Icy weekend in Central Canada

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A tree falls onto an SUV in an ice storm, East York, Toronto, ON, 15 April 2018 (R. Johnston/Toronto Star)

A slow moving low pressure system brought a wintry mix of snow, ice pellets, freezing rain, rain and strong winds to Southern Ontario and Southern Quebec over the weekend.

Icy conditions led to more than 1,600 highway crashes, numerous power outages from falling trees and downed lines, cancelled flights, transit delays and school closures.

Officials were forced to close the CN Tower due to falling ice from the structure.

Here are some totals from the spring storm as of 16 April at 2pm EDT:

  • Toronto Pearson Airport – 18 hours of ice pellets, 6 hours of freezing rain, 12 cm ice pellets.
  • Toronto Billy Bishop Airport – Peak wind gust of 96km/h
  • London – 14 hours of freezing rain with ice pellets
  • Windsor – 6 hours of freezing rain
  • Hamilton – 11 hours of ice pellets, 6 hours of freezing rain and ice pellets, 8 hours of freezing rain
  • Ottawa – 9 hours of freezing rain Sunday, 6 hours of freezing rain Monday, wind gusts to 70 km/h
  • Montreal – 9 hours of freezing rain Saturday, 4 hours of freezing rain Sunday, 3 hours freezing rain Monday
  • Quebec City – 5 hours of freezing rain Monday

(Data courtesy Environment Canada)

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Winter 2017/18 – Riding a Rollercoaster!

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A view of downtown Moncton from city hall, 23 Jan 2018 (City of Moncton)

Meteorological winter 2017/18 is now in the books since the three month period of December, January and February is over but we all know winter is not over yet in Southeast New Brunswick.

What a ride it has been in Greater Moncton with temperatures fluctuating wildly from very mild to extremely cold in just hours and in one case in mere minutes.

Snowfall was lighter compared to normal especially in February but the bigger concern were frequent periods of mixed, icy precipitation such as freezing rain and ice pellets.

WINTER ALMANAC 2017/18 at the Greater Moncton International Airport

Average HIGH  -1.2 C (about 0.9 degrees ABOVE normal)

Average LOW  -11.0 C (about 1 degree ABOVE normal)

AVERAGE  -6.1 C (about 1 degree ABOVE normal)

Extreme HIGH  16.7 C (13 January – highest temperature ever recorded in January)

Extreme LOW  -22.3 C (07 February)

RAINFALL  134.4 mm (about 20 percent ABOVE normal)

SNOWFALL  177.8 cm (about 15 percent BELOW normal)

(Data courtesy Environment Canada)

 

February 2018 – Warm with more rain

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Shubenacadie Sam predicted an early spring, 02 Feb 2018 (Shubenacadie Wildlife Park, NS)

The first half of February in Southeast New Brunswick was decidedly winter with frigid overnight lows dropping to a numbing -21 C in the first few days alone.

But the second half of the month was spring-like with most daytime highs above freezing and more tolerable minimums.

The average monthly temperature for Greater Moncton was about 3.2 degrees above normal and anything above 2 degrees is considered significant in meteorology.

Precipitation was slightly above average with more rain than snow falling compared to normal.

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

Average HIGH  1.0 C

Average LOW  -9.7 C

AVERAGE  -4.4 C (about 3.2 degrees ABOVE normal)

Extreme HIGH  12.9 C (21 Feb)

Extreme LOW  -20.5 C (03 Feb)

RAINFALL  42.0 mm (more than 30 percent ABOVE normal)

SNOWFALL  49.2 cm (about 25 percent BELOW normal)

(Data courtesy Environment Canada)

TWN unveils spring forecast

TWN spring

The Weather Network has taken a look ahead at the months of March, April and May for Atlantic Canada…

While it has been a relatively mild winter across the region, winter will still have several parting shots, including the threat for a few Nor’easters.

For some places, the biggest snowfall of the year could still be on the horizon (keep in mind the context – some areas have not had a classic winter storm).

Back and forth temperature swings should come close to offsetting, but with more potential for warmth to outweigh the periods of colder weather.

An active storm track will tap into subtropical moisture at times and bring above normal precipitation to most of the region through the spring season.

Escaping a strange winter

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The beaches of Varadero, Cuba, 15 February 2018 (Dearing)

Let’s face it, winter in Southeast New Brunswick has been a volatile roller coaster ride with wildly fluctuating temperatures and unusual amounts of mixed precipitation.

I wanted an escape, so a two-week vacation getaway to Cuba was in order.

From 06-20 February, the island’s most popular beach destination of Varadero enjoyed daytime highs in the upper 20s C with glorious sunshine and just a few passing clouds.

