December starts icy in Ontario

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Highway 401 multi-vehicle crash near Kingston, ON, 01 Dec 2019 (OPP/Twitter)

A low pressure system delivered an icy mix of precipitation to Southern Ontario on Sunday with freezing rain and ice pellets turning highways and walkways into ice rinks.

Ontario Provincial Police say heavy snow shut down a section of Highway 401 near Kingston after a 30 to 40 vehicle pileup with more than a dozen injured and one fatality.

At least 500 road crashes were reported in the Greater Toronto Area and numerous flights were either cancelled or delayed at Pearson Airport.

Tens of thousands lost electricity after ice-laden tree branches fell onto power lines,

Several towns and cities were forced to cancel their Santa Claus Parades due to the extreme weather.

February 2019 – Cold & Stormy

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Aftermath of ice storm in NE Moncton, 08 Feb 2019 (Dearing)

February may be the shortest month but it certainly seemed a lot longer this year with bitterly cold and stormy conditions.

While January was snowy in Greater Moncton, all was quiet until the largest single snowfall of the year arrived at mid-month.

After several freeze-thaw cycles which produced icy conditions, the latter half became decidedly colder with bitter overnight lows and wind chills.

Strong winds and blowing snow created dangerous whiteout conditions during the last week wreaking havoc with transportation across New Brunswick.

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

Average HIGH -3.5°C

Average LOW -12.9°C

AVERAGE -8.3°C (about 0.7 degrees BELOW normal)

Extreme HIGH 7.2°C (05 Feb)

Extreme LOW -18.7°C (27 Feb)

RAINFALL 25.2 mm (just slightly BELOW normal)

SNOWFALL 58.8 cm (about 10 percent BELOW normal)

(Data courtesy Environment Canada)

Frigid air follows ice storm

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Aftermath of ice storm in NE Moncton, 08 Feb 2019 (Dearing)

Southern New Brunswick received several hours of freezing rain Friday morning – enough to make highways and other surfaces extremely icy.

Schools were cancelled, many businesses delayed opening until midday, pedestrians were forced to walk like penguins and even salt trucks slid off the road in Nova Scotia.

Ice coated my own steps to the point where I had to slide down them and crawl to my car which was a few metres away.

Greater Moncton only received about 10 mm of rain but the water eventually froze when a cold front followed the ice storm and temperatures plummeted by early Saturday.

Winds were also strong behind the system gusting at times up to 90 km/h.

Environment Canada is forecasting colder than normal weather but mostly clear skies over the next few days.

January 2019 – Wet and wild!

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Flooding at Plumweseep Covered Bridge near Sussex, 25 Jan 2019 (Sussex and Area Events/Facebook)

The beginning of 2019 proved to be wild and crazy in New Brunswick.

Precipitation was well above normal for January as storm after storm brought rain, freezing rain, snow and ice pellets with rapidly fluctuating temperatures.

Ice and snow often blocked storm drains which created flooding during heavy rain and when the thermometer plunged, it all froze.

The average monthly temperature was actually about one degree above normal although it didn’t seem like it given the roller coaster of highs and lows.

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

Average HIGH -2.5°C

Average LOW -13.7°C

AVERAGE -8.1°C (about 0.8 degrees ABOVE normal)

Extreme HIGH 10.5°C (24 Jan)

Extreme LOW -21.4°C (14 Jan)

RAINFALL 48.9 mm (above 60 percent ABOVE normal)

SNOWFALL 101.3 cm (about 30 percent ABOVE normal)

(Data courtesy Environment Canada)

Icy weekend in Central Canada

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A tree falls onto an SUV in an ice storm, East York, Toronto, ON, 15 April 2018 (R. Johnston/Toronto Star)

A slow moving low pressure system brought a wintry mix of snow, ice pellets, freezing rain, rain and strong winds to Southern Ontario and Southern Quebec over the weekend.

Icy conditions led to more than 1,600 highway crashes, numerous power outages from falling trees and downed lines, cancelled flights, transit delays and school closures.

Officials were forced to close the CN Tower due to falling ice from the structure.

