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)
The Petitcodiac River in Moncton looking toward Dieppe, 28 January 2018 (Dearing)
The first month of 2018 proved to be quite a roller coaster ride in Southeast New Brunswick.
Bitter cold to begin January was briefly erased by a fast-moving ‘bomb cyclone’ until another Arctic blast sunk the low to -22.3 C with a bitter wind chill of -36.
A record thaw saw the thermometer climb to 16.7 C in Greater Moncton – the highest ever in January – and a new all-time provincial high of 17.3 C in Sussex.
Precipitation was above average overall with near normal snowfall – 25 cm was the heaviest snow event on 30-31 – and about twice as much rainfall.
JANUARY 2018 ALMANAC (at Greater Moncton Int’l Airport, 1981-2010)
Average HIGH -2.0 C
Average LOW -12.6 C
AVERAGE -7.4 C (1.5 degrees ABOVE normal)
Extreme HIGH 16.7 C (13 Jan, new all-time monthly high)
Extreme LOW -22.3 C (07 Jan)
RAINFALL 53.3 mm (almost 50 percent ABOVE normal)
SNOWFALL 77.2 cm (NEAR normal)
(Data courtesy Environment Canada)
The track of the latest Nor’easter hugged the Atlantic coast of Nova Scotia which ultimately led to more snow in Southeast New Brunswick than forecasters first thought.
Environment Canada originally predicted 10 cm but more than double fell in Greater Moncton which ended up with the highest snow total in the Maritimes.
This was a classic Nor’easter with strong winds reaching a peak gust of 78 km/h creating blowing and drifting snow in open areas.
Here are some regional totals as of 8am ADT on 31 January:
- Greater Moncton Airport: 25 cm
- Halifax International Airport: 23 cm
- Greenwood: 20
- Sydney: 20
- Halifax (downtown): 19
- Charlottetown: 19
- Bathurst: 18
- CFB Gagetown: 14
- Yarmouth: 13
- Saint John Airport: 11
Flooding along the River Seine in Paris, France, 27 Jan 2018 (Reuters)
According to France’s meteorological agency, rain in December and January has led to the third wettest period ever in Paris which is why the River Seine and other tributaries in northern France have spilled their banks.
The river is expected to peak on Sunday at 6 metres – normally it measures 2 metres – slightly below the exceptional flooding in 2016 and the disastrous flood of 1910.
Some riverside restaurants have been submerged and roads and parks have been closed due to high water levels.
All boat traffic on the Seine has been halted including tourist cruises, some Metro stations are shuttered and the Louvre has shut down the museum’s lower level as a precaution.
Satellite image taken just before cold front sweeps through Maritimes, 13 Jan 2018 (earth.nullschool.net)
After a low pressure system brought heavy rain and strong winds gusting up to 74 km/h to Southeast New Brunswick early today, a cold front moved through the region plummeting temperatures below freezing.
The thermometer in Greater Moncton dropped an incredible 14 degrees in just one hour – from 15 C at 11am to 1 C at noon – and then fell below zero shortly afterward.
Today’s daytime high of 16.7 C has unofficially broken the 13 January record of 12.2 C from 1972.
Floodwaters in Moncton near Wheeler Blvd. and Crowley Farm Rd., 13 Jan 2018 (City of Moncton)
Flooding was reported in various parts of Greater Moncton and the province was forced to close some roads due to high water levels.
Before the precipitation ends later tonight, rain will change to freezing rain mixed with ice pellets and then finally to snow.
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.
Crowded Bondi Beach during heat wave in Sydney, NSW, Australia, 07 Jan 2018 (European Pressphoto Agency)
A recent heat wave in Australia was so severe that asphalt melted on some highways, firefighters had to battle wildfires and bats fell out of trees after literally boiling to death.
The daytime high reached a scorching 47.3 C in a western suburb of Sydney on Sunday which was the hottest since 1939 and while Melbourne was cooler, the thermometer still climbed to 40 C.
Beaches were so crowded in Sydney, there was virtually no room to move around.
While it is the height of summer Down Under, the normal January high in the New South Wales capital city is 27 C with an overnight low of 20 C.
Several weather outlets are forecasting a major winter storm will hit the Maritimes bringing heavy snow and strong winds to New Brunswick just days into 2018.
Blizzard conditions are possible along with large waves and high water levels along the coast.
Nova Scotia may get more rain along the Atlantic coast while a rain/snow mix is likely inland.
Until the storm arrives, Arctic air remains firmly in place with several cities in Ontario setting new record lows on New Year’s Day including -22.6 C at Toronto Pearson Airport and -28.6 C at Ottawa Macdonald-Cartier Airport.
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
Most Canadians know winter, astronomically speaking, begins around 21 December but we know the season actually gets underway weeks before then.
Meteorologists like to package winter into neat three month blocks which is why 01 December marks the start of meteorological winter and 28 February marks the end.
In its three month outlook, Environment Canada expects most of New Brunswick will have above normal temperatures and near normal precipitation.
A large swath of the Arctic will likely be warmer than usual while Ontario and the southern Prairies will have higher amounts of rain and snow compared to normal.