Snow covers a vehicle in Aviemore, Scotland, UK, 25 April 2017 (BBC Weather)
Arctic air has enveloped the United Kingdom with heavy snow in Scotland and northern England and near freezing temperatures as far south as London.
Forecasters say snow in late April is not uncommon and actually fell over parts of the country around the same time last year.
Temperatures struggled to reach 10 C today after a hard frost early this morning.
This cold snap is a far cry from record breaking heat earlier this month when the thermometer climbed to 26 C in southern England and a mild March which was the fifth warmest ever for the U.K.
Cherry blossoms in Vancouver,BC,15 April 2017 (CityofVancouver/Twitter)
Canada’s so-called Left Coast may have the mildest winters in the country but along with that comes a lot of cloudy skies and precipitation mostly falling as rain.
After a colder and snowier than usual winter, Vancouver experienced a gloomy March with the least amount of sunshine since records began in 1951 and it rained 28 out of 31 days.
So it’s no wonder, the sight of beautiful pink and white cherry blossoms is causing traffic troubles with so many drivers and pedestrians stopping to admire them.
The peak bloom is a bit later than normal this year thanks to dismal weather causing the Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival to reschedule some events.
Walking trail in Irishtown Nature Park, Moncton, 18 March 2017 (Dearing)
Winter just wouldn’t let go of its grip on Southeast New Brunswick during March.
Overnight lows were extremely cold especially during the first half of the month.
Daytime highs were often very chilly and barely climbed above freezing even during the last week.
Oddly enough, the maximum temperature in February was actually warmer than all of March.
Precipitation was below normal overall but snow did fall on 22 of 31 days.
MARCH 2017 ALMANAC (at Greater Moncton Int’l Airport, 1981-2010)
Average HIGH 0.3 C
Average LOW -9.0 C
AVERAGE -4.4 C (about 1.5 degrees BELOW normal)
Extreme HIGH 9.7 C (01 March)
Extreme LOW -20.1 C (11 March)
RAINFALL 17.6 mm (about 65 percent BELOW normal)
SNOWFALL 53.1 cm (about 20 percent BELOW normal)
(courtesy Environment Canada)
Still looks like winter in NE Moncton, 31 March 2017 (Dearing)
The temperature was warmer in the far north cities of Whitehorse and Yellowknife than it was in Greater Moncton.
The thermometer barely climbed above freezing today but at least the sun made an appearance after a five day absence.
Lots of cloud and frequent periods of snow have made the end of March look more like the beginning of January.
Environment Canada is not forecasting spring-like weather in the near future with another possible snowstorm by the middle of next week.
Ogilvie Brook, Irishtown Nature Park, Moncton, 18 March 2017 (Dearing)
The first week of spring has felt more like the dead of winter in Southeast New Brunswick.
Greater Moncton may have missed the brunt of two storms this week but extreme cold settled in behind them with a frigid -13.7 C on 23 March.
Half of the days so far this March have recorded well below freezing average temperatures.
Environment Canada is forecasting more chilly weather for the upcoming final week with even a chance of accumulating snow.
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.
Cherry blossoms in bloom, Washington, DC, USA, 02 March 2017 (Instagram)
During January and February, the city of Chicago only had a few centimetres of snow with no measurable amount on the ground for the first time in 146 years.
Record highs were broken from New England to Texas where temperatures recently soared into the high 20’s C causing trees and flowers to bloom ahead of schedule.
The cherry blossoms in Washington, DC could reach their peak on 14 March which would be the earliest.since officials began keeping track in 1921.
Climatologists say much of the central and eastern United States had a very warm winter with February 2017 being the second warmest in 123 years of records.
UPDATE – The cherry blossoms in Washington, DC actually reached their peak on 25 March after being delayed by a cold snap and snow.
A great deal of snow has melted in Southeast New Brunswick recently thanks to some spring-like temperatures.
But what does the upcoming spring season really have in store for us?
In its forecast for March, April and May, the Weather Network says we can expect slightly above normal temperatures overall.
Meteorologist Michael Carter says spring is a transitional season which means a back and forth between cold and warm.
Carter says precipitation is expected to be near normal for our region.
“We certainly are not out of the woods yet when it comes to snowfall. We’ll still have a few opportunities for impactful snowfall as we move into March and early April we can certainly see that continuing,” he notes.
Carter says we expect spring rain to really ramp up in late April and May but the amounts should not be excessive.
Tree in bud at Riverfront Park, Moncton, 17 April 2013 (Dearing File)
For the first time in 2016, the thermometer has climbed to 20°C or higher in Greater Moncton.
Environment Canada reports we reached 21.7°C yesterday and 20.5°C today.
The last time it was at least 20°C was on 12 October 2015.
Last spring, Greater Moncton surpassed the mark on 04 May and it was earlier in 2014 when it happened on 15 April.
In 2012, the high soared to a record 26.1°C on 22 March which was not only early to be that warm but it also became an all-time maximum for the month.
Patches of snow remain in NE Moncton, 31 March 2016 (Dearing)
March in Greater Moncton would normally see progressively warmer temperatures as winter departs and spring begins.
But the last half of the month actually had more snow and was almost as cold as the first half.
The extreme high temperature during March was 10.7 C but the February maximum was actually warmer at 13.9 C.
Snowfall was below normal while rainfall was close to average.
MARCH 2016 ALMANAC (at the Greater Moncton International Airport)
Average HIGH 1.9 C
Average LOW -7.6 C
AVERAGE -2.9 C (NORMAL based on the 30-year average 1981-2010)
Extreme HIGH 10.7 C (31 Mar)
Extreme LOW -16.1 C (04 Mar)
RAINFALL 47.0 mm (Slightly BELOW normal)
SNOWFALL 47.4 cm (About 30 percent BELOW normal)
(Data courtesy Environment Canada)