Record January thaw

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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.

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Arctic air to retreat

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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.

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.

Major storm moves across Maritimes

 

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“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.

‘Bomb cyclone’ barrels up U.S. East Coast

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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.

December 2017 – Cold and dry

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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)

Extreme cold warning

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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.

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.

Freezing rain creates icy conditions

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Freezing rain (pink) sandwiched between snow (blue) to the north and rain (green) to the south, 23 Dec 2017 (Intellicast)

Streets and highways in Greater Moncton turned into skating rinks early this evening after freezing rain began falling through Central and Southeast New Brunswick.

Social media users mentioned how numerous vehicles were sliding off the roads in icy conditions and Magnetic Hill had become an ice sheet.

A low pressure system from the Northeastern United States brought mixed precipitation which eventually changed to rain.

Meantime, Environment Canada is monitoring a major snowstorm expected Christmas Day which could bring 20 cm snow to parts of New Brunswick.