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.

“Sprinter” continues

Snowflakes falling in NE Moncton, 14 May 2019 (Dearing)

Sprinter is a portmanteau of spring and winter which aptly describes the recent weather in Southeast New Brunswick.

Already mid-May, Environment Canada indicates Greater Moncton is running about three degrees below normal for the month.

Snow mixed in with rain last night and 0.6 cm was recorded at the airport.

Today’s daytime high was 5.3°C and the forecast shows little change for tomorrow.

The Victoria Day long weekend is expected to bring some sunshine but temperatures will remain below seasonable.

We finally hit 20°C!

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Hummingbird feeder in NE Moncton, 05 May 2019 (Dearing)

It took a little bit longer this spring compared to the last several years but Greater Moncton has finally reached 20°C.

The daytime high Sunday was 19.7°C which is about as close as you can get and while it was a cooler Monday, the temperature climbed to 21.1°C Tuesday.

Environment Canada is forecasting cooler, slightly below temperatures for the remainder of the week.

Annual dates reaching 20°C…

  • 2019 – 05 May
  • 2018 – 24 April
  • 2017 – 11 April
  • 2016 – 21 April
  • 2015 – 04 May
  • 2014 – 13 April

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.

April 2019 – Wet and chilly

Glorious sunset in NE Moncton, 22 Apr 2019 (Dearing)

Spring can be the most disappointing season of the year in New Brunswick and April 2019 was no exception with cloudy, cool and often wet conditions.

Surprisingly, Greater Moncton was close to normal in temperature but double the average amount of rain fell along with slightly more snow than usual.

Melting snow and heavy precipitation led to more disastrous flooding along the St. John River – almost as bad as last year’s historic water levels.

Only one day was fully below freezing and while nights weren’t that cold, daytime highs often struggled to reach the double digits.

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

Average HIGH  8.1°C

Average LOW  -1.0°C

AVERAGE  3.6°C (near normal)

Extreme HIGH  18.9°C (21 Apr)

Extreme LOW  -6.0°C (08 Apr)

RAINFALL  122.5 mm (about 100 percent ABOVE normal)

SNOWFALL  32.8 cm (slightly ABOVE normal)

(Data courtesy Environment Canada)

When will it reach 20°C?

First 20C
Temperatures are finally starting to climb into the double digits here in Southeast New Brunswick but when will it reach the 20°C benchmark?

Since 2014 (see above chart), the average date in Greater Moncton has ranged from mid-April to early May although in 2012 it was in late March.

In other words, it could reach 20°C very soon.

However, Environment Canada’s five-day forecast shows a cool down coming and a high no greater than 14°C expected.

Winter won’t let go!

Snow in west end Moncton, 09 April 2019 (Dearing)

Real winter weather in New Brunswick started early – back in mid-November – and the relentless season hangs on.

Greater Moncton recorded 7 cm of snow overnight with more than 10 cm in southwestern New Brunswick and western Nova Scotia.

The strong April sun had melted most it by the end of the day.

But another weak system tonight could bring another 4 cm.

Warmer weather is on the way with Environment Canada forecasting highs in the double digits by the weekend.

March 2019 – Warmer with less snow

Irishtown Nature Park, Moncton, 31 Mar 2019 (Dearing)

March seemed quite cold overall in Southeast New Brunswick especially given some frigid overnight lows during the first ten days of the month.

Daytime highs improved dramatically after that culminating with a maximum of 16.8°C on the 31st.

However, only two days recorded temperatures with both highs and lows above freezing.

The month was also very dry with less than half of the normal rainfall and snowfall received.

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

Average HIGH 2.4°C

Average LOW -7.4°C

AVERAGE -2.5°C (about 0.4 degrees ABOVE normal)

Extreme HIGH 16.8°C (31 Mar)

Extreme LOW -18.7°C (08 Mar)

RAINFALL 26.4 mm (about 50 percent BELOW normal)

SNOWFALL 35.6 cm (about 50 percent BELOW normal)

(Data courtesy Environment Canada)

Warmest since early November!

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The last day of March proved to be the warmest day in Greater Moncton since 03 November when the thermometer hit 17.1 C.

The daytime high reached a balmy 16.8 C and the New Brunswick hot spot was 19 C in Sussex which brought residents outdoors to walk, run, hike and play.

The maximum was actually close to the record for the date which was 17.5 C from 2006.

But a passing cold front will drop the temperature considerably overnight as rain changes to snow and Monday’s high struggles to reach slightly above freezing.