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 spring day

Finally some warmth!

Southeast New Brunswick is trending slightly above normal for March but real heat has been absent until this weekend.

Greater Moncton reached 9.4°C which was a monthly high.

While Prince Edward Island and Cape Breton Island were cooler, some parts of the Maritimes got into the double digits.

Liverpool, Nova Scotia hit 13.9°C while Saint John recorded 10.5°C.

Remember the Great March Heat Wave?

Parlee Beach, NB, 22 March 2012

Early spring is not known as being particularly warm in New Brunswick, but the early days of spring in March 2012 were a rare exception.

For three consecutive days, the thermometer soared into the 20’s Celsius in Southeast New Brunswick breaking record highs and culminating in an unbelievable all-time monthly maximum of 26.1°C on 22 March 2012.

Beachgoers flocked to the coast to take advantage of the summer-like conditions and some at Parlee Beach even took a dip in the Northumberland Strait despite ice patches still floating in the water.

Although temperatures have been near normal so far this month, Greater Moncton has yet to crack 10°C.

Spring arrives

Courtesy Accuweather.com

The spring or vernal equinox arrived at 12:50am ADT in New Brunswick which marks the moment when the Sun is directly above the equator as it continues to move northward.

Days are now about equal in length to nights and the amount of daylight will continue to increase until the first day of summer in June.

Spring may be here officially but consistent warmth is usually delayed in the Maritimes thanks to the surrounding cold ocean waters.

So far this March in Greater Moncton, temperatures have been close to normal overall but precipitation has been well below average.

NB River Watch Launches

Flooding in Fredericton, 24 Apr 2019 (GNB/Yerxa)

It’s a sure sign of spring…

New Brunswick’s annual program monitoring the status of rivers, ice jams and other flood issues officially launched today.

Historic flooding in 2018 and 2019 devastated many communities along the St. John River although individuals and municipal governments were better prepared last year.

Higher than normal water levels forced the closure of the Trans-Canada Highway between Fredericton and Moncton for almost a week and even longer the year before.

Officials say a variety of factors contribute to flooding including precipitation, snow pack, air temperatures and river ice.

Deadly tornadoes hit Tennessee

A series of deadly tornadoes blew through the southern state of Tennessee early Tuesday morning with much of the destruction concentrated in Nashville and nearby Putnam County.

Authorities believe up to 25 people have been killed in the twisters and many others have been reported missing.

More than 100 buildings including homes and businesses were either damaged or destroyed.

Many residents were asleep during the strong storms and those who were awake had only a few minutes warning.

Spring 2020 forecast unveiled

Spring 2020
The Weather Network has unveiled its spring forecast for the months of March, April and May.

Recent spring-like weather in New Brunswick has made many wonder when the real season will arrive.

TWN meteorologist Doug Gilham expects we should still expect some wintry weather during March which is not unusual but he thinks temperatures should be near normal for the three month period.

Gilham believes it will be a wet season overall with above normal precipitation especially rainfall.

Last year, spring was very late and cold weather just wouldn’t let go.

Snow was recorded as late as 21 May in Greater Moncton.

Groundhogs send mixed messages

Shubenacadie Sam sees his shadow, Shubenacadie, NS, 02 Feb 2020 (Twitter)

The first marmot in North America to make a weather prediction on Groundhog Day was Nova Scotia’s Shubenacadie Sam who saw his shadow early today which means another six weeks of winter.

However, Ontario’s Wiarton Willie and Pennsylvania’s Punxsutawney Phil didn’t see their respective shadows hence an early spring is expected.

So which groundhog do we believe?

The annual tradition originated in Germany and traces its roots to religion rather than science.

Environment Canada notes how data over the last 30 to 40 years shows that the groundhogs have only been correct about 37 percent of the time.

But admittedly, it’s a fun way to mark the midpoint of winter whether or not it wraps up early or drags on into spring.

Canada’s Top 10 Weather Stories 2019

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Hurricane Dorian damage in Halifax’s west end, 08 Sept 2019 (NS Power)

Canada is a land of weather extremes and this year has been no exception with frigid winter cold and stifling summer heat which brought wildfires, flooding, snowstorms and hurricanes.

Environment Canada has compiled its annual list for 2019:

  1. Another record Ottawa River flood
  2. Destructive hurricane season especially Dorian
  3. Snowy Prairie autumn
  4. Bitterly cold February nationwide
  5. Record heat continues in the Arctic
  6. Too dry early, too wet later on Prairies
  7. Blustery Halloween in the East
  8. Spring never arrives in Eastern Canada
  9. More flooding along the St. John River
  10. Fewer wildfires but more hectares burned

Here are some weather highlights for Atlantic Canada:

  • New Year’s Day takes Newfoundland by storm
  • January Maritime storm included every type of weather
  • Winter storm forces Moncton residents outside
  • February storm causes road closures in Labrador
  • Pre-Valentine’s storm across the Maritimes
  • March starts out stormy in Nova Scotia
  • Newfoundland’s icebergs please tourists and locals
  • October “weather bomb” drops lots of rain

Growing seasons in Greater Moncton

Growing Season

Data courtesy Environment Canada

After taking a look at the past seven growing seasons in Greater Moncton including 2019, the last freezing temperature in Greater Moncton in the spring has been recorded from a month-long period from early May to early June.

Meantime in the fall, the first freezing temperature has been recorded from a month-long period from mid-September to mid-October.

The total number of days above freezing during the growing season has ranged from as little as 111 days to as many as 155 days – a difference of more than one month.