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.

Canada’s Top 10 Weather Stories 2019

img_0659

Hurricane Dorian damage in Halifax’s west end, 08 Sept 2019 (NS Power)

Canada is a land of weather extremes and this year has been no exception with frigid winter cold and stifling summer heat which brought wildfires, flooding, snowstorms and hurricanes.

Environment Canada has compiled its annual list for 2019:

  1. Another record Ottawa River flood
  2. Destructive hurricane season especially Dorian
  3. Snowy Prairie autumn
  4. Bitterly cold February nationwide
  5. Record heat continues in the Arctic
  6. Too dry early, too wet later on Prairies
  7. Blustery Halloween in the East
  8. Spring never arrives in Eastern Canada
  9. More flooding along the St. John River
  10. Fewer wildfires but more hectares burned

Here are some weather highlights for Atlantic Canada:

  • New Year’s Day takes Newfoundland by storm
  • January Maritime storm included every type of weather
  • Winter storm forces Moncton residents outside
  • February storm causes road closures in Labrador
  • Pre-Valentine’s storm across the Maritimes
  • March starts out stormy in Nova Scotia
  • Newfoundland’s icebergs please tourists and locals
  • October “weather bomb” drops lots of rain

Hello Spring!

img_1775

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)

Winter snowfall across Canada

TWN Snowmap

It has been quite a winter across Canada with no region reporting a shortage of snow.

Snowfall has been especially heavy in the West this season especially coastal British Columbia which usually sees only scant amounts.

Victoria, BC had almost 70 cm of snow in February – more than what typically falls all winter – even higher than snowy Moncton at nearly 60 cm last month.

While many areas of the West have already exceeded their snowfall amounts for an average winter, much of the East is still falling short of a normal season.

The deepest snowpack can be found in northern New Brunswick, central Quebec, Labrador, the Rockies and B.C.’s mountain ranges.

Winter 2018-19 in Review

Winter 18-19
Wintry weather will undoubtedly continue in New Brunswick for the next few weeks but meteorological winter (December, January and February) is officially over.

In Greater Moncton, winter proved to be slightly colder than normal (0.3 degrees cooler) although the extreme low was not as cold as previous years.

Precipitation was about average for the season with slightly above normal rainfall and slightly below normal snowfall.

February 2019 – Cold & Stormy

img_0019

Aftermath of ice storm in NE Moncton, 08 Feb 2019 (Dearing)

February may be the shortest month but it certainly seemed a lot longer this year with bitterly cold and stormy conditions.

While January was snowy in Greater Moncton, all was quiet until the largest single snowfall of the year arrived at mid-month.

After several freeze-thaw cycles which produced icy conditions, the latter half became decidedly colder with bitter overnight lows and wind chills.

Strong winds and blowing snow created dangerous whiteout conditions during the last week wreaking havoc with transportation across New Brunswick.

FEBRUARY 2019 ALMANAC (at Greater Moncton Int’l Airport, 1981-2010)

Average HIGH -3.5°C

Average LOW -12.9°C

AVERAGE -8.3°C (about 0.7 degrees BELOW normal)

Extreme HIGH 7.2°C (05 Feb)

Extreme LOW -18.7°C (27 Feb)

RAINFALL 25.2 mm (just slightly BELOW normal)

SNOWFALL 58.8 cm (about 10 percent BELOW normal)

(Data courtesy Environment Canada)

Freaky heat in the U.K.

 
Never before has the temperature climbed above 20 C during the winter in the United Kingdom – until this week.

The record U.K. temperature for February has actually been broken twice over the past few days.

On social media, users were posting photos of a snowy wonderland at the same time last year compared to spring-like scenes this year.

France has also been exceptionally warm with a record high of 19 C in Paris and a scorching maximum of 28 C in the southwestern part of the country.

Meantime, the high in London today is cooler at 14 C which is still about four degrees above average for late February.

More snow for Las Vegas

Vegas sign

Snow settles in Las Vegas, NV, USA (21 Feb 2019/AP)

America’s so-called Sin City might be renamed Snow City after a series of snowfalls this month that will go down in the weather history books.

Las Vegas, Nevada has recorded snow on four days this February with 2 cm today – enough to make a snowman – the first significant snowfall since 2008.

Highways became icy by late afternoon leading to dozens of crashes but police reported no serious injuries.

Heavy snow (about 30 cm) also fell in northern Arizona and the mountains of southern California where it fell as low as 300 metres above sea level in the Los Angeles foothills.

Unbelievable cold in the West!

COLD

Thermometer reading near Edmonton where Celsius meets Fahrenheit, 05 Feb 2019 (Twitter)

An Arctic air mass has plunged much of Western Canada into the deep freeze with the coldest weather in nearly a decade.

Frigid temperatures have broken records in Saskatchewan, Alberta and British Columbia with the wind chill making it feel more like -50 in some areas!

Emergency responders had many calls related to frostbite and hypothermia with seniors and young children being especially vulnerable to the cold.

Auto clubs had almost ten times as many requests from drivers for dead car batteries.

These locations were among new minimums set on 05-06 February 2019:

Key Lake, SK
New record of -47.7
Old record of -44.0 set in 2007
Records started in 1976

Meadow Lake, SK
New record of -43.5
Old record of -41.0 set in 1979
Records started in 1959

Saskatoon, SK
New record of -42.5
Old record of -41.7 set in 1907
Records started in 1900

Grande Prairie, AB
New record of -41.5
Old record of -39.4 set in 1933
Records started in 1922

Edmonton International Airport, AB
New record of -41.2
Old record of -37.2 set in 1975
Records started in 1959

Jasper, AB
New record of -39.4
Old record of -35.7 set in 2014
Records started in 1916

Blue River, BC
New record -35.6
Old record -33.0 set in 1989

Lytton, BC
New record -17.4
Old record -17.2 set in 1949

(Data courtesy Environment Canada)

Spring-like in Eastern Canada

Ahead of a Colorado Low, a mild southerly air flow moved across Eastern Canada resulting in record high temperatures from Southern Ontario to New Brunswick.

The thermometer climbed to a balmy 7.2 C in Greater Moncton but it was shy of the 1962 record of 11.1 C.

Among the locations setting new maximums in New Brunswick on 05 February:

Bouctouche
Tied record of 8.5 set in 2018
Records since 1965

Fredericton
New record of 11.3
Old record of 8.3 set in 1890
Records since 1871

St. Stephen
New record of 12.4
Old record of 9.9 set in 2006
Records since 1898

Woodstock
New record of 10.1
Old record of 7.8 set in 1890
Records since 1886

New record highs set in Ontario included:

St. Catharines
New record 15.1
Old record 13.0 in 1991
Records began in 1902

London
New record 10.0
Old record 9.9 in 1991
Records began in 1941

Kitchener
New record 11.3
Old record 7.8 in 1962
Records began in 1915

Hamilton Airport
New record 12.1
Old record 10.6 in 1991
Records began in 1960

Toronto Pearson Airport
New record 12.7
Old record 11.0 in 1991
Records began in 1970

Peterborough
New record 10.3
Old record 9.0 in 1991
Records began in 1968

Trenton Airport
New record 10.8
Old record 9.2 in 1991
Records began in 1970

(Data courtesy Environment Canada)