Friday, December 09, 2016

Cold here to stay in Montreal

The cold is here to stay in Montreal, with perhaps some mild air for Christmas Eve. Otherwise expect below freezing temperatures for the balance of the month. (AccuWeather)
Snow squalls Thursday night in Montreal dropped a quick 2 to 5cm of fresh snow on the city. In its wake, much colder air has arrived this morning, with temperatures in the -9C to -5C (16 to 23F) range across southern Quebec. Gusty northwest winds are making it feel even colder. Expect very little rise in the mercury today, with a cold night forecast into Saturday morning. Montreal and southern Quebec will likely see the coldest morning of the season, dropping to -15C (5F). The winter weather stretches from coast to coast this morning. Snow is forecast in Vancouver, with over 10cm expected. Bitter cold stretches across the Rockies into the Prairies, as cold as -30C (-22F). Across the Great Lakes, lake effect snow has dropped over 30cm in Ontario and New York, with more forecast today. The snow resulted in numerous multi-vehicle collisions in Michigan, Ohio and Pennsylvania.

Disruptive snow for Montreal for Monday commute
After Thursday's high of 3C (39F) in Montreal, I don`t see above freezing temperatures returning until Christmas Eve. Up until then, expect periods of snow along with a reinforcing shot of cold air next week. For the short-term, high pressure will nose into Quebec today with clearing skies and cold temperatures. The dry weather will persist into early Sunday. Late Sunday, low pressure and a warm front will approach southern Quebec. Expect a period of moderate snow into the Monday morning commute in Montreal. Current indications are for 10 to 15cm of snow, but it is another difficult forecast with multiple factors involved. After the snow, arctic air will arrive next week, with highs no better than -9C (16F) by Wednesday.

Tuesday, December 06, 2016

Montreal weather video of Monday commute goes viral

Above and below: Beaver Hall Hill at Viger Avenue was the scene of a slow-rolling pile-up on Monday. A video capturing the event has gone viral, with millions of views. (Video by Willem Shepherd)
A video featuring Montreal's finest, along with a couple of transit buses, cars and even a City of Montreal salt truck, has gone viral. The video, shot by Willem Shepherd, was taken overlooking Beaver Hall Hill near the corner of Viger and has been viewed over 15 million times in less than 24 hours. I follow numerous weather sites and major networks, and it appears to have been featured on all of them. No serious injuries were reported, but I am sure several egos were bruised.


The pile-up was part of a nasty, Monday-morning rush-hour across southern Quebec and northern New England. A respectable 5 to 10 cm of snow fell over the course of Monday.  However, it was not the amount that caused the problem, but the timing. The air temperature was rather chilly overnight in the region.  As the snow started falling, it initially melted on contact with the slightly warmer pavement and refroze immediately, creating widespread black ice. The hills in the city quickly became polished skating rinks during the height of the morning commute. Numerous accidents were also reported in other parts of Quebec, as well as Ontario and northern New York and Vermont.

More snow is forecast for the Wednesday-morning commute, as another weak warm front approaches the city. Less accumulation is forecast this time, with perhaps 2 or 3 cm for the city. The light snow will mix with rain in both Ottawa and Montreal on Wednesday. Temperatures will be mild through Thursday, before an arctic front approaches southern Quebec. Expect highs above freezing Wednesday, but dropping by Friday night to -11C (12F). While the air will turn much colder, it will not be the frigid conditions forecast over much of western Canada. Blizzard conditions are occurring in southern Manitoba, with dangerous windchill values in the minus 20s in Alberta and Saskatchewan.

Monday, December 05, 2016

Coldest air of the season sweeping across Canada

The forecast movement of the arctic air across North America this week. The coldest air of the season to date, will arrive in Montreal by Friday. (AccuWeather)
A burst of arctic air is rushing into western Canada this morning. The temperature in Isachsen, Nunavut is -38.7C, the coldest in the country. That Siberian air is currently moving south into Alberta and Saskatchewan. Temperatures will fall all day in Edmonton, down to -19C (-2F), with overnight lows in the minus 20s. The leading edge of cold air is producing moderate snow and blowing snow in southern Saskatchewan, with windchill values down into the -20s. The cold air will sweep across the entire country by next weekend.

