Polar vortex brings cold, snow

Snow in Hanwell, NB, 09 May 2020 (Twitter/@marlowcam8)

It’s the middle of May and spring has barely appeared in New Brunswick so far and now an intense low pressure system has brought a wintry blast.

Greater Moncton had strong winds along with a cold rain which later turned to snow and a couple centimetres accumulated on colder surfaces like vehicles.

But the central, western and northern parts of the province got blasted with more than 30 cm of heavy, wet snow in some areas.

Meteorologists say cold air from the polar vortex continues to loom over eastern North America with new record lows set in Ontario this weekend and New York City recorded its latest trace of snow since 1977.

Snowfall amounts, 10 May at 3pm ADT (cm):

  • Woodstock  33
  • New Maryland  24
  • Bouctouche  22
  • Grand Falls  20
  • Miramichi  20
  • Fredericton  9
  • Bathurst  6

(Data courtesy Environment Canada)

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.

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.