 03 Jan 2018 (Twitter)
For the first time in 28 years, the capital of America’s Sunshine State had measurable snow.
Tallahassee may occasionally see snowflakes in winter but today was only the fourth time since 1950 that snow actually accumulated on the ground.
The wintry blast was thanks to a so-called bomb cyclone which originated off Florida’s east coast and is barreling up the Atlantic toward the Maritimes.
The intense storm system also brought heavy freezing rain to South Carolina and blizzard warnings have been posted from Virginia to Maine.
Environment Canada has issued a winter storm warning for Greater Moncton and Southeast New Brunswick with 30 cm of snow/ice pellets and 10 mm of rain as the temperature finally climbs above freezing.
The thermometer has not risen above zero since Christmas Day and seven straight days have been below -10 C.
Several weather outlets are forecasting a major winter storm will hit the Maritimes bringing heavy snow and strong winds to New Brunswick just days into 2018.
Blizzard conditions are possible along with large waves and high water levels along the coast.
Nova Scotia may get more rain along the Atlantic coast while a rain/snow mix is likely inland.
Until the storm arrives, Arctic air remains firmly in place with several cities in Ontario setting new record lows on New Year’s Day including -22.6 C at Toronto Pearson Airport and -28.6 C at Ottawa Macdonald-Cartier Airport.
Heavy snow falling in northeast Moncton, 09 Dec 2017 (Dearing)
December in Southeast New Brunswick started out on a normal note with above freezing daytime highs and chilly but not frigid overnight lows.
But an early Arctic blast settled in over the Maritimes by mid-month and Greater Moncton had five days below -10 C with four nights plunging to -20 C or lower.
After near normal precipitation last month, both rainfall and snowfall were below normal for December.
Two major snow events were recorded on 9-10 Dec (16 cm) and 25 Dec (20 cm) with a significant rainfall on 23 Dec (10 mm).
DECEMBER 2017 ALMANAC (at Greater Moncton Int’l Airport, 1981-2010)
Average HIGH -2.5 C
Average LOW -10.7 C
AVERAGE -6.6 C (1.8 degrees BELOW normal)
Extreme HIGH 11.1 C (06 Dec)
Extreme LOW -21.8 C (31 Dec)
RAINFALL 39.1 mm (almost 30 percent BELOW normal)
SNOWFALL 51.4 cm (almost 20 percent BELOW normal)
(Data courtesy Environment Canada)
A portion of Niagara Falls has frozen over, along Canada-US border, 31 Dec 2017 (Instagram)
Environment Canada issued an extreme cold warning today for most of New Brunswick with frigid temperatures and moderate winds bringing bitter wind chills between -30 and -36 on New Year’s Day and 02 January.
From Yukon to Quebec, extreme cold warnings have been posted prompting many cities including Toronto and Ottawa to cancel some New Year’s Eve festivities or move events indoors.
In Calgary, zoo officials say it’s been so cold even the penguins have been brought inside.
Claresholm, Alberta set a new record low of -41.8 C and Brooks was close behind at -40.5 C.