Snow cover lingers across Canada

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We know it snows in Canada in April but an astonishing amount of snow remains on the ground for the middle of the month.

The only snow-free areas as of 18 April are mainland Nova Scotia, extreme SW Ontario, southern Manitoba, SW Saskatchewan, SE Alberta, coastal British Columbia and southern valleys of the interior.

Even much of the northeastern United States and the upper Great Lakes region is still covered in white.

In Greater Moncton, the snow has mostly disappeared except for man-made snowbanks but as much as 100 cm remains in northern New Brunswick.

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Bitter cold in the West

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Winter just won’t let go in Western Canada with Environment Canada noting the duration and intensity of the current cold snap hasn’t been felt since April 1970.

The polar vortex is to blame as the pool of Arctic air sinks south into the Prairies.

Daytime highs in southern Alberta are only climbing to -7 C with overnight lows in the -20’s C in Saskatchewan and -30’s C in Manitoba.

Forecasters say the bitter cold will hang around until the weekend.

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

Heat wave in the West

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Cooling off in the Elbow River, SW Calgary, AB, 27 July 2017 (Postmedia/G. Young)

Environment Canada issued heat warnings for most of Alberta along with parts of Saskatchewan and Manitoba this week in the wake of sizzling high temperatures.

The weather office says a daytime maximum of 30 C or higher could pose an elevated risk of heat-related illnesses and residents should avoid outdoor activities until cooler hours of the day.

Temperatures could climb to 33 C as far north as Thompson and almost 30 C in Churchill along the Hudson Bay coast.

Forecasters say the extreme heat will continue this weekend but a slight cool down is expected early next week.

Blizzard buries northern Manitoba

A blizzard buries front entrance of hotel in Churchill, MB, 09 March 2017 (Twitter)

Blizzards are not uncommon in late winter across the Prairie Provinces but the latest one to grip northern Manitoba lasted three days and dumped 60 cm snow in Churchill with winds up to 120 km/h creating enormous nine metre drifts.

Canada’s Polar Bear Capital declared a local state of emergency in an effort to gain resources from higher levels of government to help deal with the clean up.

Environment Canada says the blizzard in Churchill lasted 58 hours which was the third longest since 1953.

The fierce combination of snow and wind also stranded six people on a highway near Thompson for three days.

Snowtober in Saskatchewan!

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Snow in Saskatoon, SK, 05 Oct 2016 (Twitter)


A storm being dubbed Snowtober – Snow in October – has dropped as much as 40 cm of snow on parts of Saskatchewan and Manitoba.

Saskatoon received about 20 cm of snow which broke a 100-year-old record yesterday of 5.6 cm while Cypress Hills Park got 40 cm.

Forecasters say the snow cover may stick around for a few days with single digit highs in the long range outlook.

The normal daytime high in Saskatoon for early October is 14 C.

Early spring heat in western Prairies

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Map shows temperature contrast with a front on the Prairies, 02 Apr 2016 (Twitter)

Unusually mild Pacific air has drifted into the western Prairie Provinces breaking record highs in Alberta and Saskatchewan.

Some parts of southern Alberta reached 25 C yesterday and many cities either broke record highs or were close to breaking them.

Drumheller, AB set a new maximum of 24.4 C and Moose Jaw, SK reached a new record at 24.5 C.

The warm air didn’t reach Manitoba which is feeling the impact of the polar vortex which will sink over Eastern Canada this week.

Canada’s Top Ten of 2015

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Courtesy Environment Canada

1. Record Cold Winter in the East

For the second consecutive year, Canada’s top weather story was a long, cold, snowy winter from Ontario to the Maritimes.

2. Forests Blazing in the West

The wildfire season began early, ended late and was extremely active; 4,922 fires consumed an incredible 3.25 million hectares of woodland, four times the 25-year average.

