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

November 2019 – Colder and snowier

Ice forms on Irishtown Reservoir after cold night, 13 Nov 2019 (Dearing)

November got off to a mild start in Greater Moncton – the monthly high 19.4 C was actually 0.1 degrees warmer than October’s maximum – but temperatures quickly tumbled especially overnight.

Only two nights were actually above freezing with the coldest weather around the middle of the month.

The first measurable snow was recorded on 07-8 (18.8 cm) which was more than half of the November total and rainfall was lighter than usual.

Daytime highs struggled to climb above freezing especially during the last two weeks which led to a below normal monthly average.

NOVEMBER 2019 ALMANAC (at Greater Moncton Int’l Airport, 1981-2010)

Average HIGH 4.6°C

Average LOW -3.7°C

AVERAGE 0.5°C (about 1.4 degrees BELOW normal)

Extreme HIGH 19.4°C (01 Nov)

Extreme LOW -10.9°C (17 Nov)

RAINFALL 66.7 mm (about 20 percent BELOW normal)

SNOWFALL 32.5 cm (almost double, well ABOVE normal)

(Data courtesy Environment Canada)

Windy start to November

Tree leaning on power lines, 01 Nov 2019 (NB Power)

Blustery but mild weather on Halloween continued throughout the first day of November in Southeast New Brunswick.

A cold front created strong winds with a sustained high of 64 km/h and a peak gust of 94 km/h at the Greater Moncton Airport.

Many trees and branches – already weakened by Dorian earlier this fall – came down onto power lines with NB Power dealing with almost 60,000 customers without electricity by late Friday.

Environment Canada warned of gusts up to 110 km/h in the Tantramar Marsh which forced the shutdown of the Trans Canada Highway between Amherst and Sackville until winds subsided.

The daytime high on 01 November was 19.4°C which was slightly warmer than the October maximum of 19.3°C.

The same storm system also hit Quebec where more than one million customers lost power, one man was killed by a falling tree and a canopy collapsed at a service station.

October 2019 – Gradual easing into fall

Centennial Park, Moncton, 14 Oct 2019 (Dearing)

Daytime highs were consistently in the mid-teens in Southeast New Brunswick during October which usually sees a sharp drop in temperature as the month progresses.

The average temperature was 0.7°C above normal in Greater Moncton with two days failing to reach 10°C and the warmest maximum on the last day, 19.3°C.

Six days had lows below freezing with some light frost but there was no hard freeze allowing vegetation to flourish.

The precipitation total mostly came from five rainfall events with not a single snowflake recorded.

Fall foliage peaked prior to Thanksgiving weekend and several strong wind events left few leaves on trees by Halloween night.

OCTOBER 2019 ALMANAC (at Greater Moncton Int’l Airport, 1981-2010)

Average HIGH 13.5°C

Average LOW 3.0°C

AVERAGE 8.3°C (about 0.7 degrees ABOVE normal)

Extreme HIGH 19.3°C (31 Oct)

Extreme LOW -2.7°C (27 Oct)

RAINFALL 102.7 mm (slightly BELOW normal)

(Data courtesy Environment Canada)

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.

Coolest day since May

Irishtown Nature Park, 05 October 2019 (Dearing)

Chilly temperatures across the Maritimes on Friday made it feel more like early November than early October.

In Greater Moncton, the daytime high for 04 October was only 8.2 C which means it was the coolest day since 22 May when the maximum was only 8.6 C.

Halifax, Charlottetown, Saint John and Fredericton also had highs below 10 C.

The normal high for the first week of October in Southeast New Brunswick is 15 C with an overnight low of 4 C.

Growing seasons in Greater Moncton

Growing Season

Data courtesy Environment Canada

After taking a look at the past seven growing seasons in Greater Moncton including 2019, the last freezing temperature in Greater Moncton in the spring has been recorded from a month-long period from early May to early June.

Meantime in the fall, the first freezing temperature has been recorded from a month-long period from mid-September to mid-October.

The total number of days above freezing during the growing season has ranged from as little as 111 days to as many as 155 days – a difference of more than one month.

December 2018 – Cold & dry

Sun glistening on the ice of Shediac Bay, 30 Dec 2018 (Dearing)

December turned out to be another cold month in Greater Moncton continuing a trend which began in October.

An early Arctic air mass kept daytime highs below freezing for a lengthy ten day stretch.

The month did prove to be less stormier than November with below normal rainfall and snowfall.

While Southeast New Brunswick had a snow cover for a few weeks prior to Christmas, it had mostly disappeared by 25 December.

DECEMBER 2018 ALMANAC (at Greater Moncton Int’l Airport, 1981-2010)

Average HIGH -1.6°C

Average LOW -10.2°C

AVERAGE -5.9°C (about 1.1 degrees BELOW normal)

Extreme HIGH 12.8°C (22 Dec)

Extreme LOW -16.5°C (09 Dec)

RAINFALL 46.8 mm (slightly BELOW normal)

SNOWFALL 34.7 cm (about 40 percent BELOW normal)

(Data courtesy Environment Canada)

Autumn 2018 in review

Autumn2018
Meteorological autumn spanning the months of September, October and November proved to be cooler and much wetter than normal in Greater Moncton.

While September felt more summer-like, it turned decidedly colder by mid-October and a big drop by mid-November with a low within two degrees of a 30-year record.

Precipitation was heavy with more than 100 mm of rain falling above normal and snow first appeared in late October and again in heavy amounts by late November.

October 2018 – Cool and wet

View from the Sussex Bluffs, Sussex Corner, NB, 14 Oct 2018 (Dearing)

October 2018 proved to be very different from October 2017 in Southeast New Brunswick.

While it was warm and dry last year in Greater Moncton (the second warmest October since 1881), it was the opposite this year – cool and wet.

Temperatures were below normal with only one day reaching 20°C and a hard frost arrived by mid-month.

Only seven days were dry with three major rainfall events and snow fell on three days – briefly settling on the ground twice.

OCTOBER 2018 ALMANAC (at Greater Moncton Int’l Airport, 1981-2010)

Average HIGH 10.5°C

Average LOW 2.2°C

AVERAGE 6.4°C (about 1.2 degrees BELOW normal)

Extreme HIGH 19.6°C (04 Oct)

Extreme LOW -6.6°C (27 Oct)

RAINFALL 150 mm (estimate; about 40 percent ABOVE normal)

SNOWFALL 6.2 cm (well ABOVE the normal of 1.2 cm)

(Data courtesy Environment Canada)