NB River Watch Launches

Flooding in Fredericton, 24 Apr 2019 (GNB/Yerxa)

It’s a sure sign of spring…

New Brunswick’s annual program monitoring the status of rivers, ice jams and other flood issues officially launched today.

Historic flooding in 2018 and 2019 devastated many communities along the St. John River although individuals and municipal governments were better prepared last year.

Higher than normal water levels forced the closure of the Trans-Canada Highway between Fredericton and Moncton for almost a week and even longer the year before.

Officials say a variety of factors contribute to flooding including precipitation, snow pack, air temperatures and river ice.

Winter storm sweeps Eastern Canada

Snow falls in NE Moncton, 27 Feb 2020 (Dearing)

A major winter storm moved across Ontario, Quebec and Atlantic Canada delivering snow, rain, freezing rain, strong winds and ice pellets.

Police told drivers to stay off the roads, many flights were grounded, schools closed and some businesses shut down.

Almost 17 cm of snow/ice pellets fell in Greater Moncton which made roads treacherous and forced the transit system to cancel service by late afternoon.

Snowfall amounts (in cm):

  • Mont-Laurier, QC 49
  • Pembroke, ON 34
  • Gaspe, QC 25 to 45
  • Ingonish Beach, NS 25
  • Miramichi, NB 22
  • Quebec City area 20 to 40
  • Edmundston, NB 18
  • Greater Moncton 17
  • Ottawa 17
  • Fredericton 16
  • Toronto Pearson 15
  • London 12
  • Greater Montreal 5 to 15
  • St. John’s 11

Duration of freezing rain (in hours):

  • CFB Trenton 7
  • Kingston 5
  • Ottawa 1.5

Rainfall (in mm):

  • Western Head, NS 47
  • Shelburne, NS 34

Wind gusts (in km/h):

  • Grand Etang, Cape Breton, NS 181
  • Wreckhouse, NL 181
  • Yarmouth, NS 118
  • Port aux Basques, NL 123
  • Quebec City 102
  • Stephenville, NL 100
  • Picton area, ON 101
  • Sydney, NS 93
  • Halifax Stanfield 89
  • Toronto Billy Bishop 82

(Data courtesy Environment Canada)

Coldest, snowiest yet this winter

Snow covered steps in NE Moncton, 19 Jan 2020 (Dearing)

On the heels of the coldest weather so far this winter in Greater Moncton with lows of -21°C comes the heaviest snowfall to date.

A Colorado Low arrived in the Maritimes on Sunday after delivering a blow to the middle of the continent including Ontario and Quebec.

Since it was already very cold across Southern New Brunswick, the snow that fell was light and dry – unlike so-called “heart attack” snow which is heavy and wet.

Snowfall totals (in cm):

  • Minto area  31
  • Greater Moncton Airport  25
  • Fredericton area  16
  • Saint John Airport  13
  • Miramichi  10
  • Bathurst  4

(Data courtesy volunteer observations)

White Christmas

Light snow falls on Boxing Day, Truro, NS, 26 Dec 2019 (Dearing)

Despite a relatively snow-free December, Greater Moncton still managed to have a White Christmas this year after all – but just barely.

Environment Canada reports 2 cm of snow on the ground at the airport Christmas morning which fits its official definition.

Other parts of southern New Brunswick and Nova Scotia did not have snow including in Truro where I spent the holiday.

Meteorologists say odds of a White Christmas have decreased in recent years.

Here are the odds for select Canadian cities (1994-2017 versus 1955-2017):

  • Moncton – 65% / 73%
  • Fredericton – 50% / 76%
  • Saint John – 45% / 60%
  • Charlottetown – 55% / 78%
  • Halifax – 40% / 54%
  • Montreal – 70% / 76%
  • Toronto – 45% / 52%
  • Winnipeg – 100% / 98%
  • Calgary – 60% / 59%
  • Vancouver – 10% / 10%

Wind & rain cause damage

Roof damage at apartment building, Heather Way, 10 Dec 2019 (City of Saint John)

Strong winds and heavy rain from a strong low pressure system caused damage to properties and localized flooding in New Brunswick and Nova Scotia.

The Saint John area was hard hit with wind gusts up to 95 km/h which led to power outages and roof damage to at least two apartment buildings.

No one was hurt but all tenants were evacuated and assisted by the Red Cross.

Many roads were closed due to flooding or fallen trees and there were voluntary evacuations in Sussex in low lying areas.

The storm also brought mild, record-breaking temperatures with highs of 11°C in Edmundston and 12°C in Bathurst and Woodstock.

Greater Moncton hit 13.7°C but the record for 10 December was 15°C from 1957.

