First storm of 2020

Heavy snow in St. John’s, NL, 06 Jan 2020 (Twitter/@kelseyhowlett93)

Just days into the new year, a low pressure system has brought mostly snow to Atlantic Canada especially near the ocean.

For most of Nova Scotia, it was winter’s first major snowfall with up to 15 cm at Halifax Stanfield Airport and nearly 40 cm in Sydney.

The storm grazed Greater Moncton with only 3 cm of snow.

After leaving the Maritimes, the system brought 42 cm snow to St. John’s, Newfoundland and 30 cm to the Burin Peninsula with a peak wind gust of 106 km/h in Bonavista.

Meantime, forecasters say another low pressure system is coming midweek.

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

Wind & rain cause damage

Roof damage at apartment building, Heather Way, 10 Dec 2019 (City of Saint John)

Strong winds and heavy rain from a strong low pressure system caused damage to properties and localized flooding in New Brunswick and Nova Scotia.

The Saint John area was hard hit with wind gusts up to 95 km/h which led to power outages and roof damage to at least two apartment buildings.

No one was hurt but all tenants were evacuated and assisted by the Red Cross.

Many roads were closed due to flooding or fallen trees and there were voluntary evacuations in Sussex in low lying areas.

The storm also brought mild, record-breaking temperatures with highs of 11°C in Edmundston and 12°C in Bathurst and Woodstock.

Greater Moncton hit 13.7°C but the record for 10 December was 15°C from 1957.

Rainfall totals (in mm) as of 8am on 10 December 2019:

  • Mechanic Settlement, NB  94 mm
  • Saint John Airport  63 mm
  • Kejimkujik NP, NS  53 mm
  • Dorchester, NB  50 mm
  • Yarmouth, NS  43 mm
  • Halifax (city)  48 mm
  • Fredericton  33 mm
  • Greater Moncton 26 mm

Peak wind gusts (km/h):

  • Cheticamp area, NS  135
  • Sydney  106
  • Halifax (Shearwater)  102
  • Saint John Airport  95
  • Lunenburg  92
  • Grand Manan, NB  89

(Data courtesy Environment Canada)

Heavy rain may cause flooding

Snow settles in Moncton, 05 Dec 2019 (Dearing)

The latest low pressure to invade the Maritimes is bringing heavy rain and strong winds to Southern New Brunswick and Northern Nova Scotia.

Environment Canada has issued a rainfall warning with up to 70 mm possible especially along the Fundy coast and strong winds gusting up to 90 km/h.

Meteorologists say that much rain is a lot for frozen ground to absorb and along with an existing snowpack could create localized flooding.

After a few days with below freezing temperatures, the small amount of snow in Greater Moncton has been taken away by the rain and a mild high of 12°C.

The forecast is calling for much colder air behind this system with some snow likely on Wednesday.

Frost advisory!

Desmoiselles Beach, Hopewell Rocks, 12 May 2019 (Dearing)

The Victoria Day long weekend marks the unofficial start of the summer season in Canada when opening up the cottage or camping are on the agenda.

However, many residents are still wearing heavy, winter jackets and gloves as daytime highs struggle to reach 10°C in Southeast New Brunswick.

The normal maximum in Greater Moncton is about 18°C but the long range forecast shows it won’t be that warm for another six days!

Environment Canada has issued a frost advisory for all of New Brunswick and most of mainland Nova Scotia as the overnight low drops to near freezing.

On the upside, the advisory means the growing season is now officially underway but on the downside, it’s not warm enough to plant anything.

“Sprinter” continues

Snowflakes falling in NE Moncton, 14 May 2019 (Dearing)

Sprinter is a portmanteau of spring and winter which aptly describes the recent weather in Southeast New Brunswick.

Already mid-May, Environment Canada indicates Greater Moncton is running about three degrees below normal for the month.

Snow mixed in with rain last night and 0.6 cm was recorded at the airport.

Today’s daytime high was 5.3°C and the forecast shows little change for tomorrow.

The Victoria Day long weekend is expected to bring some sunshine but temperatures will remain below seasonable.

Winter won’t let go!

Snow in west end Moncton, 09 April 2019 (Dearing)

Real winter weather in New Brunswick started early – back in mid-November – and the relentless season hangs on.

Greater Moncton recorded 7 cm of snow overnight with more than 10 cm in southwestern New Brunswick and western Nova Scotia.

The strong April sun had melted most it by the end of the day.

But another weak system tonight could bring another 4 cm.

Warmer weather is on the way with Environment Canada forecasting highs in the double digits by the weekend.

Finally above freezing!

Tracks on frozen reservoir in Irishtown Nature Park, Moncton, 10 March 2019 (Dearing)

For the first time in 12 days, the daytime high in Greater Moncton finally climbed above freezing with a balmy high of 1°C today!

The normal maximum for early March in Southeast New Brunswick is 2°C with a minimum of -8°C.

The last third of winter has been especially cold with overnights consistently below -10°C and even as low as -20.1°C early Friday.

However, there is some good news – Environment Canada is forecasting that the next five out of six days will have highs above freezing.

Deep snow cover across N.B.

NB map
This has been a very snowy winter across northern New Brunswick with Edmundston and Bas-Caraquet recording 114 cm of snow on the ground as of today (06 March).

Some unofficial reports have indicated a snow depth of more than 160 cm in some mountainous areas.

Southern New Brunswick also has plenty of snow but often it has been mixed with rain, freezing rain or ice pellets which have lowered accumulations.

Greater Moncton now sits at 53 cm (the most so far this season) and snowbanks are getting high enough to cause visibility issues at some intersections.

Plenty of snow near Caraquet, NB (Village Historique Acadian/IG)

Winter snowfall across Canada

TWN Snowmap

It has been quite a winter across Canada with no region reporting a shortage of snow.

Snowfall has been especially heavy in the West this season especially coastal British Columbia which usually sees only scant amounts.

Victoria, BC had almost 70 cm of snow in February – more than what typically falls all winter – even higher than snowy Moncton at nearly 60 cm last month.

While many areas of the West have already exceeded their snowfall amounts for an average winter, much of the East is still falling short of a normal season.

The deepest snowpack can be found in northern New Brunswick, central Quebec, Labrador, the Rockies and B.C.’s mountain ranges.