Meanwhile, here in Montreal, light snow has made a mess of the Monday-morning commute. Numerous accidents, on slick highways, have created long delays getting into the city. The snow should taper off by noon, as weak low pressure slides east of Montreal. Accumulations will be in the 5 to 7cm range across the region. The high today will be around -2C (29F), with the low tonight under clearing skies near -3C (27F). High pressure briefly builds into southern Quebec on Tuesday, with some much needed sunshine. By Wednesday, another warm front will bring the chance for light snow or rain, as temperatures nudge above the freezing point. This will be short lived, as the aforementioned arctic front arrives late Thursday with a burst of snow and dropping temperatures. By next Saturday, the high in Montreal will only be around -8C (18F), with overnight lows approaching -18C (0F) in the region. As I have mentioned often, this December will bear no resemblance to last year. The cold weather will moderate slightly next week, but temperatures will remain at or below the normal high of -3C (27F).

Thursday, December 01, 2016

Welcome to the start of meteorological winter

Heavy wet snow has caused numerous accidents and power outages in Quebec City this morning. (Photo via Twitter @audebrassard)
December 1st is upon us... time to open your advent calendars, oh and prepare for winter. You would be forgiven this morning if you were not thinking about snow and cold, at least here in Montreal. The current temperature at my home on L'Ile Perrot is 8C (48F). The normal high should be 1C (33F). Heavy rain and strong winds spread across southern Quebec overnight. Some thunder and lightning was even observed across the border in Ontario. Northeast of Montreal, the rain transitions to heavy wet snow around Quebec City. Numerous power outages are being reported by Hydro Quebec. Snowfall in excess of 20cm is expected for portions of the lower St. Lawrence today.

Here in Montreal, the temperature will remain steady or slowly fall today, as strong low pressure moves from the Great Lakes into Quebec. The heaviest precipitation is east of Montreal, but scattered showers should persist for most of the day and even into Friday. Temperatures will remain above seasonal norms well into the weekend. The sun may make a brief appearance by Sunday.

December will turn much colder and snowier across most of Canada. This December will not be a repeat of the record-breaking one experienced in 2015. Arctic air is forecast to plunge into the Prairies by early next week, and then slowly spread east. Some snow and much colder weather is forecast for Montreal by next weekend.

A firestorm rages out of control in Gatlinburg, Tennessee early Wednesday morning. (Tennessee Highway Patrol)

Over the last 48 hours, very active weather has prevailed in many regions of the country. Freezing rain in Ontario and Quebec produced multiple accidents on Tuesday morning, some fatal. Heavy snow fell across portions of southwest Manitoba, southeast Saskatchewan and North Dakota. In some cases, over 30cm was reported. In the southern US Tuesday, a prolonged drought helped a wildfire spread out of control, engulfing the tourist town of Gatlinburg, Tennessee in the Smokey Mountains. The fire forced the rapid evacuation of 14,000 residents, sadly, with seven fatalities reported so far. Hundreds of structures, including a 16-storey hotel, were damaged or destroyed in the firestorm. Investigators fear the fire may have been human-caused. The misery continued on Wednesday, as a strong cold front produced heavy thunderstorms and tornadoes. The tornadoes resulted in at least three additional fatalities in the region.

Monday, November 28, 2016

Sunshine to make a brief appearance in Montreal

A transport truck lies on its side during 100km/h winds on the Seal Island Bridge in Cape Breton, Nova Scotia. A Nor'Easter produced heavy snow and rain on Sunday, from Atlantic Canada into far eastern Quebec. (NovaScotia.ca)
Welcome to my 2500th Blog Post. As always, thank you for stopping by. I appreciate your time, and enjoy talking about the weather so much, as I have since I was 10. Life has become a little challenging this year, so I do apologize for the breaks between posts at times.

November is living up to its reputation of being one of the cloudiest and dreariest months of the year. The last week has been solid proof of this in the St. Lawrence Valley, with low clouds, fog and mixed precipitation. Most of the snow that fell last week has melted away in the city. If you like the sun, try to get outside today. High pressure will nose into the region, with breaks of sunshine from time to time. Temperatures will be close to normal, with highs near 2C (36F).