Rainfall totals (in mm) as of 8am on 10 December 2019:

  • Mechanic Settlement, NB  94 mm
  • Saint John Airport  63 mm
  • Kejimkujik NP, NS  53 mm
  • Dorchester, NB  50 mm
  • Yarmouth, NS  43 mm
  • Halifax (city)  48 mm
  • Fredericton  33 mm
  • Greater Moncton 26 mm

Peak wind gusts (km/h):

  • Cheticamp area, NS  135
  • Sydney  106
  • Halifax (Shearwater)  102
  • Saint John Airport  95
  • Lunenburg  92
  • Grand Manan, NB  89

(Data courtesy Environment Canada)

Messy mix falls over Maritimes

Icy slush in NE Moncton, 03 Dec 2019 (Dearing)

After exiting Ontario, a Colorado Low moved into the Maritimes bringing freezing rain and rain to Nova Scotia along with mixed precipitation to Southeast New Brunswick.

The system shut down schools in many parts of the region on Tuesday with icy roads being a major factor.

Greater Moncton had several hours of freezing rain and ice pellets mixing with snow (3 cm) and later rain (15 mm) as the temperature climbed slightly above freezing.

Northern and western New Brunswick received mostly snow with 10 cm in Fredericton, 18 cm in Miramichi and 27 cm in Woodstock.

Heavy, wet snow creates chaos

An early blast of winter in Moncton, 09 Nov 2019 (Dearing)

Some drivers were prepared when snow entered the forecast for the first time this week and had their winter tires installed.

But many drivers were caught off guard by the heavy, wet – sloppy – snow which fell across Southern New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, northern Nova Scotia and southwestern Newfoundland.

A low pressure system brought rain on Thursday but snow fell by evening as the temperature dropped to the freezing point.

The snow continued throughout Friday creating slippery roads which left plow operators scrambling to deal with the early blast of winter.

Many minor accidents were reported with vehicles sliding into the ditch.

The Trans Canada Highway at Cobequid Pass was forced to close for several hours Friday night after numerous tractor trailers got stuck in snow and blocked the road.

Snowfall amounts (Thu-Fri) in cm:

  • Corner Brook 19.4
  • Greater Moncton 18.8
  • Fredericton 10-15 (estimate)
  • Deer Lake 13
  • Saint John 8.9
  • Halifax Stanfield 5.8
  • Charlottetown 3.9

(Data courtesy Environment Canada)

More rain & wind for Maritimes

Few leaves remain on trees after strong winds, Irishtown Nature Park, 25 Oct 2019 (Dearing)

Another low pressure system moved through the Maritimes on Wednesday bringing a lot of rain to the region especially to western New Brunswick.

Winds were also a factor with this storm but for a shorter period of time even though the peak gust was 81 km/h which was slightly higher than last week.

Here some rainfall totals (mm):

  • Saint John  59
  • Edmundston  59
  • Bathurst  49
  • Fredericton  48
  • Miramichi  37
  • Sydney  30
  • Charlottetown  22
  • Halifax Stanfield Airport  21
  • Greater Moncton  19

(Data courtesy Environment Canada)

Coolest day since May

Irishtown Nature Park, 05 October 2019 (Dearing)

Chilly temperatures across the Maritimes on Friday made it feel more like early November than early October.

In Greater Moncton, the daytime high for 04 October was only 8.2 C which means it was the coolest day since 22 May when the maximum was only 8.6 C.

Halifax, Charlottetown, Saint John and Fredericton also had highs below 10 C.

The normal high for the first week of October in Southeast New Brunswick is 15 C with an overnight low of 4 C.

Dorian packs powerful punch

Dorian damage in Halifax’s West End, 08 Sept 2019 (NS Power)

Hurricane Dorian has left a path of destruction across the Maritime Provinces despite being downgraded as it crossed the region.

The Canadian Hurricane Centre says Dorian was an intense post-tropical storm as it made landfall at 7:15pm ADT Saturday in Sambro, 25 km southwest of Halifax.

Dorian brought destructive winds, flooding rains and powerful storm surges to much of Nova Scotia, southern New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island.

A construction crane collapsed and century old trees toppled onto homes, businesses, vehicles and streets in Halifax.

Public works staff are scrambling to clean up the mess and power crews are trying to restore electricity to the tens of thousands without it.

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Crews clean up storm damage in Halifax’s west end, 08 Sept 2019 (NS Power)

Rainfall totals (mm) as of 11am ADT Sunday:

  • Oxford, NS. 138
  • Halifax (Lower Sackville), NS. 138
  • Greater Moncton Airport, NB. 121
  • Miramichi, NB. 115
  • Kentville, NS. 110
  • Summerside, PEI. 90
  • Saint John, NB. 82
  • Fredericton, NB. 75

Peak wind gusts (km/h) as of 11am ADT Sunday:

  • Beaver Island (eastern shore), NS. 145
  • Yarmouth, NS. 130
  • North Cape, PEI. 122
  • Halifax (city), NS. 120
  • Miscou Island, NB. 106
  • Sydney, NS. 104
  • Saint John, NB. 102
  • Greater Moncton Airport, NB. 100

(Data courtesy Environment Canada)