Winter 2019-20 in Review

Data courtesy Environment Canada

Meteorological winter in Greater Moncton covering the months of December, January and February proved to be almost two degrees above normal compared to the 30-year average.

The warmest temperatures were recorded in December while frigid weather in February saw the coldest low in five years.

Precipitation was about 25 percent below normal with little snow in December and barely any rain in February.

Winter 2018-19 in Review

Winter 18-19
Wintry weather will undoubtedly continue in New Brunswick for the next few weeks but meteorological winter (December, January and February) is officially over.

In Greater Moncton, winter proved to be slightly colder than normal (0.3 degrees cooler) although the extreme low was not as cold as previous years.

Precipitation was about average for the season with slightly above normal rainfall and slightly below normal snowfall.

Winter 2017/18 – Riding a Rollercoaster!


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)


Meteorological winter begins

EC winter

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.

Meteorological winter begins


NE Moncton after first major snowfall of season, 30 Nov 2016 (Dearing)

It’s beginning to look like winter in Greater Moncton so it’s timely 01 December marks the start of meteorological winter which also includes January and February.

The Old Farmers Almanac and The Weather Network have suggested much of the country including Atlantic Canada can expect a “classic Canadian winter.”

Let’s look back at the last three meteorological winters to see how they compare:

2015-16 in Greater Moncton

December 2015, average temperature -0.4°C (4.4°C ABOVE normal), snowfall 96.4 cm, rainfall 56.3 mm

January 2016, average temperature -6.1°C (2.8°C ABOVE normal), snowfall 53.6 cm, rainfall 23.8 mm

February 2016, average temperature -4.4°C (3.4°C ABOVE normal), snowfall 79.6 cm, rainfall 33.3 mm

2014-2015 in Greater Moncton

December 2014, average temperature -2.1°C (2.7°C ABOVE normal), snowfall  10.9 cm, rainfall  246.6 mm (new December record)

January 2015, average temperature -10.2°C (1.3°C BELOW normal), snowfall 153.0 cm, rainfall 33.7 mm

February 2015, average temperature -13.6°C (6°C BELOW normal), snowfall 168.6 cm, rainfall 3.2 mm

2013-2014 in Greater Moncton

December 2013, average temperature -7.4°C (2.6°C BELOW normal), snowfall 130.8 cm, rainfall 62.6 mm

January 2014, average temperature -7.3°C (1.6°C ABOVE normal), snowfall  32.8 cm, rainfall 83.6 mm

February 2014, average temperature -7.1°C (0.5°C ABOVE normal),  snowfall  92.7 cm, rainfall 39.4 mm

Warmest winter ever in Greater Moncton

Jones Lake

Snow getting scarce, Jones Lake, Moncton, NB, 28 January 2016 (Dearing)

Without a doubt, December was much warmer than normal in Greater Moncton… but so was January and so was February.

Environment Canada has confirmed the three month period of meteorological winter is the warmest ever in the Moncton area since records were first kept in 1881.

Only 1958 comes even close to an average temperature of -3.7 C with the 30-year normal being -7.1 C and forecasters say a difference of 3.4 degrees is quite significant.

Precipitation was near normal with more rain and freezing rain than snow which was a far cry from the mounds of snow that piled up last winter.

A strong El Nino pattern and a lack of sea ice in the nearby Northumberland Strait and the Gulf of St. Lawrence are major factors in the record mild winter.

Snowy winter throughout the Maritimes

Typical home hidden by huge snowbanks in NW Moncton, 28 Feb 2015 (Clow)

Typical home hidden by huge snowbanks in NW Moncton, 28 Feb 2015 (Clow)

Snowfall totals have been mighty impressive this winter throughout the Maritime Provinces.

With meteorological winter now over (December, January and February), here is a rundown of the amounts…

Moncton 333 cm

Saint John 328 cm

Charlottetown 326 cm

Fredericton 320 cm

Halifax 193 cm

Moncton meteorological winter 2013-14

Blizzard conditions in downtown Moncton, 22 Jan 2013 (Dearing)

Blizzard conditions in downtown Moncton, 22 Jan 2013 (Dearing)

With meteorological winter now behind us – December, January and February – it’s time to assess how the period compares to an average season.

Despite complaints from snow haters that it was the snowiest winter in ages, in fact snowfall was only 20 percent above normal with much more – 40 percent – rain than usual.

We all know it was cold – except for a week-long January thaw – but it was only 0.2 degrees Celsius below the long term average which is barely noticeable.

METEOROLOGICAL WINTER ’13-’14 (at Greater Moncton International Airport)

Daily Average  -7.3°C (0.2 degrees BELOW the 30-year average 1981-2010)

Extreme HIGH  11.2°C (12 Jan)

Extreme LOW  -28.1°C (02 Jan)

Snowfall  256.3 cm (normal 205.2 cm; 20 percent ABOVE average)

Rainfall  185.6 mm (normal 111.4 mm; 40 percent ABOVE average)

Meteorological winter nears end

tmp_SC20140226-173424-11252455355Winter is coming to an end in the Northern Hemisphere – meteorological winter that is, which includes the months of December, January and February.

The three month period has proven to be quite a rollercoaster ride in Southeast New Brunswick.

A series of wintry weather systems including a lengthy ice storm in late December followed by a prolonged January thaw and a very snowy February has led to an interesting season so far.

Met winter officially ends

Halls Creek in Moncton, 23 Feb 2012 (TWN)

Meteorological winter (three month period of December, January and February) is now officially over and some interesting comparisons can be found between the last met winter and the most recent one for Greater Moncton.

Most remarkable is how much less snow fell this season (the vast majority falling in February).

The average temperature was also slightly milder this winter over last.

Astronomical winter still has a few more weeks left – spring is set to arrive on 20 March at 2:14 AM (Atlantic Time).

MET WINTER 2011-12 (Dec, Jan, Feb)

Average temperature -5.0 C

Snowfall  167.6 cm

Rainfall  131.1 mm


MET WINTER 2010-11 (Dec, Jan, Feb)

Average temperature -5.6 C

Snowfall  314.1 cm

Rainfall  170.4 mm


(Stats courtesy Environment Canada)