Canada’s Top 10 Weather Stories 2019

img_0659

Hurricane Dorian damage in Halifax’s west end, 08 Sept 2019 (NS Power)

Canada is a land of weather extremes and this year has been no exception with frigid winter cold and stifling summer heat which brought wildfires, flooding, snowstorms and hurricanes.

Environment Canada has compiled its annual list for 2019:

  1. Another record Ottawa River flood
  2. Destructive hurricane season especially Dorian
  3. Snowy Prairie autumn
  4. Bitterly cold February nationwide
  5. Record heat continues in the Arctic
  6. Too dry early, too wet later on Prairies
  7. Blustery Halloween in the East
  8. Spring never arrives in Eastern Canada
  9. More flooding along the St. John River
  10. Fewer wildfires but more hectares burned

Here are some weather highlights for Atlantic Canada:

  • New Year’s Day takes Newfoundland by storm
  • January Maritime storm included every type of weather
  • Winter storm forces Moncton residents outside
  • February storm causes road closures in Labrador
  • Pre-Valentine’s storm across the Maritimes
  • March starts out stormy in Nova Scotia
  • Newfoundland’s icebergs please tourists and locals
  • October “weather bomb” drops lots of rain

Wind & rain cause damage

Roof damage at apartment building, Heather Way, 10 Dec 2019 (City of Saint John)

Strong winds and heavy rain from a strong low pressure system caused damage to properties and localized flooding in New Brunswick and Nova Scotia.

The Saint John area was hard hit with wind gusts up to 95 km/h which led to power outages and roof damage to at least two apartment buildings.

No one was hurt but all tenants were evacuated and assisted by the Red Cross.

Many roads were closed due to flooding or fallen trees and there were voluntary evacuations in Sussex in low lying areas.

The storm also brought mild, record-breaking temperatures with highs of 11°C in Edmundston and 12°C in Bathurst and Woodstock.

Greater Moncton hit 13.7°C but the record for 10 December was 15°C from 1957.

Rainfall totals (in mm) as of 8am on 10 December 2019:

  • Mechanic Settlement, NB  94 mm
  • Saint John Airport  63 mm
  • Kejimkujik NP, NS  53 mm
  • Dorchester, NB  50 mm
  • Yarmouth, NS  43 mm
  • Halifax (city)  48 mm
  • Fredericton  33 mm
  • Greater Moncton 26 mm

Peak wind gusts (km/h):

  • Cheticamp area, NS  135
  • Sydney  106
  • Halifax (Shearwater)  102
  • Saint John Airport  95
  • Lunenburg  92
  • Grand Manan, NB  89

(Data courtesy Environment Canada)

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.

Messy mix falls over Maritimes

Icy slush in NE Moncton, 03 Dec 2019 (Dearing)

After exiting Ontario, a Colorado Low moved into the Maritimes bringing freezing rain and rain to Nova Scotia along with mixed precipitation to Southeast New Brunswick.

The system shut down schools in many parts of the region on Tuesday with icy roads being a major factor.

Greater Moncton had several hours of freezing rain and ice pellets mixing with snow (3 cm) and later rain (15 mm) as the temperature climbed slightly above freezing.

Northern and western New Brunswick received mostly snow with 10 cm in Fredericton, 18 cm in Miramichi and 27 cm in Woodstock.

Colorado Low impacts Maritimes

Snowy Highway 102 in Bedford, NS (NS Highway Cameras)

A Colorado Low tracked through the Maritimes today bringing mixed precipitation and strong winds.

The system brought the first major snowfall to Nova Scotia with 23 cm at Halifax Stanfield Airport and lesser amounts in the city but it caught drivers and plow operators off guard creating gridlock.

About 10 to 20 cm of snow also fell in central and southwestern New Brunswick where some schools closed with slippery road conditions.

Greater Moncton had a rain/snow mix this morning with 2 cm before it changed to rain.

As this system moves off to Newfoundland, brisk winds behind it will produce gusts up to 90 km/h with snow squalls expected along coastal areas.

First Below 0°C Daytime High

First Below 0
Cold, wintry weather seems to have arrived earlier this season in New Brunswick and Greater Moncton is no exception.

As shown above, the first below freezing daytime high was recorded on 09 November which makes it the earliest date in recent years.

In addition, the thermometer has already dropped to -10°C this month which I will outline in an upcoming post.

(Data courtesy Environment Canada)

Heavy, wet snow creates chaos

An early blast of winter in Moncton, 09 Nov 2019 (Dearing)

Some drivers were prepared when snow entered the forecast for the first time this week and had their winter tires installed.

But many drivers were caught off guard by the heavy, wet – sloppy – snow which fell across Southern New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, northern Nova Scotia and southwestern Newfoundland.

A low pressure system brought rain on Thursday but snow fell by evening as the temperature dropped to the freezing point.

The snow continued throughout Friday creating slippery roads which left plow operators scrambling to deal with the early blast of winter.

Many minor accidents were reported with vehicles sliding into the ditch.

The Trans Canada Highway at Cobequid Pass was forced to close for several hours Friday night after numerous tractor trailers got stuck in snow and blocked the road.

Snowfall amounts (Thu-Fri) in cm:

  • Corner Brook 19.4
  • Greater Moncton 18.8
  • Fredericton 10-15 (estimate)
  • Deer Lake 13
  • Saint John 8.9
  • Halifax Stanfield 5.8
  • Charlottetown 3.9

(Data courtesy Environment Canada)

More rain & wind for Maritimes

Few leaves remain on trees after strong winds, Irishtown Nature Park, 25 Oct 2019 (Dearing)

Another low pressure system moved through the Maritimes on Wednesday bringing a lot of rain to the region especially to western New Brunswick.

Winds were also a factor with this storm but for a shorter period of time even though the peak gust was 81 km/h which was slightly higher than last week.

Here some rainfall totals (mm):

  • Saint John  59
  • Edmundston  59
  • Bathurst  49
  • Fredericton  48
  • Miramichi  37
  • Sydney  30
  • Charlottetown  22
  • Halifax Stanfield Airport  21
  • Greater Moncton  19

(Data courtesy Environment Canada)

Fast and furious storm

A tree topples over in Halifax, NS, 17 Oct 2019 (Nova Scotia Power/Twitter)

A so-called bomb cyclone with wind and rain moved through the Maritimes in just a few hours today.

The intense low pressure system brought winds gusting up to 89 km/h in Saint John which uprooted some trees already weakened by Hurricane Dorian last month.

Greater Moncton recorded a peak gust of 78 km/h along with 20 mm of rain which caused some localized flooding as leaves clogged storm drains.

The winds were even stronger in Nova Scotia with a gust of 101 km/h at Halifax harbour and 106 km/h in Lunenburg which brought trees down knocking out power.

The highest gust was near Cheticamp on Cape Breton Island at 148 km/h.

Rainfall amounts across New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island ranged from 15 to 30 mm with more than double those amounts in Nova Scotia.

Warmth returns!

Irishtown Nature Park, 05 October 2019 (Dearing)

Barely a day after the coolest daytime high in five months, temperatures climbed into the high teens in New Brunswick and low 20’s in Nova Scotia.

This proves just how changeable October can be.

Greater Moncton has wrapped a third day at around 17°C.

The maximum October temperature is typically at least 20°C and it is still possible to reach it before the end of the month.