Groundhogs send mixed messages

Shubenacadie Sam sees his shadow, Shubenacadie, NS, 02 Feb 2020 (Twitter)

The first marmot in North America to make a weather prediction on Groundhog Day was Nova Scotia’s Shubenacadie Sam who saw his shadow early today which means another six weeks of winter.

However, Ontario’s Wiarton Willie and Pennsylvania’s Punxsutawney Phil didn’t see their respective shadows hence an early spring is expected.

So which groundhog do we believe?

The annual tradition originated in Germany and traces its roots to religion rather than science.

Environment Canada notes how data over the last 30 to 40 years shows that the groundhogs have only been correct about 37 percent of the time.

But admittedly, it’s a fun way to mark the midpoint of winter whether or not it wraps up early or drags on into spring.

Coldest, snowiest yet this winter

Snow covered steps in NE Moncton, 19 Jan 2020 (Dearing)

On the heels of the coldest weather so far this winter in Greater Moncton with lows of -21°C comes the heaviest snowfall to date.

A Colorado Low arrived in the Maritimes on Sunday after delivering a blow to the middle of the continent including Ontario and Quebec.

Since it was already very cold across Southern New Brunswick, the snow that fell was light and dry – unlike so-called “heart attack” snow which is heavy and wet.

Snowfall totals (in cm):

  • Minto area  31
  • Greater Moncton Airport  25
  • Fredericton area  16
  • Saint John Airport  13
  • Miramichi  10
  • Bathurst  4

(Data courtesy volunteer observations)

Storm brings snow to Ontario & Quebec


A Colorado Low tracked across Lake Huron on Saturday and brought snow to nearly all of Ontario and Southern Quebec with the first major amounts this winter.

Strong gusty winds up to 100 km/h in some areas also created blowing snow.

The low pressure system continued through the Northeastern United States and impacted the Maritimes on Sunday.

Snowfall amounts (in cm):

  • Marathon  30
  • Thunder Bay  21
  • Ottawa  20 (new daily record for 18 January)
  • Kitchener-Waterloo  19
  • Toronto Pearson Airport  17.2 (new daily record for 18 January)
  • Montreal  17
  • London  16
  • Kenora  15

(Data courtesy Environment Canada and volunteer observations)

Wintry mix for New Year’s Eve

A wintry mix falls in NE Moncton, 31 Dec 2019 (Dearing)

The same storm system which impacted Ontario and Quebec is now creating travel havoc in the Maritimes with a mixed bag of precipitation.

Snow along with ice pellets began in Southwest New Brunswick on New Year’s Eve morning and gradually spread to Greater Moncton by early afternoon.

About 14 cm of snow and ice pellets could accumulate in the Southeast before a changeover to rain around midnight as temperatures rise above freezing.

Snowfall warnings have been posted in western and northern New Brunswick with 15 to 30 cm likely with lesser amounts for Prince Edward Island and mostly rain is forecast for mainland Nova Scotia.

UPDATE

Moncton received 5.4 cm of snow, Saint John had 3.4 cm while about 10 cm fell in Fredericton but near 30 cm in Woodstock.

Storm sweeps Ontario

Freezing rain coats trees in central Ontario, 30 Dec 2019 (South Simcoe Police)

Ontario is so large and sprawling that it’s rare one storm could impact most of the province but that’s what happened Sunday into Monday.

A large low pressure system brought severe winds to the southwest, hours of freezing rain in the east and heavy snow in the northwest.

Temperatures also soared briefly in the Greater Toronto Area with a new record high of 10.2°C set at Pearson Airport.

Freezing rain duration in hours:

  • Ottawa Int’l Airport – 22
  • Sudbury – 20
  • CFB Trenton – 18

Snowfall in cm:

  • Marathon – 37
  • Thunder Bay – 30
  • Atikokan – 18

Maximum wind gusts in km/h:

  • Chatham-Kent – 104
  • Windsor – 100
  • Toronto Billy Bishop Airport – 81

(Data courtesy Environment Canada)

December starts icy in Ontario

OPP Hwy 401 crash

Highway 401 multi-vehicle crash near Kingston, ON, 01 Dec 2019 (OPP/Twitter)

A low pressure system delivered an icy mix of precipitation to Southern Ontario on Sunday with freezing rain and ice pellets turning highways and walkways into ice rinks.

Ontario Provincial Police say heavy snow shut down a section of Highway 401 near Kingston after a 30 to 40 vehicle pileup with more than a dozen injured and one fatality.

At least 500 road crashes were reported in the Greater Toronto Area and numerous flights were either cancelled or delayed at Pearson Airport.

Tens of thousands lost electricity after ice-laden tree branches fell onto power lines,

Several towns and cities were forced to cancel their Santa Claus Parades due to the extreme weather.

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.

Early snow for southern Ontario & Quebec

A snowy Gore Park, Hamilton, ON, 11 Nov 2019 (City of Hamilton)

An early winter storm tracked south of the Great Lakes on Monday and brought snow to Southern Ontario and Southern Quebec.

Snowfall amounts generally ranged between 10 and 30 cm.

Environment Canada says Toronto marked its earliest major snowfall on record with about 15 cm.

Arctic air has filtered in behind the storm prompting the city to issue an extreme cold weather alert with a possible overnight low of -15°C.

Snowfall amounts (cm), Tuesday 5pm EST:

  • Montreal 20
  • Quebec City 20
  • Windsor 19
  • Hamilton 17
  • Toronto (downtown) 15
  • Ottawa 13

Fading tropical storm batters Ontario

Courtesy Weather Nation

The remnants of Tropical Storm Olga were felt across Southern Ontario on the weekend with rainy and windy conditions.

Environment Canada says between 30 and 60 mm of rain fell across the region including the Greater Toronto Area.

Wind gusts were up to 80 km/h in some locations with a peak of 104 km/h recorded at Port Colborne on Lake Erie.

Olga formed in the Gulf of Mexico several days ago and made landfall in Louisiana before quickly churning northward toward the Great Lakes.

Forecasters are calling for more wet weather and cooler conditions by Halloween.

Here comes the heat!

The view from Economy Point, NS, 03 July 2019 (Dearing)

After a cool and wet start to summer, a blast of heat is heading to the Maritime Provinces over the next few days.

Environment Canada has issued heat warnings for most of New Brunswick – excluding the Fundy coast – and western Nova Scotia while other areas under a special weather statement.

A warm, humid air mass is moving into the region today raising daytime temperatures to 30°C or more.

Humidex values near 40 are expected and overnight lows may not fall below 18°C providing little relief from the heat.

Near normal values will return late Saturday as a cold front arrives.

Heat warnings are also in place for parts of Ontario and Quebec where it climbed into the low 30s yesterday.