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)

Green up underway

Green up in west end Moncton, 04 May 2020 (Dearing)

Over the past few days, the landscape across Southeast New Brunswick has been greening up and the buds are bursting on the trees.

Recent warm weather and some precipitation – including wet snow today – have finally made it look more like spring.

However, the long range forecast doesn’t have much heat with below average temperatures likely in the next 10 days.

Late season snow!

Courtesy Nova Scotia Highway Cameras

Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island saw more snow today which is becoming a bit unusual as April comes to an end.

A slow moving low pressure system brought several centimetres which mainly accumulated on colder surfaces such as grass and vehicles.

The Halifax area turned white and so did northern and eastern areas of the province and Cape Breton.

New Brunswick seemed to escape the snow except for a few scattered flurries.

UPDATE – New snowfall records:

Halifax Stanfield Airport – 28.2 cm (old record 19.3 cm from 1967)

Sydney Airport – 24.8 cm (old record 6.6 cm from 1971)

Snow pellets!

Snow pellets or graupel fall in NE Moncton, 22 April 2020 (Dearing)

Many areas of New Brunswick reported intervals of snow pellets mixed with snow on Wednesday including Greater Moncton.

Also known as graupel, snow pellets are tiny super-cooled water droplets which collect on a snowflake and fall to the ground.

Meteorologists say it’s not unusual to see graupel in the spring on cool, unstable days.

Heavy snow hits Cape Breton

Satellite image shows storm over Cape Breton Island, 19 Apr 2020 (Twitter/J.Abraham)

A winter-like storm brought heavy snow to Cape Breton Island and western Newfoundland on Sunday with more than 30 cm recorded in some areas.

A whopping 43 cm of snow fell at the Sydney Airport which made roads treacherous in the region and certainly kept snow plows busy.

Environment Canada data shows it has already been an extremely snowy winter in Sydney with almost 400 cm recorded since the start of 2020.

The system was expected to bring snow to mainland Nova Scotia but it eventually tracked further to the east and mostly hit Cape Breton.

A spring snowstorm

Snowy Grant Street in NE Moncton, 10 Apr 2020 (Dearing)

A low pressure system moved up the Bay of Fundy and brought heavy, wet snow to most of New Brunswick with rain as well in some areas.

About 5-10 cm snow fell across the southern part of the province, 20 cm in central areas and up to 30 cm in the north creating messy road conditions.

The mid-April snow was not unusual but was still the heaviest snowfall since early March.

Snow amounts by volunteers (in cm):

  • Miramichi 20
  • Fredericton 13
  • Greater Moncton 13
  • St. Andrews 6
  • Dorchester 6

Return to winter

A strong low pressure system is expected to bring a lot of snow, some rain and wind to Southeast New Brunswick starting Thursday night.

About 15 cm could fall in Greater Moncton prompting Environment Canada to issue a snowfall warning.

Strong winds will coincide with high tide along the Northumberland Strait creating storm surge.

This could be the heaviest snowfall event since 01 March when 14 cm fell.

March 2020 – Warm and dry

Irishtown Reservoir, Moncton, 15 March 2020 (Dearing)

Much less rain and snow fell in Greater Moncton during March even though precipitation was recorded on 23 days.

Only 10 mm of rain and 32 cm of snow fell with the normals being 49 mm and 65 cm respectively.

Warm daytime highs were scarce – the thermometer failed to reach 10°C – but temperatures were actually slightly above average overall.

The coldest weather occurred during the first few days of spring with a minimum of -13.8°C on 23 March.

MARCH 2020 ALMANAC (at Greater Moncton Int’l Airport, 1981-2010)

Average HIGH 2.4°C

Average LOW -6.3°C

AVERAGE -2.0°C (about 0.9 degrees ABOVE normal)

Extreme HIGH 9.4°C (28 Mar)

Extreme LOW -13.8°C (23 Mar)

RAINFALL 10.7 mm (about 80 percent BELOW normal)

SNOWFALL 34.6 cm (about 50 percent BELOW normal)

(Data courtesy Environment Canada)

Warm front brings record highs

Radar image at 9pm ADT, 10 March 2020 (Microsoft)

A slow moving warm front has brought precipitation and varying temperatures to the Maritimes.

About 15 cm of snow was expected in the north, while freezing rain and ice pellets fell in central areas and rain in the south.

Temperatures also ranged from well below freezing in northwestern New Brunswick to as high as 15°C in southwestern Nova Scotia.

Meantime, the thermometer has been rising in Greater Moncton over the past 24 hours with snow, ice pellets, freezing rain and now rain.

Record highs from 09 March (courtesy Environment Canada):

  • Kejumkujik National Park, 14.9°C beats old record 14.3°C from 2002.
  • Grand Manan Island, 10.4°C beats old record 9.9°C from 2012.

February 2020 – Cold yet above normal

Ducks on ice, Irishtown Nature Park, Moncton, 29 Feb 2020 (Dearing)

Some of the coldest lows yet this winter were recorded in February yet the mean monthly temperature in Greater Moncton was actually above normal based on the 30-year average.

Four overnight lows dropped to -20°C or lower with a frigid -24.4°C on 15 Feb which was the coldest minimum in five years (since February 2015).

Eleven days were below freezing but daytime highs climbed above freezing during the final week of the month.

Three major storms brought above normal snowfall but a scant 1.0 mm of rain was recorded which was well below the average of 28 mm.

FEBRUARY 2020 ALMANAC (at Greater Moncton Int’l Airport, 1981-2010)

Average HIGH -1.0°C

Average LOW -11.4°C

AVERAGE -6.2°C (about 1.4 degrees ABOVE normal)

Extreme HIGH 7.3°C (24 Feb)

Extreme LOW -24.4°C (15 Feb)

RAINFALL 1.0 mm (substantially BELOW normal)

SNOWFALL 71.2 cm (slightly ABOVE normal)

(Data courtesy Environment Canada)