Sunday, July 05, 2015

Warm & humid summer week ahead for Montreal

A NASA image taken on July 4 shows smoke from the western Canadian wildfires spreading south and east into the US and Great Lakes. (The fires are the red dots while the thin, white almost translucent clouds are the smoke). 
Summer weather will finally make an appearance in southern Quebec and eastern Ontario this week. We may even record our second 30C high temperature of the year to date here in Montreal. High pressure today is trying to clear skies out, but a stubborn area of haze and smoke from the western wildfires is creating a hazy and milky sky. The temperature in Montreal is still quite warm, pushing 27C (81F). More hazy sunshine is forecast Monday with increasing humidity and a warm high of 30C (86F). Tuesday will be warm and humid with thunderstorms and a high of 29C (85F) in Montreal after a muggy low of 22C (72F). Wednesday looks the same at this point.

Strong thunderstorms brought some relief  from the high heat to Calgary but also produced tons of hail and flooding. (Photo Jim Wells via Twitter/TWN)
Western Fires
Intense wildfires are burning thousands of acres of land across a wide area of northern Saskatchewan, the Northwest Territories and parts of Alberta. Over 12,000 have been forced to evacuate especially in hard hit northern Saskatchewan near La Ronge. Western Canada has had a very hot an dry weather pattern for several weeks now. There was a break in the hot weather yesterday with a strong cold front producing heavy thunderstorms. There were reports of large hail, flooding and even tornadoes from southern Alberta including Calgary into southeast Saskatchewan. More storms are forecast today from Manitoba into the Dakotas and northwest Ontario. But the area that needs the rain the most remains very dry. Over 570 wildfires have been reported in Saskatchewan this year, nearly three times the amount reported last year at this time. The fires have destroyed nearly 40 homes. Smoke from the fires has spread acorns western Canada prompting numerous air quality advisories. The winds aloft have carried the smoke into the northern and central plains of the US and has even spread east into the Great Lakes and southern Quebec.

Thursday, July 02, 2015

Here comes the best stretch of summer weather so far

It was a very wet Canada Day in Montreal. (Canadian Press Photo)
That was one wet and miserable Canada Day across Ontario and Quebec. Heavy showers and thunderstorms put down 10-20mm of rain across the metro Montreal region, this falling on top of the nearly 140mm that occurred in June.

Other areas had even more rainfall with 41mm in Kemptville, Ontario in less than 24 hours, 53mm at Val Cartier and 72mm in Charlevoix. South of the border flooding was reported in Vermont and northern New York after more than 50mm fell in just a few hours. Burlington, Vermont has had over 1 foot of rainfall since mid-May. The rain did not dampen the spirits of those who attended the main Canada Day events in Montreal and Ottawa but many other municipalities decided to postpone theirs until the weekend.

We are now going to enter what will be our best stretch of summer weather this season. It should not be hard to reach that goal as most of June was damp and cool. Montreal had only two days in June officially above 27C (80F) and that was just barely at 27.1C. We have had only one 30C day this year. The high heat has been confined to western Canada and the southern US, and now even western Europe. High pressure will build into the region today and remain with us through the weekend. Temperatures will start off below normal today with a high of 23C (73F) but will rise into the high 20's over the weekend. By early next week daytime highs may push 30C (86F). It should remain sunny and dry through Sunday.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Widespread fires & searing heat west - showery east

Cities such as Saskatoon, Regina and Moose Jaw had terrible air quality on Monday from fierce fires burning in the NWT. (CTV News)
The same weather pattern remains locked in place across Canada as we approach the end of June. We have a big ridge of high pressure in the west pumping hot and dry air north from the desert southwest into B.C., Alberta and Saskatchewan. A deep trough exists in the east with frequent fronts, cooler and wet weather. Montreal and most of southern Quebec and Ontario can't seem to go more than day without some form of rain.

Smoke plumes generated by large forest fires in northern Canada drift south across western Canada and into the northern US. (NASA)
Meanwhile over 135 brush and forest fires  are burning across the NWT and northwest Saskatchewan producing dense smoke that has settled across Saskatchewan and into Montana and the northern US. On Monday many locations in Saskatchewan including Saskatoon, Moose Jaw and Regina had visibilities under 1km for much of the day. The smoke is generating very poor air quality, limiting outdoor activities as well as making driving dangerous. Temperatures have soared to over 35C (95F) in many locations with numerous all time June record highs broken in interior B.C. and Alberta. There is no relief in sight with hot weather forecast through the week across western Canada.

Here in Montreal sunshine today will allow for temperatures to rise into the middle 20's. Sadly another frontal system will bring showers and thunderstorms tonight into the Canada Day holiday. After a wet Wednesday with thunderstorms, high pressure will bring sunshine and warmer weather Thursday into this upcoming weekend..

Monday, June 29, 2015

The slow start to summer continues for Montreal

That was one miserable Sunday in southern Quebec and across most of our neighboring regions. I measured around 16mm of rain on Sunday bringing the monthly total up to a soggy 135mm, well above normal. Most of the region has had a very wet June with some localities in Vermont and New York reporting the wettest June on record. Burlington, Vermont is now listed at the 4th wettest on record with 8.62" (218mm) of rainfall. Sunday was also a cold day in the St. Lawrence Valley with gusty east winds and temperatures around 15C (60F) all day. The official high was 19C (66F) but that was shortly after midnight. Temperatures fell for the rest of the day.

