Historic blizzard buries Newfoundland

Aftermath of a historic blizzard, St. John’s, NL, 18 Jan 2020 (Bob Hallett/Twitter)

Eastern Newfoundland has been paralyzed by a blizzard which meteorologists are calling a weather bomb with historic snow and howling winds.

A state of emergency continued Saturday in St. John’s where a new all-time daily snowfall record was set on Friday.

The provincial capital received an astonishing 76.2 cm on 17 January which buried vehicles and left huge snowdrifts making even walking difficult.

The previous daily record was 68.4 cm from 05 April 1999 with records dating to 1942.

Other communities in the Avalon Peninsula recorded more than 90 cm of snow.

Wind gusts exceeded hurricane-force in many areas with a peak of 171 km/h at Fortune Bay.

The Newfoundland premier has asked the federal government to bring in the army for help in the cleanup effort.

Dorian likely to track near Nova Scotia

Dorian path

As slow-moving Hurricane Dorian continues churning parallel to the coastline of the Southeastern United States, the Canadian Hurricane Centre is getting a better sense of how the storm will impact Atlantic Canada this weekend.

Forecasters believe Dorian could be a Category 1 storm when it arrives on Saturday and follow a path to the east of mainland Nova Scotia.

Rainfall will be heavy to the west of the track which includes Southern New Brunswick with about 50 mm possible and perhaps as much as 100 mm for parts of Nova Scotia.

Hurricane-force winds with large waves and pounding surf are possible along the Atlantic coast near the track before the storm heads to Newfoundland on Sunday.

The U.S. National Hurricane Center says Dorian is now moving toward the coast of the Carolinas with strong winds, storm surges and up to 300 mm of rain.

November 2018 – Cold & snowy

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Snow settles in NE Moncton before changeover to rain, 10 Nov 2018 (Dearing)

About twice the normal amount of precipitation fell in Southeast New Brunswick during November which began as heavy rain and became heavy snow when it turned colder.

Two major rain events which included hurricane force winds were followed by the first snowfall of the season on the 10th and three more snow events to round out the month.

Greater Moncton had snow cover starting on the 14th and by the 30th, about 31 cm of snow was lying on the ground – almost eight times more than normal.

Temperatures were mild during the first third of the month and became decidedly frigid by the middle with lows near -15 C accompanied by bitterly cold wind chills.

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

Average HIGH 3.2°C

Average LOW -4.0°C

AVERAGE -0.4°C (about 2.3 degrees BELOW normal)

Extreme HIGH 17.1°C (03 Nov)

Extreme LOW -15.3°C (22 Nov)

RAINFALL 141.4 mm (about 50 percent ABOVE normal)

SNOWFALL 75.0 cm (about 4 times ABOVE normal)

(Data courtesy Environment Canada)

Powerful winds pummel Maritimes

Tree topples over following powerful winds, 04 Nov 2018 (NB Power)

An intense low pressure system moving up from the U.S. Eastern Seaboard brought heavy rain and strong winds to the Maritimes overnight.

The powerful hurricane-force gusts knocked out electricity to more than 100,000 customers in New Brunswick during the height of the storm.

Temperatures were very mild thanks to a southerly flow with highs exceeding 20°C in some areas including a new record of 21.7°C in Cheticamp.

Rainfall amounts (mm):

  • Kejimkujik, NS  93
  • Alma, NB  85
  • Greater Moncton  69
  • Fredericton  64
  • Saint John  60
  • Summerside, PEI  58
  • Halifax Stanfield  45

Wind gusts (km/h):

  • Bouctouche, NB  119
  • North Cape, PEI  117
  • Greater Moncton  110
  • North Mountain, NS  108
  • Grand Etang, NS  106
  • Fredericton  102
  • Saint John  100
  • Halifax Stanfield  100

(Data courtesy Environment Canada)

Greater Moncton spared worst of storm

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Powerful storm surge causes flooding along the waterfront in Halifax, NS, 05 Jan 2018 (Twitter)

The ‘bomb cyclone’ or ‘snow hurricane’ – featuring a dramatic drop in atmospheric pressure when warm and cold air collided – has left the Maritimes and spared Southeast New Brunswick from the worst of its fury.

While strong winds were a factor throughout the region, Greater Moncton received less snow compared to further north and west.

To the south and east, more rain fell along with hurricane-force winds (up to 200 km/h gusts in western Cape Breton) which created powerful storm surges causing flooding along the coast.

Here are some totals from Environment Canada and local estimates:

  • Greater Moncton Airport  14 cm snow, 10 mm rain, 91 km/h wind gust
  • Bathurst  58 cm snow, 80 km/h wind gust
  • Fredericton  30 cm snow, 78 km/h wind gust
  • Saint John  5 cm snow, 20 mm rain, 87 km/h wind gust
  • Halifax Stanfield Airport  40 mm rain, trace snow, 122 km/h wind gust

The storm may have departed but Arctic air has filtered back into the Maritimes which will mean a bitterly cold weekend.