River Watch ends

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Flooding along the St. John River in Maugerville, 23 April 2019 (5th Canadian Division/Facebook)

The annual River Watch in New Brunswick has ended for the 2020 season.

The program was launched in early March and monitors water levels on rivers in the spring with emergency officials providing regular updates on the potential for flooding.

After historic flooding along the St. John River in both 2018 and 2019, thankfully this spring was much quieter with no major events recorded.

It’s a blessing in disguise since the province has been coping with the coronavirus pandemic with a state of emergency in place since 19 March.

April 2020 – Where’s spring?

First dandelions of spring in Moncton, 30 Apr 2020 (Dearing)

Signs of spring were extremely rare in April with frigid overnight lows in Greater Moncton making it feel like a continuation of March.

Any warmth came in short spurts with only 11 days above 10°C and some nights sank as low as -5°C right up to the end of the month.

Like the previous month, April was also quite dry with both rainfall and snowfall amounts well below average.

APRIL 2020 ALMANAC (at Greater Moncton Int’l Airport, 1981-2010)

Average HIGH 8.3°C

Average LOW -2.4°C

AVERAGE 3.0°C (about 0.5 degrees BELOW normal)

Extreme HIGH 15.7°C (30 Apr)

Extreme LOW -6.3°C (09 Apr)

RAINFALL 19.2 mm (about 70 percent BELOW normal)

SNOWFALL 19.8 cm (about 35 percent BELOW normal)

(Data courtesy Environment Canada)

A spring snowstorm

Snowy Grant Street in NE Moncton, 10 Apr 2020 (Dearing)

A low pressure system moved up the Bay of Fundy and brought heavy, wet snow to most of New Brunswick with rain as well in some areas.

About 5-10 cm snow fell across the southern part of the province, 20 cm in central areas and up to 30 cm in the north creating messy road conditions.

The mid-April snow was not unusual but was still the heaviest snowfall since early March.

Snow amounts by volunteers (in cm):

  • Miramichi 20
  • Fredericton 13
  • Greater Moncton 13
  • St. Andrews 6
  • Dorchester 6

Return to winter

A strong low pressure system is expected to bring a lot of snow, some rain and wind to Southeast New Brunswick starting Thursday night.

About 15 cm could fall in Greater Moncton prompting Environment Canada to issue a snowfall warning.

Strong winds will coincide with high tide along the Northumberland Strait creating storm surge.

This could be the heaviest snowfall event since 01 March when 14 cm fell.

March 2020 – Warm and dry

Irishtown Reservoir, Moncton, 15 March 2020 (Dearing)

Much less rain and snow fell in Greater Moncton during March even though precipitation was recorded on 23 days.

Only 10 mm of rain and 32 cm of snow fell with the normals being 49 mm and 65 cm respectively.

Warm daytime highs were scarce – the thermometer failed to reach 10°C – but temperatures were actually slightly above average overall.

The coldest weather occurred during the first few days of spring with a minimum of -13.8°C on 23 March.

MARCH 2020 ALMANAC (at Greater Moncton Int’l Airport, 1981-2010)

Average HIGH 2.4°C

Average LOW -6.3°C

AVERAGE -2.0°C (about 0.9 degrees ABOVE normal)

Extreme HIGH 9.4°C (28 Mar)

Extreme LOW -13.8°C (23 Mar)

RAINFALL 10.7 mm (about 80 percent BELOW normal)

SNOWFALL 34.6 cm (about 50 percent BELOW normal)

(Data courtesy Environment Canada)

Warm spring day

Finally some warmth!

Southeast New Brunswick is trending slightly above normal for March but real heat has been absent until this weekend.

Greater Moncton reached 9.4°C which was a monthly high.

While Prince Edward Island and Cape Breton Island were cooler, some parts of the Maritimes got into the double digits.

Liverpool, Nova Scotia hit 13.9°C while Saint John recorded 10.5°C.

Remember the Great March Heat Wave?

Parlee Beach, NB, 22 March 2012

Early spring is not known as being particularly warm in New Brunswick, but the early days of spring in March 2012 were a rare exception.

For three consecutive days, the thermometer soared into the 20’s Celsius in Southeast New Brunswick breaking record highs and culminating in an unbelievable all-time monthly maximum of 26.1°C on 22 March 2012.

Beachgoers flocked to the coast to take advantage of the summer-like conditions and some at Parlee Beach even took a dip in the Northumberland Strait despite ice patches still floating in the water.

Although temperatures have been near normal so far this month, Greater Moncton has yet to crack 10°C.

Ice cover shrinking in Gulf of St. Lawrence

A satellite image taken on 18 March captures the ice coverage in the Gulf of St. Lawrence.

While ice is shrinking in the Northumberland Strait, the central Gulf still has a fair amount of coverage especially north of Prince Edward Island and west of Cape Breton Island.

Spring arrives

Courtesy Accuweather.com

The spring or vernal equinox arrived at 12:50am ADT in New Brunswick which marks the moment when the Sun is directly above the equator as it continues to move northward.

Days are now about equal in length to nights and the amount of daylight will continue to increase until the first day of summer in June.

Spring may be here officially but consistent warmth is usually delayed in the Maritimes thanks to the surrounding cold ocean waters.

So far this March in Greater Moncton, temperatures have been close to normal overall but precipitation has been well below average.

Warm front brings record highs

Radar image at 9pm ADT, 10 March 2020 (Microsoft)

A slow moving warm front has brought precipitation and varying temperatures to the Maritimes.

About 15 cm of snow was expected in the north, while freezing rain and ice pellets fell in central areas and rain in the south.

Temperatures also ranged from well below freezing in northwestern New Brunswick to as high as 15°C in southwestern Nova Scotia.

Meantime, the thermometer has been rising in Greater Moncton over the past 24 hours with snow, ice pellets, freezing rain and now rain.

Record highs from 09 March (courtesy Environment Canada):

  • Kejumkujik National Park, 14.9°C beats old record 14.3°C from 2002.
  • Grand Manan Island, 10.4°C beats old record 9.9°C from 2012.