Icy weekend in Central Canada

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A tree falls onto an SUV in an ice storm, East York, Toronto, ON, 15 April 2018 (R. Johnston/Toronto Star)

A slow moving low pressure system brought a wintry mix of snow, ice pellets, freezing rain, rain and strong winds to Southern Ontario and Southern Quebec over the weekend.

Icy conditions led to more than 1,600 highway crashes, numerous power outages from falling trees and downed lines, cancelled flights, transit delays and school closures.

Officials were forced to close the CN Tower due to falling ice from the structure.

Here are some totals from the spring storm as of 16 April at 2pm EDT:

  • Toronto Pearson Airport – 18 hours of ice pellets, 6 hours of freezing rain, 12 cm ice pellets.
  • Toronto Billy Bishop Airport – Peak wind gust of 96km/h
  • London – 14 hours of freezing rain with ice pellets
  • Windsor – 6 hours of freezing rain
  • Hamilton – 11 hours of ice pellets, 6 hours of freezing rain and ice pellets, 8 hours of freezing rain
  • Ottawa – 9 hours of freezing rain Sunday, 6 hours of freezing rain Monday, wind gusts to 70 km/h
  • Montreal – 9 hours of freezing rain Saturday, 4 hours of freezing rain Sunday, 3 hours freezing rain Monday
  • Quebec City – 5 hours of freezing rain Monday

(Data courtesy Environment Canada)

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Where’s spring?

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Lingering snowbanks in NE Moncton, 09 April 2018 (Dearing)

Since the start of astronomical spring, the highest temperature in Greater Moncton has been 9.1 C and overnight lows have dropped to a near record low of  -8.8 C.

So many are asking when is it ever going to warm up in New Brunswick?

The Maritimes has recently found itself on the north side of the prevailing jet stream which has allowed cold, Arctic air to sink south.

Environment Canada says the temperature should finally climb to at least 10 C by Friday.

Keep in mind, the first 20 C reading of the season was 12 April in 2017 while it was 21 April in 2016.

March 2018 – Stormy!

Winter storm

Whiteout conditions during a winter storm, west end Moncton, 08 March 2018 (Dearing)

Although March came in like a lamb, it behaved like a lion in the days to follow with four Nor’easters over two weeks in Southeast New Brunswick.

The first storm brought 15 cm, the second and third storms each delivered 16 cm and the fourth packed the biggest punch with 30 cm.

By 23 March, the snow cover in Greater Moncton had reached 40 cm which was the heaviest of the winter even though it was already spring.

Temperatures during the first half were mild averaging near the freezing point with brief cold snaps around the middle and near the end of the month.

MARCH 2018 ALMANAC (at Greater Moncton Int’l Airport, 1981-2010)

Average HIGH  1.3 C

Average LOW  -4.7 C

AVERAGE  -1.7 C (about 1.2 degrees ABOVE normal)

Extreme HIGH  9.1 C (29 Mar)

Extreme LOW  -15.4 C (26 Mar)

RAINFALL  11.0 mm (almost 80 percent BELOW normal)

SNOWFALL  102.3 cm (about 40 percent ABOVE normal)

(Data courtesy Environment Canada)

Freezing fog!

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Freezing fog in Summerside, PEI, 27 March 2018 (Twitter)

Residents of Southeast New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island woke up to freezing fog this morning.

This occurs when water droplets develop during fog and freeze instantly when temperatures are below freezing.

The last three early mornings in Greater Moncton have been below -10°C and have dropped to a near record low of -15.4°C.

With nearly 40 cm of snow on the ground, this is the heaviest cover of white this winter season – keeping in mind this is now early spring.

Nor’easter number four!

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Moncton’s west end after the latest Nor’easter, 23 March 2018 (Dearing)

It seems a bit strange the largest single snowfall this winter in Greater Moncton actually occurred on the second full day of spring.

Environment Canada says Southeast New Brunswick hit the snow jackpot from the fourth Nor’easter this month with more than 30 cm recorded.

A storm on 30 January was the previous snowfall event winner with almost 25 cm.

Strong winds were also a factor in this storm gusting at times to 82 km/h.

Here are some other snowfall totals:

  • Kentville, NS  24 cm
  • Alma, NB  20 cm
  • Yarmouth, NS  18 cm
  • Sussex, NB  17 cm
  • Charlottetown, PEI  12 cm
  • Halifax Stanfield Airport, NS  11 cm
  • Bathurst, NB  8 cm
  • Saint John, NB  6 cm

Another Nor’easter nails U.S. Northeast

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A snowbound U.S. Capitol building, Washington DC, 21 March 2018 (Twitter)

The fourth snowstorm this March struck the American Northeast during the first full day of spring with its biggest fury in a stretch from Washington, DC to New York City.

About 10 to 15 centimetres of snow fell in the American capital which was the heaviest this winter and the latest March storm since 1964.

New York City’s Central Park recorded almost 20 cm which pushed the seasonal total above 75 cm for the fifth straight winter.

The Nor’easter didn’t pack much of a punch for Boston – less than 5 cm – but it is heading toward the Maritimes.

Spring arrives in New Brunswick!

Spring equinox

Courtesy Accuweather.com

Another long and dark winter is finally over – at least astronomically speaking anyway!

The vernal equinox officially arrived at 1:15pm ADT in New Brunswick marking spring as the length of day equals the length of night.

But forecasters say winter weather is not over yet with the fourth Nor’easter in two weeks expected to hit the Maritimes on Thursday.

Environment Canada says spring-like weather may not arrive until month’s end or early April.

So much for Shubenacadie Sam’s prediction of an early spring!

Ontario heat!

It felt more like mid-spring than late winter across Southern Ontario today.

A mild air mass combined with strengthening February sunshine to set new record highs in the region.

Environment Canada reports April-like maximums for 28 February:

  • Sarnia,  16.8 C, old record 15.1 C from 2016
  • Toronto Pearson Airport,  16.2 C, old record 14.0 C from 2016
  • Windsor,  16.1 C, old record 13.6 C from 2017
  • London,  15.1 C, old record 14.2 C from 2016
  • Kitchener-Waterloo,  15.0 C, old record 12.4 C from 2016

TWN unveils spring forecast

TWN spring

The Weather Network has taken a look ahead at the months of March, April and May for Atlantic Canada…

While it has been a relatively mild winter across the region, winter will still have several parting shots, including the threat for a few Nor’easters.

For some places, the biggest snowfall of the year could still be on the horizon (keep in mind the context – some areas have not had a classic winter storm).

Back and forth temperature swings should come close to offsetting, but with more potential for warmth to outweigh the periods of colder weather.

An active storm track will tap into subtropical moisture at times and bring above normal precipitation to most of the region through the spring season.

Feels like spring in N.B.

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A snow free downtown Moncton, 28 Jan 2018 (Dearing)

With a daytime high of 7 C, it felt more like spring than midwinter along the Riverfront Trail in Moncton today.

Skateboarders instead of snowshoers were found along with joggers in shorts and T-shirts and a group having a picnic in the late afternoon sun.

A lack of snow cancelled numerous winter activities this weekend and ski resorts put snowmaking machines into overdrive to open just a handful of runs.

Environment Canada says winter is returning with a low pressure system arriving Tuesday with up to 15 cm of snow possible in Southeast New Brunswick.