Snow covered highway near Okehampton, Devon, UK, 19 March 2018 (Keene/PA)
A blast of cold Siberian air – dubbed “Beast from the East 2.0” – has invaded the United Kingdom bringing heavy snow and icy conditions for the second time this month.
More than 10 cm snow fell in southwest England where a 100 km stretch of the A30 Highway was shut down forcing travellers to seek emergency shelter at a school in Okehampton.
Devon and Cornwall Police warned drivers to stay off the highways until snowplows cleared them and hundreds of schools were closed today.
Forecasters are watching for another wintry cold snap which could affect the UK during Easter weekend.
A view of downtown Moncton from city hall, 23 Jan 2018 (City of Moncton)
Meteorological winter 2017/18 is now in the books since the three month period of December, January and February is over but we all know winter is not over yet in Southeast New Brunswick.
What a ride it has been in Greater Moncton with temperatures fluctuating wildly from very mild to extremely cold in just hours and in one case in mere minutes.
Snowfall was lighter compared to normal especially in February but the bigger concern were frequent periods of mixed, icy precipitation such as freezing rain and ice pellets.
WINTER ALMANAC 2017/18 at the Greater Moncton International Airport
Average HIGH -1.2 C (about 0.9 degrees ABOVE normal)
Average LOW -11.0 C (about 1 degree ABOVE normal)
AVERAGE -6.1 C (about 1 degree ABOVE normal)
Extreme HIGH 16.7 C (13 January – highest temperature ever recorded in January)
Extreme LOW -22.3 C (07 February)
RAINFALL 134.4 mm (about 20 percent ABOVE normal)
SNOWFALL 177.8 cm (about 15 percent BELOW normal)
(Data courtesy Environment Canada)
Icy conditions in a parking lot of NE Moncton, 11 Jan 2018 (Dearing)
A few days ago it was extremely cold in Greater Moncton and today it felt like spring.
The unofficial high was 14.3 C which beats the record of 11.2 C from 2014 according to Environment Canada.
But emergency measures officials are warning New Brunswickers to be prepared for possible flooding this weekend with 50 to 100 mm of rain possible and a flash freeze warning.
The ground is mostly frozen and has a reduced ability to absorb heavy rainfall.
The temperature is forecast to fall below freezing by late Saturday which will lead to icy conditions.
Snow is piled high in Boston, MA, USA, 05 Jan 2018 (AP)
Much of New Brunswick was under another extreme cold warning this weekend with a near record low of -22.3 C in Greater Moncton today (record is -23.3 C from 1945) and a bone-chilling wind chill near -36.
Environment Canada is calling for temperatures to moderate this week with a return to near normal values and even above freezing temperatures by Thursday.
The Northeast United States has also been under a cold snap and the thermometer bottomed out Sunday with record lows in a number of cities including Burlington, Vermont at -29 C and Portland, Maine at -24 C.
Boston, Massachusetts tied its record low of -19 C just days after digging out from 34 cm of snow during the ‘bomb cyclone’ and being inundated with icy floodwaters from the highest tides in a century.
Freezing rain (pink) sandwiched between snow (blue) to the north and rain (green) to the south, 23 Dec 2017 (Intellicast)
Streets and highways in Greater Moncton turned into skating rinks early this evening after freezing rain began falling through Central and Southeast New Brunswick.
Social media users mentioned how numerous vehicles were sliding off the roads in icy conditions and Magnetic Hill had become an ice sheet.
A low pressure system from the Northeastern United States brought mixed precipitation which eventually changed to rain.
Meantime, Environment Canada is monitoring a major snowstorm expected Christmas Day which could bring 20 cm snow to parts of New Brunswick.
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)
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.
Multi-vehicle pileup on interstate highway, Middletown, CT, USA, 07 Jan 2017 (Twitter)
A powerful winter storm moving up the U.S. Eastern Seaboard brought snowy and icy conditions from Alabama to Maine with more than 30 cm in parts of Virginia.
The low pressure system arrived in the Maritimes this evening with Nova Scotia expected to feel the brunt with up to 40 cm of snow expected.
A winter storm warning has been issued for Greater Moncton, Sussex, Saint John and Fundy National Park with 15-25 cm of snow and strong winds creating blowing snow by Sunday afternoon.
Northern New Brunswick is only expecting a few flurries to slight amounts of snow.
Ice on car windshield in NE Moncton, NB, 03 Dec 2014 (Dearing)
Freezing rain started falling in Greater Moncton by mid-morning during a changeover from snow to rain and that is when the trouble began.
Many drivers were caught off guard and some vehicles spun out, others simply slid off the road while transport trucks jack-knifed as icy conditions quickly developed.
Around midday, roads became so treacherous that RCMP closed portions of the Trans Canada Highway across Southeast New Brunswick.
Once temperatures rose and rain began falling, road conditions improved but police were still telling drivers to slow down and use caution.
Icy streets in downtown Moncton, NB, 20 Nov 2014 (Dearing)
Snow started falling in Greater Moncton yesterday morning and it stuck to the streets for the first time this autumn.
Less than 3 cm of snow fell but even with winter tires I found my vehicle sliding through less-travelled residential streets when trying to stop.
Although some melting occurred when the temperature climbed above freezing, it began snowing again in the evening as it got colder making for an icy morning commute.