Historic blizzard buries Newfoundland

Aftermath of a historic blizzard, St. John’s, NL, 18 Jan 2020 (Bob Hallett/Twitter)

Eastern Newfoundland has been paralyzed by a blizzard which meteorologists are calling a weather bomb with historic snow and howling winds.

A state of emergency continued Saturday in St. John’s where a new all-time daily snowfall record was set on Friday.

The provincial capital received an astonishing 76.2 cm on 17 January which buried vehicles and left huge snowdrifts making even walking difficult.

The previous daily record was 68.4 cm from 05 April 1999 with records dating to 1942.

Other communities in the Avalon Peninsula recorded more than 90 cm of snow.

Wind gusts exceeded hurricane-force in many areas with a peak of 171 km/h at Fortune Bay.

The Newfoundland premier has asked the federal government to bring in the army for help in the cleanup effort.

White Christmas

Light snow falls on Boxing Day, Truro, NS, 26 Dec 2019 (Dearing)

Despite a relatively snow-free December, Greater Moncton still managed to have a White Christmas this year after all – but just barely.

Environment Canada reports 2 cm of snow on the ground at the airport Christmas morning which fits its official definition.

Other parts of southern New Brunswick and Nova Scotia did not have snow including in Truro where I spent the holiday.

Meteorologists say odds of a White Christmas have decreased in recent years.

Here are the odds for select Canadian cities (1994-2017 versus 1955-2017):

  • Moncton – 65% / 73%
  • Fredericton – 50% / 76%
  • Saint John – 45% / 60%
  • Charlottetown – 55% / 78%
  • Halifax – 40% / 54%
  • Montreal – 70% / 76%
  • Toronto – 45% / 52%
  • Winnipeg – 100% / 98%
  • Calgary – 60% / 59%
  • Vancouver – 10% / 10%

Heavy rain may cause flooding

Snow settles in Moncton, 05 Dec 2019 (Dearing)

The latest low pressure to invade the Maritimes is bringing heavy rain and strong winds to Southern New Brunswick and Northern Nova Scotia.

Environment Canada has issued a rainfall warning with up to 70 mm possible especially along the Fundy coast and strong winds gusting up to 90 km/h.

Meteorologists say that much rain is a lot for frozen ground to absorb and along with an existing snowpack could create localized flooding.

After a few days with below freezing temperatures, the small amount of snow in Greater Moncton has been taken away by the rain and a mild high of 12°C.

The forecast is calling for much colder air behind this system with some snow likely on Wednesday.

Early blast of Arctic air

The jet stream took a big dip south this week allowing Arctic air to envelop the eastern United States and eastern Canada.

Temperatures dropped to freezing all the way to the Gulf of Mexico.

Meteorologists say the early icy blast was more typical of January than mid-November.

New record lows were set in Ontario where CFB Borden fell to -24°C and Toronto Pearson Airport dropped to -14°C.

The coldest low of the season was set in Greater Moncton today at -10°C and just a couple degrees shy of the record.

The Southeast New Brunswick forecast calls for a roller coaster ride this weekend followed by more seasonable temperatures next week.

Baked Alaska!

Hot weather is rare for Anchorage which has reached an all-time high of 32°C (90°F) but in Alaska’s interior, heat is not unknown.

Fairbanks has previously topped out at 37°C (99°F) and the all-time Alaska state high was 38°C (100°F) in Fort Yukon from 1915.

Meteorologists say a strong high pressure system has been sitting stationary over the state creating the heat wave.

Smoke from wildfires has drifted into many communities creating air quality problems.

Neighbouring Yukon has also been affected by smoke with Whitehorse and Dawson City recording above normal temperatures in the high 20’s since late June.

Freak hailstorm in western Mexico

Guadalajara was inundated with almost one metre of hail when a freak hailstorm moved through parts of Jalisco state on Sunday.

The governor posted photos on social media of buried vehicles, damaged homes and city workers alongside the Mexican Army shoveling the hail – even bulldozing it.

No reports of injuries or fatalities.

At 1,600 metres (5,000 feet) above sea level, meteorologists say high elevation played a role as one thunderstorm moved out and another one developed rapidly behind it bringing a huge quantity of small hailstones.

Europe sizzles in heatwave

Europe heatwave

A rare June heatwave has blasted Europe with record breaking warm temperatures in numerous countries.

France recorded its highest temperature ever on Friday near the southern city of Montpellier at 45.9°C.

The hottest day of the year in the United Kingdom was Saturday when London Heathrow reached 34°C.

Meteorologists say hot air from the Sahara Desert is responsible for the extreme heat which has claimed several lives, shut down schools and led to water restrictions.

Germany, Poland and the Czech Republic have all recorded their highest June temperatures ever.

Heat in the Arctic!

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Meteorologists have said a temperature anomaly of more than 2 C is considered significant – but how about 14.4 C above normal for March 2019!

Inuvik, Northwest Territories – above the Arctic Circle – was the hotspot in Canada’s far north last month.

U.S. Northeast hit by early season snow

Snow falling in Washington, DC, USA, 15 Nov 2018 (Instagram)

A significant November snowstorm took meteorologists by surprise yesterday when more snow fell and for longer than originally forecast.

A Nor’easter moved up the U.S. Eastern Seaboard dropping 16 cm of snow on New York City which created commuter chaos with train delays and dozens of drivers trapped in their vehicles on treacherous highways.

While Washington, DC only picked up about 4 cm – the biggest November snowfall in three decades – it was to take road crews by surprise and some schools were closed.

The precipitation also included ice pellets and freezing rain with an eventual changeover to rain.

The storm also brought between 10 and 20 cm of snow across Southern Ontario with Toronto Pearson Airport picking up 11 cm.

The same system is now impacting the Maritimes.

Hurricane remnants hit Portugal & Spain

Damage from Leslie in Lisbon, Portugal, 14 Oct 2018 (Reuters)

After swirling in the mid-Atlantic Ocean for weeks, Leslie hit the northwest coast of Portugal on Sunday delivering heavy rain and wind gusts up to 176 km/h.

The tropical storm uprooted trees, damaged cars and homes and local flooding was reported.

As Leslie exited Portugal and moved across northern Spain, the remnants of Michael were being felt in the same area of the Iberian Peninsula.

Meteorologists say this is the first time in recorded weather history that the remnants of two hurricanes have impacted Spain at the same time.