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)

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.

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)

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)

Year in Review 2019

YQM 2019
Most major centres across Southern Canada were slightly colder than normal in 2019 with only the Arctic region posting above average values.

Greater Moncton was no exception at 0.1 degree below normal which was in contrast to 2018 which was 0.4 degrees above normal.

Based on the thirty year period from 1981-2010, Moncton had more hot days and fewer frigid days in 2019 but other categories were close to average.

Rainfall was above normal for Southeast New Brunswick while less snowfall was recorded for the year.

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%

November 2019 – Colder and snowier

Ice forms on Irishtown Reservoir after cold night, 13 Nov 2019 (Dearing)

November got off to a mild start in Greater Moncton – the monthly high 19.4 C was actually 0.1 degrees warmer than October’s maximum – but temperatures quickly tumbled especially overnight.

Only two nights were actually above freezing with the coldest weather around the middle of the month.

The first measurable snow was recorded on 07-8 (18.8 cm) which was more than half of the November total and rainfall was lighter than usual.

Daytime highs struggled to climb above freezing especially during the last two weeks which led to a below normal monthly average.

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

Average HIGH 4.6°C

Average LOW -3.7°C

AVERAGE 0.5°C (about 1.4 degrees BELOW normal)

Extreme HIGH 19.4°C (01 Nov)

Extreme LOW -10.9°C (17 Nov)

RAINFALL 66.7 mm (about 20 percent BELOW normal)

SNOWFALL 32.5 cm (almost double, well ABOVE normal)

(Data courtesy Environment Canada)

First -10°C low in the fall

First -10
Although it seems like really cold weather arrived earlier than usual, the chart above shows a drop of -10°C occurred on the same date last year in Greater Moncton – 14 November.

Over the last seven years, the temperature has gotten that cold between mid-November and early December.

The thermometer will likely sink to -15°C sometime later next month.

The last time it dropped that low in Southeast New Brunswick was 10 March.

First Below 0°C Daytime High

First Below 0
Cold, wintry weather seems to have arrived earlier this season in New Brunswick and Greater Moncton is no exception.

As shown above, the first below freezing daytime high was recorded on 09 November which makes it the earliest date in recent years.

In addition, the thermometer has already dropped to -10°C this month which I will outline in an upcoming post.

(Data courtesy Environment Canada)

Windy start to November

Tree leaning on power lines, 01 Nov 2019 (NB Power)

Blustery but mild weather on Halloween continued throughout the first day of November in Southeast New Brunswick.

A cold front created strong winds with a sustained high of 64 km/h and a peak gust of 94 km/h at the Greater Moncton Airport.

Many trees and branches – already weakened by Dorian earlier this fall – came down onto power lines with NB Power dealing with almost 60,000 customers without electricity by late Friday.

Environment Canada warned of gusts up to 110 km/h in the Tantramar Marsh which forced the shutdown of the Trans Canada Highway between Amherst and Sackville until winds subsided.

The daytime high on 01 November was 19.4°C which was slightly warmer than the October maximum of 19.3°C.

The same storm system also hit Quebec where more than one million customers lost power, one man was killed by a falling tree and a canopy collapsed at a service station.