The storm responsible for the nasty weather is lifting northeast across southern Quebec this morning with plenty of clouds and drizzle around. Some partial clearing will occur today but it will remain chilly with highs of only 19C. On Tuesday warmer air will move into Quebec but with an increase in clouds with showers and thunderstorms developing. The high will be 25C (77F). At this time Canada Day is expected to be cloudy with showers and thunderstorms but mild at 24C (76F).
A downed tree lies on a van in Lawrence, Massachusetts. (NWS Taunton)
Other parts of New England and eastern Canada had heavy rain and strong winds from the weekend storm. Numerous trees and power lines came down, some on cars. Thousands were left without power across New England and New York. High surf pounded beaches from Maine to New Jersey.

On the other side of the country searing heat and dry weather helped numerous forest fires spread across B.C and Alberta as well as northern Saskatchewan. Temperatures pushed over 40C (104F) in interior southern B.C. as well as southwest Alberta with middle the 30's into other portions of both provinces and southwest Saskatchewan.

Friday, June 26, 2015

Unsettled end to June across Northeast & Quebec

Low pressure will move from Ohio to near Montreal this weekend with heavy rain and wind. (AccuWeather)
I wish I had better news as we enter the final weekend of June, but sadly I don't. A big ridge in the west and dip in the east in the jet stream is keeping the warmest weather across western Canada. Temperatures will soar into the 30's across B.C., Alberta and Saskatchewan. Meanwhile Ontario and Quebec will remain at or below normal in the temperature department. Specifically here in Montreal we can expect a sunny day Friday with a high near 23C (74F). This is below the long term average by a few degrees. Sunshine will prevail Saturday with similar temperatures but clouds will be on the increase in the afternoon. The clouds will herald a rather vigorous system for late June that will move form the Ohio Valley slowly into southern Quebec on Sunday. This storm will tap into Gulf moisture and spread rain across the region. At this time rainfall amounts are expected to exceed 25mm. This will add to a very wet moth of June for Montreal as we have measured over 125mm (5 inches) of rainfall. The normal for June in Montreal should be around 87mm. In addition to the rain on Sunday, gusty winds in excess of 50km/h are forecast. Temperatures will be well below normal with the thick clouds and rain, reaching only 16C (60F).

The poor weather will continue into the start of next week with showers and thunderstorms forecast through Tuesday with below normal temperatures.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Quiet summer weather for southern Quebec & Ontario

A spectacular photo of just one of the many tornadoes reported in southern Manitoba on Wednesday afternoon. This photo was taken near Manitou, Manitoba. (Global News/J Klassen)
A ridge of high pressure will provide southern Quebec and eastern Ontario with three days of near perfect summer weather. Temperatures will be near the normal high of 25C (77F) with perfect overnight lows near 16C (60F). The humidity levels will be low and no precipitation is forecast until Sunday for Montreal. As the ridge slides east on Saturday low pressure will approach from the Ohio Valley and Great Lakes. At this time this system appears to be rather strong for late June and will begin a period of unsettled weather into the middle portion of next week and possibly the Canada Day holiday. On Sunday expect steady rain, in excess of 25mm (1 inch), along with gusty winds and cool temperatures.

Manitoba Tornado
While we have decent weather forecast here in Montreal, strong thunderstorms will produce severe weather from the upper Midwest into the middle Atlantic states today. It has been a stormy few days from Saskatchewan and Manitoba south into the Dakotas and points east towards Illinois. Numerous tornadoes were observed over the last 48 hours including several in southern Manitoba on Wednesday. Large hail also fell along with heavy rain and flash flooding. At one point on Wednesday a massive swirling cluster of storms stretched over 50,000 feet into the atmosphere and covered the entire state of Iowa. Thousands were left without power in sweltering heat from Illinois to New Jersey as the storms pressed south and east. More are forecast today with millions in the path of the potential severe storms.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Severe weather passing south of Montreal

A radar capture this morning shows the heaviest rain and thunderstorms (deep red and yellow), moving east across southern Ontario and into New York State well south of Montreal and Ottawa.
Watching the radar trends early this morning, it appears the heaviest rain and strong thunderstorms are moving south of Montreal. It has been a very stormy night in the Great Lakes basin including Toronto. A wide area of heavy rain and thunderstorms has been affecting southern Ontario as far east as Kingston and then south into New York state. The system has produced heavy rain along with flash flooding as well as frequent lightning. It looks like the bulk of the heavy weather associated with this front will remain in New York and Vermont today. There is just an outside chance of a shower or afternoon thunderstorm in Quebec, especially along the US border. The strongest storms with hail and high winds will be focused in southern Vermont and New Hampshire.

Montreal can expect another muggy day before the atmosphere dries out a little on Wednesday. It was very mild overnight, remaining near 20C (68F). The high temperature today will be near 24C (76F). Winds will be gusty up to 60km/h in the St. Lawrence Valley. It will be clear, windy and cool overnight with a low near 13C (55F). Wednesday looks sunny with a slight chance of an afternoon shower and a high near 23C (73F).