A view of downtown Moncton from city hall, 23 Jan 2018 (City of Moncton)
Meteorological winter 2017/18 is now in the books since the three month period of December, January and February is over but we all know winter is not over yet in Southeast New Brunswick.
What a ride it has been in Greater Moncton with temperatures fluctuating wildly from very mild to extremely cold in just hours and in one case in mere minutes.
Snowfall was lighter compared to normal especially in February but the bigger concern were frequent periods of mixed, icy precipitation such as freezing rain and ice pellets.
WINTER ALMANAC 2017/18 at the Greater Moncton International Airport
Average HIGH -1.2 C (about 0.9 degrees ABOVE normal)
Average LOW -11.0 C (about 1 degree ABOVE normal)
AVERAGE -6.1 C (about 1 degree ABOVE normal)
Extreme HIGH 16.7 C (13 January – highest temperature ever recorded in January)
Extreme LOW -22.3 C (07 February)
RAINFALL 134.4 mm (about 20 percent ABOVE normal)
SNOWFALL 177.8 cm (about 15 percent BELOW normal)
(Data courtesy Environment Canada)
Flooding along the River Seine in Paris, France, 27 Jan 2018 (Reuters)
According to France’s meteorological agency, rain in December and January has led to the third wettest period ever in Paris which is why the River Seine and other tributaries in northern France have spilled their banks.
The river is expected to peak on Sunday at 6 metres – normally it measures 2 metres – slightly below the exceptional flooding in 2016 and the disastrous flood of 1910.
Some riverside restaurants have been submerged and roads and parks have been closed due to high water levels.
All boat traffic on the Seine has been halted including tourist cruises, some Metro stations are shuttered and the Louvre has shut down the museum’s lower level as a precaution.
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)
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.
Residents of Alberta were golfing rather than skiing this weekend as chinook-like weather brought record high temperatures.
On 09 December, Calgary set a new record of 15.4 C which broke the old record by one full degree from 1890.
The normal daytime high for Calgary is -1 C with an overnight low of -13 C.
Other records were set in Claresholm which hit a summer-like 20.3 C while Sundre reached 16.3 C.
Environment Canada says double digit highs are likely for at least the next few days.
Most Canadians know winter, astronomically speaking, begins around 21 December but we know the season actually gets underway weeks before then.
Meteorologists like to package winter into neat three month blocks which is why 01 December marks the start of meteorological winter and 28 February marks the end.
In its three month outlook, Environment Canada expects most of New Brunswick will have above normal temperatures and near normal precipitation.
A large swath of the Arctic will likely be warmer than usual while Ontario and the southern Prairies will have higher amounts of rain and snow compared to normal.
What a difference in one week in downtown Fredericton, 23 Feb 2017 (Facebook)
The weather has been relatively calm lately in New Brunswick and the Maritimes which has been a welcome relief after a string of winter storms earlier this month.
Mild air has pushed into the region which set several record highs yesterday both here and in Southern Ontario.
The Greater Moncton International Airport reached 10 C and it was the warmest temperature since 18 December – just shy of the record of 13.2 from 1981.
But some weather stations in the Moncton area climbed as high as 13 C.
New record highs for 23 February:
Kouchibouguac Nat’l Park 12.4 C
Woodstock, NB 11.9 C
Bathurst 10.5 C
Windsor, ON 19.3 C
London, ON 18.3 C
Toronto Pearson Airport 17.7 C
Clockwise from top left: Jan 2016 Moncton, May 2016 Moncton, Aug 2016 Kouchibouguac N.P., Oct 2016 Moncton
The average annual temperature for 2016 in Greater Moncton was 6.4 C which was one degree above the 1981-2010 period according to data from Environment Canada.
Precipitation was below normal with 995 mm recorded (1200 mm is average over the same thirty years) broken down as 689 mm of rain and 297 cm of snow.
The highest temperature of the year was 30.5 C on 28 July while the lowest was -22.1 C recorded on 17 December.
The growing season stretched from mid-May to early October which gave Moncton about 142 frost-free days, slightly higher than the average of 127.
A cold late afternoon in downtown Moncton, 16 Dec 2016 (Facebook)
So many ups and downs occurred during December in Southeast New Brunswick, one might say we were riding a weather rollercoaster.
Early on 17 December in Greater Moncton, the thermometer fell to a monthly (and almost record) low of -22.1 C which then rose to a monthly high of 10.6 C only 36 hours later before eventually dropping again to -18.6 by late on 19 December.
Although many nights were extremely cold (eight below -15 C), daytime highs were often slightly above or below freezing which overall led to a slightly below average monthly temperature.
Most snow fell during the first half of the month (three snowfalls were 12 cm or higher) and although rainfall was below normal, overall precipitation was about average.
DECEMBER 2016 ALMANAC (at Greater Moncton Int’l Airport, 1981-2010)
Average HIGH -0.8 C
Average LOW -9.5 C
AVERAGE -5.1 C (about 0.3 degrees BELOW normal)
Extreme HIGH 10.6 C (18 December)
Extreme LOW -22.1 C (17 December)
RAINFALL 37.5 mm (about 30 percent BELOW normal)
SNOWFALL 85.2 cm (about 25 percent ABOVE normal)
(Data courtesy Environment Canada)
RCMP officer in burnt neighbourhood, Fort McMurray, AB, 05 May 2016 (Alberta RCMP)
From the horrible wildfires which destroyed parts of Fort McMurray, Alberta to the winter that wasn’t to a warm, dry summer which led to drought in areas of Eastern Canada, 2016 was certainly noteworthy for major weather events.
- Fort McMurray’s “Fire Beast”
- Super El Niño Cancels Winter – 2nd warmest Canada-wide ever
- August Long Weekend Storm on the Prairies… Big and Costly
- A Summer to Remember in the East
- November’s Heat Wave and December’s Deep Freeze
- Arctic Sea Ice Going, Going… Break-up earlier/Freeze-up later
- Wild Summer Prairie Weather
- A Tale of Two Springs – Cold East and Warm West
- Thanksgiving Day Atlantic Weather Bomb
- Southwest Ontario’s $100 Million September Gusher (Courtesy Environment Canada)