Winter is the dry season in Cuba and precipitation was light except for a lengthy downpour of rain during just one early morning.

Varadero has some of the best beaches in the Caribbean and millions of international visitors – mostly Canadians – flock there every year.

January 2018 – Turbulent!

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The Petitcodiac River in Moncton looking toward Dieppe, 28 January 2018 (Dearing)

The first month of 2018 proved to be quite a roller coaster ride in Southeast New Brunswick.

Bitter cold to begin January was briefly erased by a fast-moving ‘bomb cyclone’ until another Arctic blast sunk the low to -22.3 C with a bitter wind chill of -36.

A record thaw saw the thermometer climb to 16.7 C in Greater Moncton – the highest ever in January – and a new all-time provincial high of 17.3 C in Sussex.

Precipitation was above average overall with near normal snowfall – 25 cm was the heaviest snow event on 30-31 – and about twice as much rainfall.

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

Average HIGH  -2.0 C

Average LOW  -12.6 C

AVERAGE  -7.4 C (1.5 degrees ABOVE normal)

Extreme HIGH  16.7 C (13 Jan, new all-time monthly high)

Extreme LOW  -22.3 C (07 Jan)

RAINFALL  53.3 mm (almost 50 percent ABOVE normal)

SNOWFALL  77.2 cm (NEAR normal)

(Data courtesy Environment Canada)

Snow vanishes!

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Bare ground in west end Moncton after rain washes away snow cover, 24 Jan 2018 (Dearing)

The snow cover in Greater Moncton has disappeared after the latest storm system rolled through with mixed precipitation and mild temperatures.

Rainfall amounts varied from 20 to 70 mm across New Brunswick, up to 8 hours of freezing rain fell in Gagetown and 20 cm of snow was recorded in Bathurst and Edmundston.

Record highs for 23 January were set in Saint John at 10.4 C and St. Stephen reached 11.3 C.

Since a consistent snow cover began on 09 December in Southeast New Brunswick, the ground has been bare a couple of times for short periods.

Another roller coaster ride!

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A view of downtown Moncton from city hall, 23 Jan 2018 (City of Moncton)

A low pressure system from the west is bringing another mixed bag of precipitation to the Maritimes and once it departs more cold air will filter in behind it.

Schools were cancelled in New Brunswick today as snow began in the morning followed by a changeover to ice pellets and freezing rain and eventually to rain as the temperature climbed above freezing.

Flooding is possible again since the partially frozen ground is less able to absorb heavy rainfall.

Environment Canada issued a freezing rain warning for Greater Moncton but it was dropped later in the day with less than an hour of ice pellets/freezing rain recorded.

The temperature is expected to reach 10 C by early Wednesday before plunging to -13 C by early Thursday – a difference of 23 degrees in less than a day.

December 2017 – Cold and dry

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Heavy snow falling in northeast Moncton, 09 Dec 2017 (Dearing)

December in Southeast New Brunswick started out on a normal note with above freezing daytime highs and chilly but not frigid overnight lows.

But an early Arctic blast settled in over the Maritimes by mid-month and Greater Moncton had five days below -10 C with four nights plunging to -20 C or lower.

After near normal precipitation last month, both rainfall and snowfall were below normal for December.

Two major snow events were recorded on 9-10 Dec (16 cm) and 25 Dec (20 cm) with a significant rainfall on 23 Dec (10 mm).

DECEMBER 2017 ALMANAC (at Greater Moncton Int’l Airport, 1981-2010)

Average HIGH  -2.5 C

Average LOW  -10.7 C

AVERAGE  -6.6 C (1.8 degrees BELOW normal)

Extreme HIGH  11.1 C (06 Dec)

Extreme LOW  -21.8 C (31 Dec)

RAINFALL  39.1 mm (almost 30 percent BELOW normal)

SNOWFALL  51.4 cm (almost 20 percent BELOW normal)

(Data courtesy Environment Canada)

Freezing rain creates icy conditions

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Freezing rain (pink) sandwiched between snow (blue) to the north and rain (green) to the south, 23 Dec 2017 (Intellicast)

Streets and highways in Greater Moncton turned into skating rinks early this evening after freezing rain began falling through Central and Southeast New Brunswick.

Social media users mentioned how numerous vehicles were sliding off the roads in icy conditions and Magnetic Hill had become an ice sheet.

A low pressure system from the Northeastern United States brought mixed precipitation which eventually changed to rain.

Meantime, Environment Canada is monitoring a major snowstorm expected Christmas Day which could bring 20 cm snow to parts of New Brunswick.