The Year Without Spring

Snow in Rexton, 21 May 2019 (S. Hudson/Facebook)

It snowed overnight in Southeast New Brunswick.

About 0.6 cm of wet snow was recorded at the Greater Moncton Airport and even higher accumulations around the region.

In recent history, I can’t recall a snowfall this late in the month of May.

With meteorological summer arriving in 10 days and astronomical summer in barely a month, I’ve concluded that 2019 is the “Year Without Spring”.

The cold, damp weather has impacted farmers who are at least two weeks behind in planting crops due to saturated fields.

Sidewalk patios are eerily empty and winter parkas are still being worn by many.

A frost advisory has been posted for tonight and another one will likely be posted in two days as temperatures drop to near freezing again overnight.

Will the weather improve anytime soon?

A high of 20°C is forecast for Saturday but keep in mind we often hit 30°C before the beginning of June.

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Frost advisory!

Desmoiselles Beach, Hopewell Rocks, 12 May 2019 (Dearing)

The Victoria Day long weekend marks the unofficial start of the summer season in Canada when opening up the cottage or camping are on the agenda.

However, many residents are still wearing heavy, winter jackets and gloves as daytime highs struggle to reach 10°C in Southeast New Brunswick.

The normal maximum in Greater Moncton is about 18°C but the long range forecast shows it won’t be that warm for another six days!

Environment Canada has issued a frost advisory for all of New Brunswick and most of mainland Nova Scotia as the overnight low drops to near freezing.

On the upside, the advisory means the growing season is now officially underway but on the downside, it’s not warm enough to plant anything.

Frost free season approaches

May is here which means it won’t be long before Jack Frost visits Atlantic Canada for the last time this spring.

Mid to late May is typically when the last frost arrives in Greater Moncton, early in the month for Halifax and late April for Yarmouth.

Early to mid June dates are normal for most of Newfoundland and Labrador.

Last year in New Brunswick and Nova Scotia, frost appeared as late as early June which proved disastrous for grape, blueberry and strawberry farmers.

Risk of frostbite

Hoar frost on trees in west end Moncton, 14 Jan 2019 ( Dearing)

A good old fashioned January cold snap continues in New Brunswick with well below normal temperatures since last weekend.

Wind chill values have dropped to -30 giving the risk of frostbite on exposed skin.

After a frosty -21.4°C in Greater Moncton earlier this week, forecasters say a further tumble to -23°C is likely before a potent winter storm arrives on Sunday.

Environment Canada is tracking a system moving across the U.S. which is expected to bring at least 30 cm of snow, 50 mm of rain, a period of freezing rain and strong winds to the Maritimes.

October 2018 – Cool and wet

View from the Sussex Bluffs, Sussex Corner, NB, 14 Oct 2018 (Dearing)

October 2018 proved to be very different from October 2017 in Southeast New Brunswick.

While it was warm and dry last year in Greater Moncton (the second warmest October since 1881), it was the opposite this year – cool and wet.

Temperatures were below normal with only one day reaching 20°C and a hard frost arrived by mid-month.

Only seven days were dry with three major rainfall events and snow fell on three days – briefly settling on the ground twice.

OCTOBER 2018 ALMANAC (at Greater Moncton Int’l Airport, 1981-2010)

Average HIGH 10.5°C

Average LOW 2.2°C

AVERAGE 6.4°C (about 1.2 degrees BELOW normal)

Extreme HIGH 19.6°C (04 Oct)

Extreme LOW -6.6°C (27 Oct)

RAINFALL 150 mm (estimate; about 40 percent ABOVE normal)

SNOWFALL 6.2 cm (well ABOVE the normal of 1.2 cm)

(Data courtesy Environment Canada)

September 2018 – Warm and wet

Black-eyed Susans growing in Upper Hammonds Plains, NS, 21 Sept 2018 (Dearing)

Warm, summer weather picked up in September where it left off in August in Southeast New Brunswick.

But the passage of a cold front marked a drastic temperature drop on the 18th and suddenly it felt like fall in Greater Moncton.

The thermometer continued to plunge and sank to -1.9°C on the 25th with light, scattered frost although most vegetation was spared severe damage.

