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%

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

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)

Colorado Low impacts Maritimes

Snowy Highway 102 in Bedford, NS (NS Highway Cameras)

A Colorado Low tracked through the Maritimes today bringing mixed precipitation and strong winds.

The system brought the first major snowfall to Nova Scotia with 23 cm at Halifax Stanfield Airport and lesser amounts in the city but it caught drivers and plow operators off guard creating gridlock.

About 10 to 20 cm of snow also fell in central and southwestern New Brunswick where some schools closed with slippery road conditions.

Greater Moncton had a rain/snow mix this morning with 2 cm before it changed to rain.

As this system moves off to Newfoundland, brisk winds behind it will produce gusts up to 90 km/h with snow squalls expected along coastal areas.

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.

September 2019 – Dorian’s fury

Fallen leaves on a trail in Irishtown Nature Park, 23 Sept 2019 (Dearing)

Hurricane Dorian defined September for Southeast New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island and Nova Scotia.

Although downgraded before making landfall near Halifax, Dorian was still a very destructive storm.

Powerful winds toppled century-old trees onto power lines, a month’s worth of rain drenched the region in hours and a vicious storm surge tossed boats around like toys.

If it hadn’t been for Dorian, the month would have been quite dry in Greater Moncton.

September also lacked heat with slightly below normal temperatures thanks to chilly nights and cool daytime highs which often struggled to reach 20°C.

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

Average HIGH 18.9°C

Average LOW 7.3°C

AVERAGE 13.1°C (about 0.5 degrees BELOW normal)

Extreme HIGH 26.0°C (22 Sept)

Extreme LOW -0.4°C (19 Sept)

RAINFALL 187.5 mm (more than DOUBLE the normal amount)

(Data courtesy Environment Canada)

Storm cleanup continues

Dorian crane (Coastal Elite Wikipedia)

Construction crane collapses during Dorian in south end Halifax, NS, 10 Sept 2019 (Coastal Elite/Wikipedia)

No one expected Dorian to batter Southeast New Brunswick with such intensity.

Hurricane-force winds and a powerful storm surge along the Northumberland Strait wrecked wharves and fishing boats, tossed yachts like toys at a marina, flooded campgrounds and destroyed camper trailers.

For the first time in its history, Parlee Beach has been closed to the public after boardwalks and ramps were damaged posing safety risks for visitors.

The cleanup at Murray Beach may take weeks where dozens of fallen trees closed the campground, kitchen shelters were flattened and the beach itself was heavily eroded.

Torrential rain washed out sections of some roads including in Salisbury where a car plunged into a gaping hole.

Public works crews in Greater Moncton have been clearing away downed trees and branches which were responsible for most power outages.

Five days after Dorian, thousands are still without electricity in Nova Scotia where century old trees toppled onto homes and vehicles.

Many city parks remain closed in Halifax due to debris and efforts begin to dismantle a construction crane which collapsed during the strong winds.

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.

img_0660

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)

Hurricane Dorian landfall expected near Halifax

Dorian update

Emergency measures organizations in the Maritimes have been preparing for Hurricane Dorian which is approaching southwestern Nova Scotia with maximum winds of 148 km/h (as of 12pm ADT).

The Canadian Hurricane Centre expects Dorian will make landfall near Halifax on Saturday evening as a Category 1 hurricane.

Residents who live along the Atlantic coast, such as Peggys Cove for example, are being urged to evacuate and move inland.

Long lines were reported at stores and gas stations on Friday as residents scrambled to stock up on food and other supplies.

Hurricane warnings and tropical storm warnings have been issued for all of Nova Scotia including Cape Breton Island, Prince Edward Island and southeast New Brunswick.

Strong winds gusting up to 120 km/h are in the forecast, rainfall amounts could exceed 100 mm and large waves and storm surges are likely along coastlines.

As of 2pm ADT, about 75,000 customers were without electricity in Nova Scotia with some trees toppled over along the province’s south shore.

Greater Moncton and Southeast New Brunswick (warnings as of 2pm ADT)

  • Tropical Storm Warning – heavy rain, strong winds, storm surges along the coast
  • Wind Warning – gusts up to 90 km/h which could cause damage, uproot trees
  • Rainfall Warning – 50 to 100 mm rain (a month’s worth) could cause flooding

Erin drenches Maritimes

Post-tropical depression Erin interacted with an incoming low pressure system to produce lots of rain in the Maritimes.

Environment Canada says the heaviest amounts were recorded in northern Nova Scotia and the Annapolis Valley – Parrsboro and Greenwood each had more rain from this storm than all of July and August combined.

Some roads were damaged and even washed out by surface runoff or flooding.

Erin’s direct path along Nova Scotia’s south shore produced wind gusts up to 80 km/h.

The storm brought tropical air with a high of 23°C in Greater Moncton on Friday but a humidex of 32.

Rainfall totals (mm):

  • Parrsboro 162
  • Greenwood 127
  • Kentville 115
  • Summerside 67
  • Fredericton 56
  • Moncton 50
  • Halifax (city) 48

(Data courtesy Environment Canada)