Here are some totals from the spring storm as of 16 April at 2pm EDT:

  • Toronto Pearson Airport – 18 hours of ice pellets, 6 hours of freezing rain, 12 cm ice pellets.
  • Toronto Billy Bishop Airport – Peak wind gust of 96km/h
  • London – 14 hours of freezing rain with ice pellets
  • Windsor – 6 hours of freezing rain
  • Hamilton – 11 hours of ice pellets, 6 hours of freezing rain and ice pellets, 8 hours of freezing rain
  • Ottawa – 9 hours of freezing rain Sunday, 6 hours of freezing rain Monday, wind gusts to 70 km/h
  • Montreal – 9 hours of freezing rain Saturday, 4 hours of freezing rain Sunday, 3 hours freezing rain Monday
  • Quebec City – 5 hours of freezing rain Monday

(Data courtesy Environment Canada)

Canada’s Top 10 Weather Stories 2017

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Icy road on the Acadian Peninsula, 27 Jan 2017 (Twitter)

Canada had the eighth warmest period in 70 years of reporting weather in 2017, with temperatures averaging 1.4°C above normal.

From a list of 100 significant weather events across the country, Environment Canada picked the top 10 weather stories of the year:

1. Long and destructive summer wildfire season in British Columbia

2. Hot and dry summer in the West from Interior BC to Manitoba

3. Spring flooding in Quebec and Ontario

4. Cold and snowy winter in BC including Lower Mainland and Vancouver Island

5. More heavy rain and flooding in Southwestern Ontario during late August

6. Cool and wet summer in Central Canada

7. Heavy snow cripples Ontario and Quebec in mid-March

8. Record heat across Eastern Canada during September

9. Blizzards hit Newfoundland in March and April

10. Lengthy ice storm impacts New Brunswick in late January

January 2017 – Milder, less snowy but icy

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Ice buildup tilts power pole in Salisbury, NB, 25 Jan 2017 (Facebook/Salisbury Happenings)

The defining weather event of January 2017 in New Brunswick was the devastating ice storm which brought down power lines and poles leaving more than 133,000 electricity customers in the dark for days.

Freezing rain and ice pellets began falling in Greater Moncton and Southeast New Brunswick on 25 January and the storm eventually moved northeast to Miramichi and the Acadian Peninsula.

Emergency shelters were set up in churches and community centres and the military was called in to help after some households were still without power a week later.

While overnight lows became frigid during the early and middle parts of the month, daytime highs were generally much milder than usual.

JANUARY 2017 ALMANAC (at Greater Moncton Int’l Airport, 1981-2010)

Average HIGH  -1.2 C

Average LOW  -9.5 C

AVERAGE  -5.3 C (about 3.6 degrees ABOVE normal)

Extreme HIGH  8.5 C (12 January)

Extreme LOW  -23.2 C (10 January)

RAINFALL  65.7 mm (about 100 percent ABOVE normal)

SNOWFALL  48.9 cm (about 60 percent BELOW normal)

(Data courtesy Environment Canada)

Military joins ice storm relief effort

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Members of the military go door to door in Lameque, NB, 31 Jan 2017 (JTFA/Twitter)

Members of the Canadian Armed Forces have been dispatched to the Acadian Peninsula to help in the cleanup following the recent ice storm.

Thousands are still without electricity in northeastern New Brunswick almost a week after the devastating storm.

About 200 members of the military are doing various tasks including going door to door in communities to check on residents who may still be in their homes.

NB Power describes this “crisis” event as being worse than Hurricane Arthur in 2014.

Acadian Peninsula pounded by ice storm 

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Icy road on the Acadian Peninsula, 27 Jan 2017 (Twitter)

While Greater Moncton was hard hit by this week’s ice storm so was much of eastern New Brunswick including the Acadian Peninsula.

At least three communities have declared states of emergency – Tracadie-Sheila, Lameque and Shippagan – in what has been the most devastating ice storm in recent memory.

Two deaths have been reported and many others hospitalized for carbon monoxide poisoning related to an alternate source of indoor heating amid the massive power outages.

Power poles have snapped in half under the weight of ice-laden lines and downed trees and branches have shut down roads as the cleanup begins.

As of Saturday 28 January at 9am, NB Power reports about 46,000 customers are still without power and almost half are in the Acadian Peninsula.

NB ice storm cleanup continues

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Power pole and lines dangling in NW Moncton, 25 Jan 2017 (Facebook)


Some residents of New Brunswick have been without power for more than 24 hours after the worst ice storm in recent memory.

NB Power has about 250 crews on the ground and more from neighbouring Nova Scotia trying to restore electricity in what officials are calling a “huge weather event”.

By the end of today, the power utility believes 80 percent of customers in Greater Moncton and Sussex will be back on the grid while 60 percent in Shediac, Sackville and Miramichi should be restored.

Warming centres have opened in several communities where residents can seek shelter and charge their electronic devices.

Fortunately temperatures are not very cold and should not fall below freezing until early Friday.