Ice melting in Irishtown Reservoir, Moncton, 18 Mar 2017 (Dearing)
After a stormy, rollercoaster winter in Southeast New Brunswick, spring will be especially welcomed today at 7:28am ADT.
The vernal or spring equinox is when the sun’s direct rays move north of the equator from the southern to the northern hemisphere.
At this time, the length of day and night are about equal and days will continue to lengthen until the summer solstice in June.
But winter is not over yet as Environment Canada says a low pressure system will bring snow to Nova Scotia and the possibility of freezing rain for Greater Moncton.
Worker creates ice rink at Moncton City Hall Plaza, 18 January 2016 (City of Moncton)
An Arctic high is sitting over the Maritimes this week bringing mostly clear skies and cold temperatures.
Greater Moncton is not expected to climb above freezing this week with lows falling to -15 C.
Forecasters are also eyeing a storm system which could bring another round of snow to New Brunswick this weekend.
A strong El Nino and warmer than usual sea surface waters surrounding Atlantic Canada will lead to slightly warmer temperatures than usual this winter according to Accuweather.
The second half of the winter could turn snowy for New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island.
The milder conditions will favour more storms that initially bring snow but later change to ice or rain, especially across Nova Scotia.
Much of Newfoundland will experience a milder winter with fewer major storms.
Environment Canada (Canadian Ice Service), 21 March 2015
Spring is officially here but anyone living in New Brunswick knows that now is often when the battle lines are drawn.
Cold Arctic air can linger and along with an almost ice-covered Gulf of St. Lawrence creates a cooling affect which repeatedly fights it out with warm, moist air from the Gulf of Mexico.
Environment Canada has issued a snowfall warning for Greater Moncton as a low pressure system intensifies tonight over the Maritimes with as much as 15 cm expected by late Sunday.
The Canadian Ice Service map shows ice is breaking up in the Gulf of St. Lawrence around Anticosti Island, Lakes Ontario and Michigan are nearly ice-free but the Labrador coast and Hudson Bay are still solidly frozen.
Rainbow over Niagara Falls (Reuters)
Despite reports to the contrary, Niagara Falls has not frozen over – but the landscape around it certainly has.
A bitterly cold month with temperatures dipping close to -30 C have created an Arctic-like wonderland in the region.
As a result, almost everything near the falls has been coated in snow and ice including trees, boulders and guard rails.
Nashwaak River in Stanley, NB, 15 March 2013 (TWN)
The Nashwaak River is jammed with ice which has caused flooding in the community of Stanley, about 40 km north of Fredericton in central New Brunswick.
Homes, businesses and even the fire hall in the village of about 500 have been flooded although waters are now receeding.
At the peak of the flood, about one metre of water had covered the main road and the village centre.
My thermometer in NE Moncton reads 22 C, 12 Nov 2012 (Dearing photo)
Canada had its fifth-warmest year ever recorded in 2012 – unlike the neighbouring United States which had its warmest year ever.
However, summer 2012 was the warmest in this country and every region had warmer than normal weather.
Winters are seeing the most dramatic shifts – 2012 had Canada’s third-warmest winter since 1948.
“We define Canada as winter – we’re a land of ice and cold and snow. And yet the one season that’s shown the most dramatic warming is winter,” said Environment Canada’s David Phillips.
Donald Avenue Moncton, 12 Feb 2012 (Dearing photo)
Precipitation began early yesterday in Greater Moncton as rain (about 3 mm fell) before cold air rushed in, the temperature fell below freezing and the rain changed to ice briefly and then to snow (about 29 cm fell).
Winds were also a factor with gusts up to 60 km/h reported at the Greater Moncton Airport causing blowing and drifting snow.
Snow and ice made roads impassable in some areas with Nova Scotia’s Cobequid Pass closed for hours early Sunday.
Prince Edward Island was hardest hit with ice bringing down power lines and more than 40 cm of snow in Charlottetown.
Closer to the Atlantic coast, precipitation fell mostly as rain (with up to 50 mm reported in Halifax) which later turned to freezing rain and ice pellets making for icy road conditions.
Jones Lake Moncton, NB, 06 Jan 2012 (Facebook)
Although it has been a cold week in Greater Moncton with four nights dipping below -10 C and one night dropping to -15.8 C, ice conditions are still not safe for leisure activities such as skating.
The City of Moncton announced today that Jones Lake and Irishtown Pond still have thin ice.
According to city measurements, the ice is currently 6-8 inches (15-20 cm) thick and the ice needs to be between 10-12 inches (25-30 cm) thick to be deemed safe for public use.
UPDATE – Skating and hockey were deemed safe on Jones Lake as of 08 January and on the same day the City of Moncton opened the community skating rink in the plaza at Moncton City Hall.