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.

Quiet forest fire season in N.B.

Forest Fire

Forest fire near River Glade, NB, 07 May 2013 (Dearing)

A wet, cold spring and a dry, humid July have led to one of the quietest forest fire seasons in recent memory in New Brunswick.

Statistics show 152 fires for the season to date which compares to 206 fires over the past ten years.

Last year was also much busier with 242 fires recorded by the middle of August.

Provincial wildfire officials say although July was warmer than normal, high humidity levels helped prevent fires from starting and from spreading.

June 2019 – Mild and wet

Strawberry plant in blossom after rain, NE Moncton, 29 June 2019 (Dearing)

The average monthly temperature for June in Greater Moncton was at least close to normal compared to a damp, cold May.

While daytime highs climbed to 20°C or higher on 20 days, significant heat was scarce and the thermometer didn’t even get close to 30°C.

Rainfall was heavier than normal – a measurable amount was recorded on 21 days – following a trend which began in early spring.

About three-quarters of the precipitation fell during the last ten days of the month.

JUNE 2019 ALMANAC (at Greater Moncton Int’l Airport, 1981-2010)

Average HIGH  21.0°C

Average LOW  8.8°C

AVERAGE  14.9°C (about 0.3 degrees BELOW normal)

Extreme HIGH  26.0°C (19 June)

Extreme LOW  2.8°C (01 June)

RAINFALL  128.9 mm (almost 30 percent ABOVE normal)

(Data courtesy Environment Canada)

Hello summer!

The summer solstice officially arrived in New Brunswick at 12:54 pm ADT and it was certainly welcome after a relentlessly cold spring.

Greater Moncton enjoyed 15 hours and 46 minutes of daylight today but unfortunately the sun didn’t make an appearance due to lots of clouds and heavy rain.

The sun is directly over the Tropic of Cancer and it will now begin moving south toward the equator which means days will get shorter – ever so slowly starting tomorrow.

As for summer weather predictions, The Weather Network is suggesting warmer than normal temperatures in July and into August with near normal precipitation.

Environment Canada is calling for near normal temperatures and near to slightly above normal precipitation.

When will it reach 30°C?

First 30
It’s been a cold spring in Greater Moncton and the thermometer didn’t reach 20°C until 25 May – so when will it hit 30°C?

According to Environment Canada, the average date since 2013 has ranged from mid-May to late June but mainly late May.

While June has been warmer to date in Southeast New Brunswick, the long range forecast is calling for cooler conditions.

Will we have to wait until July this year?

Thundersnow in B.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.

Spring 2019 in review

Spring 2019
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.

Weather Network unveils summer forecast

TWN Summer 2019

After a cold and wet spring in New Brunswick, what will summer be like?

The Weather Network has unveiled its summer 2019 forecast and if you were hoping for warmer temperatures, it appears you may have to wait a little longer.

TWN suggests the season will be changeable and humid with cool weather in June but warmer than normal temperatures arriving in July stretching into August.

Extended periods of dry weather could lead to short term drought in parts of the Maritimes but overall precipitation will likely be near normal.

What about the spring 2019 forecast from The Weather Network?

TWN noted a cold wave in early March would be followed by a warmer pattern later in the month with more consistent spring-like weather by early April.

Both temperatures and precipitation were expected to be near normal.

So was the seasonal forecast accurate?

While early March was cold in Greater Moncton with a bitter low of -20.1 C, a warmer pattern never really developed except for a brief shot of warmth at month end.

April had some warmth in the middle but that fizzled near the end and while May started off strong, a cold pattern held steady for the second half of the month.

Precipitation was below seasonal in March, well above average in April and slightly above normal for May.

The Year Without Spring

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.