Wild roller coaster ride along the Rocky Mountains

Snow near Caroline, AB, 07 Sept 2020 (Twitter/@Chris_Ravary)

A sharp dip in the jet stream led to a dramatic temperature drop along the Rockies from Alberta to Colorado.

A cold rain changed to snow in Calgary and about 15 cm was measured at some ski resorts.

Denver saw a swing of 30 degrees Celsius in less than 24 hours and snow fell for only the second time on record in early September.

Snow accumulation was also expected in the states of Wyoming and Montana.

Forecasters are calling for a return to warmer weather later this week.

How dry is it?

Drought

Yellow/brown areas show dry to moderate drought conditions, 01 June 2020 (Agriculture Canada)

Most of New Brunswick is extremely dry and has been for months which is a big concern for agriculture.

Environment Canada data shows winter snowfall was about 20 percent below normal in Greater Moncton and precipitation has been below average every month since March.

June rainfall was only one-third of normal and the last major amount – 21.3 mm – fell on 12 June which was just prior to a prolonged heat wave.

Prior to that, 09 May is the previous date with appreciable precipitation – 14.1 mm – which also included some snow!

Farmers in Southeast New Brunswick – already coping with a pandemic – say the drought has put many crops including potatoes in danger and without irrigation total losses can be expected.

In addition, a strawberry farmer notes how a light frost earlier this month (10 June) caused some damage with many berries in bloom at the time.

May 2020 – Cool and dry

Irishtown Nature Park reservoir, 05 May 2020 (Dearing)

For the last few years, May in Southeast New Brunswick has been colder than normal and this year was no exception.

A new record high was set during a mini heat wave at month’s end which was enough to boost temperatures to just slightly below average.

Snow fell as late as the 12th and rain was scant which led to a dry month overall.

Frost was recorded on the 24th which is close to the last average date in Greater Moncton – if it is the last frost of spring.

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

Average HIGH 16.6°C

Average LOW 3.0°C

AVERAGE 9.8°C (slightly BELOW normal)

Extreme HIGH 31.5°C (28 May)

Extreme LOW -1.3°C (23 May)

RAINFALL 40.4 mm (about 60 percent BELOW normal)

SNOWFALL 4.5 cm (slightly ABOVE normal)

(Data courtesy Environment Canada)

April 2020 – Where’s spring?

First dandelions of spring in Moncton, 30 Apr 2020 (Dearing)

Signs of spring were extremely rare in April with frigid overnight lows in Greater Moncton making it feel like a continuation of March.

Any warmth came in short spurts with only 11 days above 10°C and some nights sank as low as -5°C right up to the end of the month.

Like the previous month, April was also quite dry with both rainfall and snowfall amounts well below average.

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

Average HIGH 8.3°C

Average LOW -2.4°C

AVERAGE 3.0°C (about 0.5 degrees BELOW normal)

Extreme HIGH 15.7°C (30 Apr)

Extreme LOW -6.3°C (09 Apr)

RAINFALL 19.2 mm (about 70 percent BELOW normal)

SNOWFALL 19.8 cm (about 35 percent BELOW normal)

(Data courtesy Environment Canada)

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)

Winter 2019-20 in Review

Data courtesy Environment Canada

Meteorological winter in Greater Moncton covering the months of December, January and February proved to be almost two degrees above normal compared to the 30-year average.

The warmest temperatures were recorded in December while frigid weather in February saw the coldest low in five years.

Precipitation was about 25 percent below normal with little snow in December and barely any rain in February.

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)