Cherry blossoms in Vancouver,BC,15 April 2017 (CityofVancouver/Twitter)
Canada’s so-called Left Coast may have the mildest winters in the country but along with that comes a lot of cloudy skies and precipitation mostly falling as rain.
After a colder and snowier than usual winter, Vancouver experienced a gloomy March with the least amount of sunshine since records began in 1951 and it rained 28 out of 31 days.
So it’s no wonder, the sight of beautiful pink and white cherry blossoms is causing traffic troubles with so many drivers and pedestrians stopping to admire them.
The peak bloom is a bit later than normal this year thanks to dismal weather causing the Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival to reschedule some events.
Snow finally melting in NE Moncton, 05 April 2017 (Dearing)
Good news… spring may finally be arriving!
Environment Canada says the recent winter-like grip over Southeast New Brunswick will finally give way to milder temperatures and rain beginning later this week.
Temperatures will finally climb into the double digits Celsius by Friday for the first time since 01 March!
Localized flooding is possible over ground which may still be frozen and in areas with a significant snow cover.
Another sign of a change in seasons is the return of many migratory birds in Greater Moncton this week with chirping sounds not heard in months.
Walking trail in Irishtown Nature Park, Moncton, 18 March 2017 (Dearing)
Winter just wouldn’t let go of its grip on Southeast New Brunswick during March.
Overnight lows were extremely cold especially during the first half of the month.
Daytime highs were often very chilly and barely climbed above freezing even during the last week.
Oddly enough, the maximum temperature in February was actually warmer than all of March.
Precipitation was below normal overall but snow did fall on 22 of 31 days.
MARCH 2017 ALMANAC (at Greater Moncton Int’l Airport, 1981-2010)
Average HIGH 0.3 C
Average LOW -9.0 C
AVERAGE -4.4 C (about 1.5 degrees BELOW normal)
Extreme HIGH 9.7 C (01 March)
Extreme LOW -20.1 C (11 March)
RAINFALL 17.6 mm (about 65 percent BELOW normal)
SNOWFALL 53.1 cm (about 20 percent BELOW normal)
(courtesy Environment Canada)
Still looks like winter in NE Moncton, 31 March 2017 (Dearing)
The temperature was warmer in the far north cities of Whitehorse and Yellowknife than it was in Greater Moncton.
The thermometer barely climbed above freezing today but at least the sun made an appearance after a five day absence.
Lots of cloud and frequent periods of snow have made the end of March look more like the beginning of January.
Environment Canada is not forecasting spring-like weather in the near future with another possible snowstorm by the middle of next week.
Ogilvie Brook, Irishtown Nature Park, Moncton, 18 March 2017 (Dearing)
The first week of spring has felt more like the dead of winter in Southeast New Brunswick.
Greater Moncton may have missed the brunt of two storms this week but extreme cold settled in behind them with a frigid -13.7 C on 23 March.
Half of the days so far this March have recorded well below freezing average temperatures.
Environment Canada is forecasting more chilly weather for the upcoming final week with even a chance of accumulating snow.
Ice melting in Irishtown Reservoir, Moncton, 18 Mar 2017 (Dearing)
After a stormy, rollercoaster winter in Southeast New Brunswick, spring will be especially welcomed today at 7:28am ADT.
The vernal or spring equinox is when the sun’s direct rays move north of the equator from the southern to the northern hemisphere.
At this time, the length of day and night are about equal and days will continue to lengthen until the summer solstice in June.
But winter is not over yet as Environment Canada says a low pressure system will bring snow to Nova Scotia and the possibility of freezing rain for Greater Moncton.
The last week of winter in New Brunswick has felt more like January than March but that frigid air is about to be replaced by a powerful Nor’easter forming off the U.S. Eastern Seaboard from two low pressure systems.
Overnight temperatures plunged to -20.1 C in Greater Moncton on the weekend which is close to a record low and daytime highs remained well below freezing with dangerous wind chills as low as -35 at times.
Environment Canada says heavy snow and winds creating blowing snow will move into southwestern New Brunswick Tuesday afternoon and spread to the remainder of the province in the evening.
Snow will likely change to rain by early Wednesday with most areas of the province expected to receive up to 30 cm of snow.
Before the storm reaches the Maritimes, forecasters say the Nor’easter could drop between 30 and 50 cm of snow in the U.S. Northeast from Washington DC to New York to Boston.
A blizzard buries front entrance of hotel in Churchill, MB, 09 March 2017 (Twitter)
Blizzards are not uncommon in late winter across the Prairie Provinces but the latest one to grip northern Manitoba lasted three days and dumped 60 cm snow in Churchill with winds up to 120 km/h creating enormous nine metre drifts.
Canada’s Polar Bear Capital declared a local state of emergency in an effort to gain resources from higher levels of government to help deal with the clean up.
Environment Canada says the blizzard in Churchill lasted 58 hours which was the third longest since 1953.
The fierce combination of snow and wind also stranded six people on a highway near Thompson for three days.
Cherry blossoms in bloom, Washington, DC, USA, 02 March 2017 (Instagram)
During January and February, the city of Chicago only had a few centimetres of snow with no measurable amount on the ground for the first time in 146 years.
Record highs were broken from New England to Texas where temperatures recently soared into the high 20’s C causing trees and flowers to bloom ahead of schedule.
The cherry blossoms in Washington, DC could reach their peak on 14 March which would be the earliest.since officials began keeping track in 1921.
Climatologists say much of the central and eastern United States had a very warm winter with February 2017 being the second warmest in 123 years of records.
UPDATE – The cherry blossoms in Washington, DC actually reached their peak on 25 March after being delayed by a cold snap and snow.
Members of the military go door to door in Lameque, NB, 31 Jan 2017 (JTFA/Twitter)
Members of the Canadian Armed Forces have been dispatched to the Acadian Peninsula to help in the cleanup following the recent ice storm.
Thousands are still without electricity in northeastern New Brunswick almost a week after the devastating storm.
About 200 members of the military are doing various tasks including going door to door in communities to check on residents who may still be in their homes.
NB Power describes this “crisis” event as being worse than Hurricane Arthur in 2014.