Return to winter

A strong low pressure system is expected to bring a lot of snow, some rain and wind to Southeast New Brunswick starting Thursday night.

About 15 cm could fall in Greater Moncton prompting Environment Canada to issue a snowfall warning.

Strong winds will coincide with high tide along the Northumberland Strait creating storm surge.

This could be the heaviest snowfall event since 01 March when 14 cm fell.

March 2020 – Warm and dry

Irishtown Reservoir, Moncton, 15 March 2020 (Dearing)

Much less rain and snow fell in Greater Moncton during March even though precipitation was recorded on 23 days.

Only 10 mm of rain and 32 cm of snow fell with the normals being 49 mm and 65 cm respectively.

Warm daytime highs were scarce – the thermometer failed to reach 10°C – but temperatures were actually slightly above average overall.

The coldest weather occurred during the first few days of spring with a minimum of -13.8°C on 23 March.

MARCH 2020 ALMANAC (at Greater Moncton Int’l Airport, 1981-2010)

Average HIGH 2.4°C

Average LOW -6.3°C

AVERAGE -2.0°C (about 0.9 degrees ABOVE normal)

Extreme HIGH 9.4°C (28 Mar)

Extreme LOW -13.8°C (23 Mar)

RAINFALL 10.7 mm (about 80 percent BELOW normal)

SNOWFALL 34.6 cm (about 50 percent BELOW normal)

(Data courtesy Environment Canada)

Warm spring day

Finally some warmth!

Southeast New Brunswick is trending slightly above normal for March but real heat has been absent until this weekend.

Greater Moncton reached 9.4°C which was a monthly high.

While Prince Edward Island and Cape Breton Island were cooler, some parts of the Maritimes got into the double digits.

Liverpool, Nova Scotia hit 13.9°C while Saint John recorded 10.5°C.

Warm front brings record highs

Radar image at 9pm ADT, 10 March 2020 (Microsoft)

A slow moving warm front has brought precipitation and varying temperatures to the Maritimes.

About 15 cm of snow was expected in the north, while freezing rain and ice pellets fell in central areas and rain in the south.

Temperatures also ranged from well below freezing in northwestern New Brunswick to as high as 15°C in southwestern Nova Scotia.

Meantime, the thermometer has been rising in Greater Moncton over the past 24 hours with snow, ice pellets, freezing rain and now rain.

Record highs from 09 March (courtesy Environment Canada):

  • Kejumkujik National Park, 14.9°C beats old record 14.3°C from 2002.
  • Grand Manan Island, 10.4°C beats old record 9.9°C from 2012.

Winter 2019-20 in Review

Data courtesy Environment Canada

Meteorological winter in Greater Moncton covering the months of December, January and February proved to be almost two degrees above normal compared to the 30-year average.

The warmest temperatures were recorded in December while frigid weather in February saw the coldest low in five years.

Precipitation was about 25 percent below normal with little snow in December and barely any rain in February.

February 2020 – Cold yet above normal

Ducks on ice, Irishtown Nature Park, Moncton, 29 Feb 2020 (Dearing)

Some of the coldest lows yet this winter were recorded in February yet the mean monthly temperature in Greater Moncton was actually above normal based on the 30-year average.

Four overnight lows dropped to -20°C or lower with a frigid -24.4°C on 15 Feb which was the coldest minimum in five years (since February 2015).

Eleven days were below freezing but daytime highs climbed above freezing during the final week of the month.

Three major storms brought above normal snowfall but a scant 1.0 mm of rain was recorded which was well below the average of 28 mm.

FEBRUARY 2020 ALMANAC (at Greater Moncton Int’l Airport, 1981-2010)

Average HIGH -1.0°C

Average LOW -11.4°C

AVERAGE -6.2°C (about 1.4 degrees ABOVE normal)

Extreme HIGH 7.3°C (24 Feb)

Extreme LOW -24.4°C (15 Feb)

RAINFALL 1.0 mm (substantially BELOW normal)

SNOWFALL 71.2 cm (slightly ABOVE normal)

(Data courtesy Environment Canada)

Spring-like weather ends

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File photo (Dearing)

The last few days have felt like spring in New Brunswick but the warm spell is about to end.

Temperatures have soared as high as 10°C in some areas.

The normal maximum for late February is about 0°C in Greater Moncton.

Recent daytime highs:

  • 6.1°C on 23 Feb
  • 7.3°C on 24 Feb
  • 6.0°C on 25 Feb
  • 4.0°C on 26 Feb

However, winter is returning as a low pressure system brings mixed precipitation to Ontario and Quebec with the Maritimes next in its path.

Environment Canada has issued various weather warnings and up to 25 cm of snow and ice pellets could fall starting late Thursday into Friday.

Groundhogs send mixed messages

Shubenacadie Sam sees his shadow, Shubenacadie, NS, 02 Feb 2020 (Twitter)

The first marmot in North America to make a weather prediction on Groundhog Day was Nova Scotia’s Shubenacadie Sam who saw his shadow early today which means another six weeks of winter.

However, Ontario’s Wiarton Willie and Pennsylvania’s Punxsutawney Phil didn’t see their respective shadows hence an early spring is expected.

So which groundhog do we believe?

The annual tradition originated in Germany and traces its roots to religion rather than science.

Environment Canada notes how data over the last 30 to 40 years shows that the groundhogs have only been correct about 37 percent of the time.

But admittedly, it’s a fun way to mark the midpoint of winter whether or not it wraps up early or drags on into spring.

January 2020 – Warmer than normal

Sunset at Irishtown Nature Park, 25 January 2020 (Dearing)

Glancing at the data for January 2020, one would think it was as cold if not colder than normal in Southeast New Brunswick.

The thermometer sank below -10°C on sixteen days while four of those days dropped to -20°C or lower during the month.

Despite the frigid weather, January was in fact almost three degrees above normal in Greater Moncton.

Despite two major snowfalls (including one event near 30 cm) and some rainfall, precipitation was close to the thirty-year average.

JANUARY 2020 ALMANAC (at Greater Moncton Int’l Airport, 1981-2010)

Average HIGH -2.1°C

Average LOW -10.1°C

AVERAGE -6.1°C (about 2.8 degrees ABOVE normal)

Extreme HIGH 10.9°C (11 Jan)

Extreme LOW -21.3°C (18 and 22 Jan)

RAINFALL 24.6 mm (NEAR normal)

SNOWFALL 69.6 cm (NEAR normal)

(Data courtesy Environment Canada)

Storm brings snow to Ontario & Quebec


A Colorado Low tracked across Lake Huron on Saturday and brought snow to nearly all of Ontario and Southern Quebec with the first major amounts this winter.

Strong gusty winds up to 100 km/h in some areas also created blowing snow.

The low pressure system continued through the Northeastern United States and impacted the Maritimes on Sunday.

Snowfall amounts (in cm):

  • Marathon  30
  • Thunder Bay  21
  • Ottawa  20 (new daily record for 18 January)
  • Kitchener-Waterloo  19
  • Toronto Pearson Airport  17.2 (new daily record for 18 January)
  • Montreal  17
  • London  16
  • Kenora  15

(Data courtesy Environment Canada and volunteer observations)