April 2017 – Spring sputters

Budding trees in Fairview Knoll Park, Moncton, 30 April 2017 (Dearing)

Spring seldom arrives on time in New Brunswick and this year is no exception even though April was actually warmer than normal in Greater Moncton.

The month can be broken into four segments – cold in the beginning, then warm, turning cold again and finally warm again near the end.

A consistent snow cover began on 27 November and disappeared briefly in late January before finally melting for the season by 10 April.

Precipitation overall was below average with much less snow than normal.

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

Average HIGH 10.5 C

Average LOW -0.8 C

AVERAGE 4.9 C (about 1.4 degrees ABOVE normal)

Extreme HIGH 21.8 C (27 April)

Extreme LOW -7.7 C (01, 19 April)

RAINFALL 42.5 mm (about 30 percent BELOW normal)

SNOWFALL 6.8 cm (about 75 percent BELOW normal)

(Data courtesy Environment Canada)

Cherry blossoms brighten B.C. coast

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Cherry blossoms in Vancouver,BC,15 April 2017 (CityofVancouver/Twitter)

Canada’s so-called Left Coast may have the mildest winters in the country but along with that comes a lot of cloudy skies and precipitation mostly falling as rain.

After a colder and snowier than usual winter, Vancouver experienced a gloomy March with the least amount of sunshine since records began in 1951 and it rained 28 out of 31 days.

So it’s no wonder, the sight of beautiful pink and white cherry blossoms is causing traffic troubles with so many drivers and pedestrians stopping to admire them.

The peak bloom is a bit later than normal this year thanks to dismal weather causing the Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival to reschedule some events.

Weather Network unveils spring forecast

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A great deal of snow has melted in Southeast New Brunswick recently thanks to some spring-like temperatures.

But what does the upcoming spring season really have in store for us?

In its forecast for March, April and May, the Weather Network says we can expect slightly above normal temperatures overall.

Meteorologist Michael Carter says spring is a transitional season which means a back and forth between cold and warm.

Carter says precipitation is expected to be near normal for our region.

“We certainly are not out of the woods yet when it comes to snowfall. We’ll still have a few opportunities for impactful snowfall as we move into March and early April we can certainly see that continuing,” he notes.

Carter says we expect spring rain to really ramp up in late April and May but the amounts should not be excessive.

February 2017 – Lots of snow then mild

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Spillway at Irishtown Nature Park, Moncton, 26 Feb 2017 (Dearing)

Three major winter storms including a blizzard were part of a very active weather pattern in Greater Moncton during February.

While snowfall was below normal in January, it made up for it in February with more than double the average amount recorded.

Temperatures were above normal but oddly enough it was still warmer in January which is typically the coldest month.

The final week felt like spring with mild temperatures climbing above 10 C which was enough to melt most of the snow which had fallen during the previous three weeks.

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

Average HIGH  -1.2 C

Average LOW  -10.9 C

AVERAGE  -6.2 C (about 1.4 degrees ABOVE normal)

Extreme HIGH  11.5 C (24 February)

Extreme LOW  -22.6 C (12 February)

RAINFALL  19.7 mm (slightly BELOW normal)

SNOWFALL  124.1 cm (about 100 percent ABOVE normal)

(Data courtesy Environment Canada)

Calm before the storm

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Little snow on the ground in NE Moncton, 17 Jan 2017 (Dearing)

For the past week or so, the weather has been fairly calm in Greater Moncton apart from some light snow.

But that could change now that Environment Canada has issued a special weather statement for Southeast New Brunswick.

An intense low pressure system will approach the province on Tuesday and bring snow, ice pellets and freezing rain.

The precipitation is expected to change to rain later on Tuesday and along with strong winds will continue into Wednesday.

The Weather Network is suggesting up to 20 cm of snow before the changeover.

Messy mix for New Brunswick

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Trying to scrape car of snow, ice pellets and freezing rain, NE Moncton, 04 Jan 2017 (Dearing)

Four types of precipitation fell in Southeast New Brunswick in less than 12 hours after a low pressure system over the U.S. Eastern Seaboard tracked into the Maritimes.

