Extreme cold warning

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A portion of Niagara Falls has frozen over, along Canada-US border, 31 Dec 2017 (Instagram)

Environment Canada issued an extreme cold warning today for most of New Brunswick with frigid temperatures and moderate winds bringing bitter wind chills between -30 and -36 on New Year’s Day and 02 January.

From Yukon to Quebec, extreme cold warnings have been posted prompting many cities including Toronto and Ottawa to cancel some New Year’s Eve festivities or move events indoors.

In Calgary, zoo officials say it’s been so cold even the penguins have been brought inside.

Claresholm, Alberta set a new record low of -41.8 C and Brooks was close behind at -40.5 C.

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Canada’s Top 10 Weather Stories 2017

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Icy road on the Acadian Peninsula, 27 Jan 2017 (Twitter)

Canada had the eighth warmest period in 70 years of reporting weather in 2017, with temperatures averaging 1.4°C above normal.

From a list of 100 significant weather events across the country, Environment Canada picked the top 10 weather stories of the year:

1. Long and destructive summer wildfire season in British Columbia

2. Hot and dry summer in the West from Interior BC to Manitoba

3. Spring flooding in Quebec and Ontario

4. Cold and snowy winter in BC including Lower Mainland and Vancouver Island

5. More heavy rain and flooding in Southwestern Ontario during late August

6. Cool and wet summer in Central Canada

7. Heavy snow cripples Ontario and Quebec in mid-March

8. Record heat across Eastern Canada during September

9. Blizzards hit Newfoundland in March and April

10. Lengthy ice storm impacts New Brunswick in late January

Bitter cold coast to coast

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Frigid temperatures across Canada, observed 8am AST 28 Dec 2017

This is Canada and we know it gets cold in the winter but the bitter Arctic air which has enveloped almost the entire country is a bit unusual so early in the season.

Environment Canada says the size of the cold wave – from interior British Columbia to Atlantic Canada – and the duration of the frigid weather are exceptional for late December.

Meteorologists say 1993 was the last time there was a similar cold spell between Christmas and New Year’s.

Only the coast of British Columbia will escape the worst but even there, daytime temperatures will barely climb above freezing.

Record highs in Alberta

Residents of Alberta were golfing rather than skiing this weekend as chinook-like weather brought record high temperatures.

On 09 December, Calgary set a new record of 15.4 C which broke the old record by one full degree from 1890.

The normal daytime high for Calgary is -1 C with an overnight low of -13 C.

Other records were set in Claresholm which hit a summer-like 20.3 C while Sundre reached 16.3 C.

Environment Canada says double digit highs are likely for at least the next few days.

Meteorological winter begins

EC winter

Most Canadians know winter, astronomically speaking, begins around 21 December but we know the season actually gets underway weeks before then.

Meteorologists like to package winter into neat three month blocks which is why 01 December marks the start of meteorological winter and 28 February marks the end.

In its three month outlook, Environment Canada expects most of New Brunswick will have above normal temperatures and near normal precipitation.

A large swath of the Arctic will likely be warmer than usual while Ontario and the southern Prairies will have higher amounts of rain and snow compared to normal.

Cold nights in NB

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A sunny but cold morning in west end Moncton, 13 Nov 2017 (Dearing)

Clear skies and an Arctic air mass lowered temperatures in Greater Moncton to a chilly -9.0 C on November 12th and 13th.

Recent data shows temperatures that low (within 2 and 3 degrees of record lows) typically don’t occur until later in the month and the thermometer failed to climb above freezing on the 12th which is also earlier than normal.

A new record low was set at the Saint John Airport when it fell to -11.3 C on the 12th.

Quite a contrast from just a week ago when several communities in New Brunswick climbed into the low 20s Celsius.

Dramatic drop in temperature

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Irishtown Reservoir, Moncton, 05 Nov 2017 (Dearing)

Autumn has made an abrupt return to Southeast New Brunswick.

The passage of a cold front lowered daytime highs in Greater Moncton from a near record of 19.3 C to a below seasonal high of 5.2 C over the past 24 hours.

Temperatures are poised to drop even lower later this week when the first blast of Arctic air this season moves into the Maritimes.

Environment Canada is forecasting a low of -7 C by early Saturday which will likely mean a hard, killing frost for any remaining sensitive vegetation.

Record highs across Maritimes 

Wildflowers and annuals in northeast Moncton, 03 Nov 2017 (Dearing)


A warm southerly flow allowed temperatures in the Maritimes to climb into the low 20s C yesterday with record highs broken in all three provinces. 

Bouctouche was the hot spot in New Brunswick at 21.1 C which was the same record high set at St. Peters, Prince Edward Island. 

Greenwood, Nova Scotia reached a summer-like maximum of 25.5 C which was the warmest in Canada. 

A new high was also set at the Greater Moncton International Airport at 19.7 C edging out a record from 1999. 

After a cold front moved through the region with some much needed rain, temperatures fell back to more seasonal values. 

October 2017 – Second warmest since 1881

Many trees are losing leaves in west end Moncton, 27 Oct 2017 (Dearing)

October often felt like August in Greater Moncton with 12 days reaching daytime highs of 20 C or higher.

Environment Canada says only October 1913 was slightly warmer since records began in 1881.

Temperatures did fall below freezing on 7 days with some scattered frost but the month escaped a hard frost and vegetation continued to flourish.

Rainfall was more than 30 percent below normal in Southeast New Brunswick continuing a prolonged dry period which began in early summer.

OCTOBER 2017 ALMANAC (at Greater Moncton Int’l Airport, 1981-2010)

Average HIGH 17.7 C

Average LOW 5.0 C

AVERAGE 11.4 C (about 3.8 degrees ABOVE normal)

Extreme HIGH 23.7 C (08 Oct)

Extreme LOW -1.8 C (13 Oct)

RAINFALL 76.5 mm (about 30 percent BELOW normal)

(Data courtesy Environment Canada)

Warm Thanksgiving weekend

Aboiteau Beach, Cap-Pele, NB, 08 Oct 2017 (Dearing)

The jet stream brought warm southerly air into the Maritimes allowing temperatures in Southeast New Brunswick to climb into the 20s this Thanksgiving weekend.

Environment Canada says Greater Moncton reached a daytime high of 20.2 C on 07 October, 23.7 C on 08 October (near the record of 23.9 C from 1970), and 22.9 C on 09 October.

Given the autumn warmth, I couldn’t resist a visit to Aboiteau Beach (and neither could a handful of others) which was near 24 C under a mostly cloudy sky and it was quite windy.

Greenwood, Nova Scotia was the hot spot in Canada hitting 26 C for two days in a row.