BC Highway 97 near Fort Nelson, 19 Aug 2019 (Drive BC/Twitter)
Residents of northern British Columbia were shocked to wake up to snow this morning – an estimated 50 cm in some areas.
Environment Canada says cold Arctic air combined with moisture from the Pacific was responsible for the winter-like conditions in late summer.
Fort Nelson received a mix of rain and snow while higher elevations of 1,000 metres or more saw mainly snow.
Historical data shows measurable snow is likely in Fort Nelson in every month except July.
By contrast on Monday, Kamloops in the Okanagan Valley – about 1300 km south – reached a daytime high of 31°C.
A thunderstorm with snow is called thundersnow and it struck the British Columbia Interior just two days before the start of summer!
An unstable air mass bringing cold air from Alaska is to blame for the rare thundersnow which covered mountainous terrain in the Okanagan Valley with about 10 cm.
Snow fell above 1500 metres with a snow/rain mix down to 1100 metres and a chilly rain at sea level.
About 10 cm of snow was also expected in the Alberta Rockies from a similar system.
Meteorological spring in Southeast New Brunswick turned out to be colder and much wetter than normal compared to the 30-year average.
While March and April both had above normal temperatures, May was colder by a significant 2.4 degrees which brought down the overall seasonal average.
Rainfall was heavy in April and May and while snowfall was below normal for the three month period, the final snow flurries were spotted as late as 21 May.
Snow in Rexton, 21 May 2019 (S. Hudson/Facebook)
It snowed overnight in Southeast New Brunswick.
About 0.6 cm of wet snow was recorded at the Greater Moncton Airport and even higher accumulations around the region.
In recent history, I can’t recall a snowfall this late in the month of May.
With meteorological summer arriving in 10 days and astronomical summer in barely a month, I’ve concluded that 2019 is the “Year Without Spring”.
The cold, damp weather has impacted farmers who are at least two weeks behind in planting crops due to saturated fields.
Sidewalk patios are eerily empty and winter parkas are still being worn by many.
A frost advisory has been posted for tonight and another one will likely be posted in two days as temperatures drop to near freezing again overnight.
Will the weather improve anytime soon?
A high of 20°C is forecast for Saturday but keep in mind we often hit 30°C before the beginning of June.
Glorious sunset in NE Moncton, 22 Apr 2019 (Dearing)
Spring can be the most disappointing season of the year in New Brunswick and April 2019 was no exception with cloudy, cool and often wet conditions.
Surprisingly, Greater Moncton was close to normal in temperature but double the average amount of rain fell along with slightly more snow than usual.
Melting snow and heavy precipitation led to more disastrous flooding along the St. John River – almost as bad as last year’s historic water levels.
Only one day was fully below freezing and while nights weren’t that cold, daytime highs often struggled to reach the double digits.
APRIL 2019 ALMANAC (at Greater Moncton Int’l Airport, 1981-2010)
Average HIGH 8.1°C
Average LOW -1.0°C
AVERAGE 3.6°C (near normal)
Extreme HIGH 18.9°C (21 Apr)
Extreme LOW -6.0°C (08 Apr)
RAINFALL 122.5 mm (about 100 percent ABOVE normal)
SNOWFALL 32.8 cm (slightly ABOVE normal)
(Data courtesy Environment Canada)
A snowy sidewalk in Calgary, 27 April 2019 (Instagram/machadogiselia)
A strong low pressure system brought snow and strong winds to Alberta creating poor visibility and even thunderstorms and a possible tornado were reported.
Emergency officials scrambled to respond to more than 120 road crashes in Calgary on Sunday due to slippery, treacherous conditions after about 15 cm snow fell.
The spring blizzard continued to move across the Prairies where it dumped up to 45 cm on southwestern Saskatchewan including the Cypress Hills area.
The storm crossed into Manitoba with as little as 5 cm in the southeast to about 30 cm in the southwest.
Snow in west end Moncton, 09 April 2019 (Dearing)
Real winter weather in New Brunswick started early – back in mid-November – and the relentless season hangs on.
Greater Moncton recorded 7 cm of snow overnight with more than 10 cm in southwestern New Brunswick and western Nova Scotia.
The strong April sun had melted most it by the end of the day.
But another weak system tonight could bring another 4 cm.
Warmer weather is on the way with Environment Canada forecasting highs in the double digits by the weekend.
Irishtown Nature Park, Moncton, 31 Mar 2019 (Dearing)
March seemed quite cold overall in Southeast New Brunswick especially given some frigid overnight lows during the first ten days of the month.
Daytime highs improved dramatically after that culminating with a maximum of 16.8°C on the 31st.
However, only two days recorded temperatures with both highs and lows above freezing.
The month was also very dry with less than half of the normal rainfall and snowfall received.
MARCH 2019 ALMANAC (at Greater Moncton Int’l Airport, 1981-2010)
Average HIGH 2.4°C
Average LOW -7.4°C
AVERAGE -2.5°C (about 0.4 degrees ABOVE normal)
Extreme HIGH 16.8°C (31 Mar)
Extreme LOW -18.7°C (08 Mar)
RAINFALL 26.4 mm (about 50 percent BELOW normal)
SNOWFALL 35.6 cm (about 50 percent BELOW normal)
(Data courtesy Environment Canada)
Magnolia tree in bloom, downtown Moncton, spring 2018 (Dearing)
The spring equinox officially arrived at 6:58pm ADT in the Northern Hemisphere which marks the moment when the Sun is directly above the equator as it moves northward.
The length of days are now roughly equal to the length of nights and the amount of daylight will continue to increase until the first day of summer on June 21st.
To mark the end of astronomical winter, here are a few highlights across Canada from the last three months:
- Record highs were set in Atlantic Canada just before Christmas with 12.8°C in Greater Moncton on 22 December.
- Edmonton broke numerous cold records during February with readings as low as -41.2°C and all but four days were in the minus 20’s and 30’s.
- Snowfall records fell in coastal British Columbia from 10-12 February with 69 cm in Nanaimo and 52 cm in Victoria – more than what is normally received in an entire winter season!
(Data courtesy Environment Canada)
Bomb cyclone centre in U.S. Midwest, 14 Mar 2019 (earth.nullschool.net)
A so-called bomb cyclone brought blizzard conditions to Colorado and now heavy rain, flooding and even tornadoes to the U.S. Midwest.
The weather bomb occurs when there is a rapid drop in atmospheric pressure over a 24 hour period.
Further north, the storm is dumping snow across Minnesota as it moves into northwestern Ontario.
Severe thunderstorm watches have been posted for Southern Ontario with strong winds expected along with heavy rain.
New Brunswick will the effects this weekend with significant rainfall and gusty winds in the forecast.