The break from the poor weather will be brief, as clouds will be increasing overnight. Strong low pressure, developing in the central plains, will become our next weather maker. The storm is forecast to move from the Dakotas slowly into the Great Lakes, and eventually Quebec as the week progresses. A warm front will approach southern Quebec, overnight, with a period of mixed precipitation. Light rain and snow is possible, with perhaps a period of freezing rain, especially north of Montreal and in the Ottawa Valley. A second area of low pressure will develop along the northern Gulf Coast and move towards New England. All of this next system's precipitation will be in the form of plain rain for the balance of the week, as temperatures warm well above normal to between plus 6 and 8C (42 to 48F). Overnight lows for the week should remain above freezing as well.

Winter Tires!
Briefly looking ahead into December, early indications are for a cold and stormy period. Arctic air is poised to dive into the southern Prairies by next weekend and spread eastward into the Great Lakes. This will combine with an active storm track across the northern US and produce snow in Montreal during the first week of December. If you have not prepared your car or home for winter, take advantage of the mild week ahead to do so. I can guarantee you one thing, this December will not be anything like last year.

Monday, November 21, 2016

First winter storm splits southwest Quebec

Heavy snow fell on L'Ile Perrot late Sunday and overnight, with nearly 15cm reported. Only 5cm fell at Trudeau Airport. (ValleyWeather)
Strong low pressure, located near Quebec City this morning, will lift off towards the northeast today. Wrap-around moisture continues to impact southwest Quebec and Ontario, in the form of light snow. As expected, the rain changed to snow on Sunday, from west to east as the day progressed. It left a deep snow pack for some locations, with very little in the way of accumulations elsewhere. At my home on L'Ile Perrot, the rain changed to snow around 3:00pm. The snow fell steady for most of the evening, into the wee hours this morning. I measured a good 15cm (6 inches) of snow at 6:00am this morning, but higher amounts fell southwest of the city, in Valleyfield and across eastern Ontario.

The rain/snow split on the island of Montreal seems to have occurred around Trudeau Airport in Dorval, where 5cm fell, along with 10-15mm of rain. As you move west from the airport, the snow gets deeper; moving east it tapers off rather rapidly. The weight of the snow in my area has crushed some hedges and trees. Numerous power outages have also been reported by Hydro Quebec, with over 16,000 customers in the dark this morning. Most of these are located southwest of Montreal, and north of the Ottawa River. In Montreal, the morning commute is very slow. The major highways are in good shape, but most city streets are iced up. Light snow will continue today, with another 2-4cm possible. Gusty northwest winds will reach 40 to 60km/h, producing some blowing snow, especially along Highway 20 towards Ontario. Temperatures will be cold today, remaining steady near -1C (30F).

Sunday, November 20, 2016

The first snowfall of the season today in Montreal

AccuWeather radar shows the precipitation changing from rain (green) to snow (blue) across eastern Ontario and the Ottawa Valley early Sunday morning. The snow will spread into Quebec later today.
Temperatures are dropping rapidly this morning in Montreal, behind a potent cold front. At 7:30 am, the temperature was 2C (36F) here on L'Ile Perrot, down from 7C (45F) at midnight. Rain has started this morning and will gradually change to wet snow this afternoon. The snow will persist into Monday, with accumulations of 5 to 10cm (2 to 4 inches) forecast for the city. Heavier snow and blowing snow is expected across eastern Ontario and far western Quebec, including the 401 corridor towards Kingston. These regions are under a snowfall warning through Monday. Accumulations in those areas, including Ottawa, will be in the 15 to 30cm (6 to 12 inch) range. Gusty northwest winds are already reaching 70km/h in southern Ontario, spreading into eastern Ontario and southern Quebec later today. Winds of 30 to 70km/h will persist into Monday afternoon.

Low pressure located over northeast Ontario will move into central Quebec today. A second area of low pressure is currently developing over southern New England and will lift into eastern Quebec. Abundant moisture, along with cold northwest winds, will produce snow over the entire region. The snow will not taper off until late Monday. The temperature will fall to -2C (29F) tonight and rise only to 0C (32F) on Monday. The Monday-morning commute will be challenging in Montreal, to say the least. Give yourself plenty of extra time.