Greater Moncton recorded 2 cm of snow/ice pellets, 12 mm of rain and almost 3 hours of freezing rain.

More snow fell in central and northern New Brunswick with 12 cm in Fredericton and 14 cm in Bathurst.

In Nova Scotia, the Halifax Stanfield Airport received almost 30 mm of rain and strong winds gusted to more than 140 km/h over Cape Breton Island.

2016 was warm in Greater Moncton

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Clockwise from top left: Jan 2016 Moncton, May 2016 Moncton, Aug 2016 Kouchibouguac N.P., Oct 2016 Moncton

The average annual temperature for 2016 in Greater Moncton was 6.4 C which was one degree above the 1981-2010 period according to data from Environment Canada.

Precipitation was below normal with 995 mm recorded (1200 mm is average over the same thirty years) broken down as 689 mm of rain and 297 cm of snow.

The highest temperature of the year was 30.5 C on 28 July while the lowest was -22.1 C recorded on 17 December.

The growing season stretched from mid-May to early October which gave Moncton about 142 frost-free days, slightly higher than the average of 127.

December 2016 -Weather rollercoaster

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A cold late afternoon in downtown Moncton, 16 Dec 2016 (Facebook)

So many ups and downs occurred during December in Southeast New Brunswick, one might say we were riding a weather rollercoaster.

Early on 17 December in Greater Moncton, the thermometer fell to a monthly (and almost record) low of -22.1 C which then rose to a monthly high of 10.6 C only 36 hours later before eventually dropping again to -18.6 by late on 19 December.

Although many nights were extremely cold (eight below -15 C), daytime highs were often slightly above or below freezing which overall led to a slightly below average monthly temperature.

Most snow fell during the first half of the month (three snowfalls were 12 cm or higher) and although rainfall was below normal, overall precipitation was about average.

DECEMBER 2016 ALMANAC (at Greater Moncton Int’l Airport, 1981-2010)

Average HIGH  -0.8 C

Average LOW  -9.5 C

AVERAGE  -5.1 C (about 0.3 degrees BELOW normal)

Extreme HIGH  10.6 C (18 December)

Extreme LOW  -22.1 C (17 December)

RAINFALL  37.5 mm (about 30 percent BELOW normal)

SNOWFALL  85.2 cm (about 25 percent ABOVE normal)

(Data courtesy Environment Canada)

Green Christmas in Nova Scotia

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Not exactly a White Christmas in Truro, NS, 25 Dec 2016 (Dearing)

While most of New Brunswick was covered in snow on 25 December, many parts of Nova Scotia including Truro had a Green Christmas Day.

While there were a couple of snow squalls during the day which produced a trace or so, it was mostly sunny with a strong, cold wind in central Nova Scotia.

As a child growing up in this area, having a White Christmas was always a toss up with some years being snowy while other years were rainy.

More white is on the way as a Colorado Low approaches from the American Midwest and Central Canada with a mixed bag of precipitation expected.

November 2016 – Mild and dry

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Remembrance Day service at Sunny Brae cenotaph, Moncton, 11 Nov 2016 (Twitter)

The first two-thirds of November proved to be mostly mild and dry in Greater Moncton although small amounts of rain did fall on most days.

The last ten days of the month took a decidedly colder turn and while overnight lows weren’t very cold, daytime highs struggled in the low single digits.

A blast of winter came at the very end with 26 cm of heavy, wet snow which brought up precipitation amounts but the total was still almost 40 percent below normal.

NOVEMBER 2016 ALMANAC (at Greater Moncton International Airport, 1981-2010)

Average HIGH  7.2 C

Average LOW  0.5 C

AVERAGE  3.8 C (about 1.9 degrees ABOVE normal)

Extreme HIGH  13.7 C (14 November)

Extreme LOW  -4.6 C (29 November)

RAINFALL  35.8 mm (about 60 percent BELOW normal)

SNOWFALL  28.1 cm (about 30 percent ABOVE normal)

(Data courtesy Environment Canada)