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.

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.

NB River Watch Launches

Flooding in Fredericton, 24 Apr 2019 (GNB/Yerxa)

It’s a sure sign of spring…

New Brunswick’s annual program monitoring the status of rivers, ice jams and other flood issues officially launched today.

Historic flooding in 2018 and 2019 devastated many communities along the St. John River although individuals and municipal governments were better prepared last year.

Higher than normal water levels forced the closure of the Trans-Canada Highway between Fredericton and Moncton for almost a week and even longer the year before.

Officials say a variety of factors contribute to flooding including precipitation, snow pack, air temperatures and river ice.

Winter storm sweeps Eastern Canada

Snow falls in NE Moncton, 27 Feb 2020 (Dearing)

A major winter storm moved across Ontario, Quebec and Atlantic Canada delivering snow, rain, freezing rain, strong winds and ice pellets.

Police told drivers to stay off the roads, many flights were grounded, schools closed and some businesses shut down.

Almost 17 cm of snow/ice pellets fell in Greater Moncton which made roads treacherous and forced the transit system to cancel service by late afternoon.

Snowfall amounts (in cm):

  • Mont-Laurier, QC 49
  • Pembroke, ON 34
  • Gaspe, QC 25 to 45
  • Ingonish Beach, NS 25
  • Miramichi, NB 22
  • Quebec City area 20 to 40
  • Edmundston, NB 18
  • Greater Moncton 17
  • Ottawa 17
  • Fredericton 16
  • Toronto Pearson 15
  • London 12
  • Greater Montreal 5 to 15
  • St. John’s 11

Duration of freezing rain (in hours):

  • CFB Trenton 7
  • Kingston 5
  • Ottawa 1.5

Rainfall (in mm):

  • Western Head, NS 47
  • Shelburne, NS 34

Wind gusts (in km/h):

  • Grand Etang, Cape Breton, NS 181
  • Wreckhouse, NL 181
  • Yarmouth, NS 118
  • Port aux Basques, NL 123
  • Quebec City 102
  • Stephenville, NL 100
  • Picton area, ON 101
  • Sydney, NS 93
  • Halifax Stanfield 89
  • Toronto Billy Bishop 82

(Data courtesy Environment Canada)

Spring-like weather ends

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File photo (Dearing)

The last few days have felt like spring in New Brunswick but the warm spell is about to end.

Temperatures have soared as high as 10°C in some areas.

The normal maximum for late February is about 0°C in Greater Moncton.

Recent daytime highs:

  • 6.1°C on 23 Feb
  • 7.3°C on 24 Feb
  • 6.0°C on 25 Feb
  • 4.0°C on 26 Feb

However, winter is returning as a low pressure system brings mixed precipitation to Ontario and Quebec with the Maritimes next in its path.

Environment Canada has issued various weather warnings and up to 25 cm of snow and ice pellets could fall starting late Thursday into Friday.

Canada’s Top 10 Weather Stories 2019

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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.