3. Dry to Almost Disastrous in the West

Prairie farmers faced many challenges this year with killing frosts in May, spring and early summer dryness, and too many hailstorms.

4. Maritime Snowmaggedon

Maritimers endured brutal cold and had to dig out from record snowfalls. January, February and March were the coldest in 68 years.

5. Record Hot Dry Summer across B.C.

Persistently warm waters and a large high pressure area off the coast led to record-breaking warmth and even drought in British Columbia.

6. Stormy Summer on the Prairies

Severe summer weather events such as tornadoes, heavy rainfalls, strong winds and hailstorms numbered 307 across Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba compared to an average of 234.

7. Groundhog Day Storm

The nasty nor’easter brought strong winds, poor visibility and a mix of messy precipitation from Ontario to Atlantic Canada.

8. B.C.’s Big August Blow

After heat, drought and massive wildfires, a dramatic shift in late August brought leftover fuel from tropical storm Kilo which was known more for its fierce winds than relief rains.

9. Maritime Valentine Storm, A White Juan-a-be

A powerful nor’easter charged the Maritimes on Valentine’s Day, with up to 80 cm of snow. Maritimers compared this storm with the infamous White Juan blizzard 11 years earlier.

10. January in July for St. John’s

Eastern Newfoundland had a cold July with an average high of 15.8°C, a new low record dating to 1942 and 10 degrees cooler than last year! Total July rainfall of 181 mm was the second wettest on record.

(List courtesy Environment Canada)

Canada’s Top Ten Weather Stories 2014

George Street in Fredericton, NB, 05 July 2014 (Twitter)

George Street in Fredericton, NB, 05 July 2014 (Twitter)

Each year Environment Canada compiles a list of the ten most significant weather events across the country and the following is how 2014 shaped up:

1. Canada’s Long Cold Winter – While much of the country shivered under cold and snowy conditions, Southeast New Brunswick was actually rainier and slightly warmer than normal.

2. Summer Flooding in the Eastern Prairies – Too much rain too fast over too many days led to extensive flooding in Manitoba and Saskatchewan.

3. Wildfires in the West and Northwest – Exceptional warmth and dryness led to an abundance of wildfires in British Columbia and the Northwest Territories.

4. The Nightmare Before, During and After Christmas – A series of snow and ice storms in late 2013 and early 2014 left thousands without power for days from Ontario to Atlantic Canada.

5. Summer – Hot on Coasts, Cool in Centre – While British Columbia and Atlantic Canada enjoyed above normal temperatures, it never really got that hot or hazy in Ontario.

6. Hurricane Arthur – The first hurricane of the Atlantic season in early July packed a punch in the Maritimes with hundreds of trees toppling over on power lines leaving many in the dark for days.

7. Alberta Hailstorm – A series of thunderstorms in early August moved across Southern Alberta producing tennis to baseball-sized hailstones and covering the ground like snow.

8. Powerful December Storms on Coasts – Three storms in rapid succession battered the Pacific coast while an East Coast deluge delivered 150 mm of rain in Greater Moncton over two days and caused extensive flooding.

9. Ontario Tornadoes – The province recorded 19 this year with the worst twister in Angus near Barrie on 17 June which damaged more than 100 homes after peak wind gusts up to 220 km/h.

10. Snowtember in Alberta – The so-called snow event brought summer-like temperatures to a screeching halt on 07 September when upwards of 40 cm of snow fell on Calgary and region over the next three days.

Record scorcher in Manitoba

Courtesy The Weather Network

Courtesy The Weather Network

An unstable air mass brought excessive heat to Manitoba yesterday where it climbed to a record 35.4 C in Swan River – the hotspot in Canada.

Winnipeg was toasty at a record 33.3 C and even Thompson in the province’s far north was very warm at 30.2 C.

But the heat was short-lived when severe thunderstorms rolled across the province and into Ontario.

Temperatures ranged from the high 20’s in Northern Ontario to the low 20’s in Southern Ontario.