Precipitation was actually above normal although heavy amounts fell in a handful of rainfalls.

SEPTEMBER 2018 ALMANAC (at Greater Moncton Int’l Airport, 1981-2010)

Average HIGH 20.9°C

Average LOW 7.9°C

AVERAGE 14.4°C (about 0.8 degrees ABOVE normal)

Extreme HIGH 28.9°C (06 Sept)

Extreme LOW -1.9°C (25 Sept)

RAINFALL 100.5 mm (about 10 percent ABOVE normal)

(Data courtesy Environment Canada)

Frost forms under harvest moon

A clear night under a brilliant harvest moon lowered the temperature to -1.9°C in Greater Moncton this morning with some scattered frost.

Most sensitive vegetation survived as the thermometer fell below zero for less than six hours.

Many weather stations across New Brunswick had readings near or a few degrees below freezing.

On average, the first fall frost date in Moncton is 02 October with an growing season of 131 days.

However, a record breaking low of -3.2°C on 04 June brought a late frost (about two weeks later than usual) which proved devastating for farmers and gardeners.

So despite enjoying a long and warm summer, the frost-free season lasted 112 days which is about 19 days shorter than usual.

A chilly start!

It may have been the warmest summer in the Maritimes in almost a century but some parts of the region woke up to below freezing temperatures and frost this morning!

That means some areas had a growing season which barely lasted 100 days since the last spring frost for many was 04 June.

Greater Moncton was definitely chilly with an early morning low of 3.0°C which was close to the record low of 1.1°C from 1956.

Here are some of the nippy overnight lows:

  • Edmundston, NB  -2.0°C
  • Woodstock, NB  -0.8°C
  • Red Pines, NB  -0.7°C
  • Fredericton, NB  0.1°C
  • Upper Stewiacke, NS  -0.4°C
  • Maple Plains, PEI  1.4°C

June 2018 – Cold nights, plenty of rain

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Ogilvie Brook, Irishtown Nature Park, 24 June 2018 (Dearing)

Greater Moncton has endured the coolest June in recent memory and while daytime highs were close to normal – with a few exceptions – overnight lows were cold, even frosty at times during the first half of the month.

A hard frost on 04 June with a record breaking low of -3.2 C was devastating for agriculture across New Brunswick especially in the Southeast.

Farmers suffered major damage – in some cases 50 to 80 percent losses – to crops such as grapes, strawberries and blueberries.

Oddly enough, the temperature had not been that low in all of May and not since 16 April had it been at least that cold.

Rainfall was about 60 percent above normal and was confined to a handful of major rain events with nine days being completely dry.

JUNE 2018 ALMANAC (at Greater Moncton Int’l Airport, 1981-2010)

Average HIGH  20.3°C

Average LOW  6.6°C

AVERAGE  13.5°C (about 1.7 degrees BELOW normal)

Extreme HIGH  29.7°C (01 June)

Extreme LOW  -3.2°C (04 June)

RAINFALL  154.0 mm (about 60 percent ABOVE normal)

(Data courtesy Environment Canada)

Goodbye Spring!

Dorchester Beach, NB, 17 June 2018 (Dearing)

Spring had its inevitable ups and downs in Southeast New Brunswick but overall the average temperature was close to normal for March, April and May.

March was very stormy with a parade of Nor’easters which led to the highest snow depth of the winter in Greater Moncton by the end of the month.

April was slightly colder than normal with chilly nights until mid-month and the last measurable snow fell on the 21st.

May had slightly above normal temperatures overall thanks to 14 days with daytime highs of 20 C or more but nights remained cold with single digit lows.

So far this June, the mean temperature is running three degrees below average with a hard frost on the 4th which was the coldest minimum since 16 April.

METEOROLOGICAL SPRING at the Greater Moncton International Airport

MARCH 2018
Average -1.7 C (1.2 degrees ABOVE normal)
Snowfall: well above normal, Rainfall: well below normal

APRIL 2018
Average 3.2 C (0.3 degrees BELOW normal)
Snowfall: below normal, Rainfall: above normal

MAY 2018
Average 10.3 C (0.3 degrees ABOVE normal)
Rainfall: below normal, Snowfall: nil