Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Another record high temperature for Montreal

A National Guard UH-60 Blackhawk helicopter drops water from a 660 gallon bucket onto the Flat Rock fire near Altona, New York. (National Guard photo via Twitter)
The sizzling summer of 2018 added another day to the record books on Monday, the fifth record high this month. The temperature reached 33.7C (93F) Monday afternoon at Montreal's Trudeau Airport, eclipsing the record of 32.3C set in 1982. Through July 16th, the average daytime high for the city has been a sweltering 30.8C (87F), well into record-setting territory. The normal average daytime high for the month of July in Montreal is 26.3C (79F). Of the 16 days so far this month, 9 have been above 30C.

Rain...finally
A cold front crossed the city Tuesday morning, producing widespread thunderstorm activity. The storms provided much needed rainfall, with 20mm falling on L'Ile Perrot. The rain was the first measurable precipitation this month, providing some slight relief to drought conditions that had been worsening by the day. Over the weekend several brush fires were reported across eastern Ontario. The forests have been very dry as well, with 19 fires burning in Quebec, most across the northwest portion of the province. Closer to home, 200 firefighters from New York, Vermont and southern Quebec, were battling the Flat Rock fire near Altona, New York in northern Clinton County. The fire had burned 528 acres as of Tuesday morning, and was 65 percent contained. The overnight rain provided some much needed assistance to the firefighters. Altona is 105km southwest of metro Montreal.

Behind the cold front, temperatures were still warm on Tuesday, but the humidity levels were dropping all day on brisk northwest winds. The weather will be more comfortable Tuesday night and Wednesday, with lows near 16C (61F) and a high on Wednesday of 25C (77F). Warmer, more humid weather returns Thursday into the upcoming weekend, with highs of 27C to 30C, along with the risk of showers and thunderstorms as we head into the weekend.

Friday, July 13, 2018

Southern Quebec and Ontario in desperate need of rain

More hot and humid weather is forecast for Montreal through next Tuesday. (AccuWeather.com)
Drought conditions are beginning to worsen across portions of eastern Ontario, southern Quebec and New England. In Montreal, the last measurable rainfall was on June 30 when a paltry 6mm fell. The dry weather has prompted numerous municipalities, in both provinces, to place restrictions on outdoor water use, as well as any burning. On Ile Perrot, lawn watering in prohibited at this time, but that has not stopped many residents from doing it anyway. Those who do obey the rules, are left with badly burnt lawns and trees loosing their leaves. The fire danger in forests across the region ranges from very high to extreme. Dozens of fires continue to burn in Quebec and Ontario. The dry weather has been accompanied by a very warm start to July. So far this month, 7 of the 12 days in Montreal have recorded highs above 30C (86F). Of the remaining days, only one was below 27C (81F).

There is a little good news on the horizon. A weak frontal boundary will move into southern Quebec overnight into Saturday morning, with some scattered showers. The rain will be light and isolated, but any moisture is welcome. Unfortunately this front will open the door to another hot and humid period, lasting into Tuesday. Daytime highs across the area will be in the low 30s, with humidex values approaching 38C (100F) Sunday and Monday. On Tuesday, a more potent cold arrives with numerous showers and thunderstorms. This front has the potential to bring Montreal our first appreciable rain of the month.

Towering waves pound the Newfoundland coast at Cape Race on Thursday. Post-Tropical Storm Chris moved into Placentia bay late in the day, before racing off to the northeast. (The Weather Network)
Tropical Storm Chris
Chris moved across Placentia Bay in Newfoundland on Thursday, with heavy rain, strong winds and towering waves. In Gander, 76mm (3 inches) of rain fell. A peak wind gust of 105km/h (65mph) was observed at Cape Pine, 102km/h (63mph) at Bonavista, and 91km/h (56mph) at St John's Airport. Waves as high as 8 metres (26 feet) pounded coastal regions along the south coast and Avalon Peninsula. At this time, no major damage was reported. Chris has become post-tropical, and is racing of to the northeast this morning in the open waters of the North Atlantic.

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Tropical Storm Chris expected to impact Atlantic Canada

A NOAA satellite image of Tropical storm Chris southeast of Cape Hatteras on Tuesday afternoon.
7pm Update: Chris has been upgraded to a category 1 hurricane, with 85mph winds.

Tropical storm Chris is slowly starting to pull away from the North Carolina coast this afternoon, after being nearly stationary for the last 48 hours. At 11am this morning, the strengthening center of Chris was located 320km southeast of Cape Hatteras, North Carolina, with 70mph (110km/h) winds. The system was moving northeast at 15km/h, expected to enter the warm Gulf Stream waters shortly. Forecasters anticipate that Chris will become a hurricane later today. The immediate impacts from Chris have been pounding surf along the Outer Banks. Several roads have been washed over, and a few homes on Hatteras Island have suffered structural damage. One person drowned in the rough surf caused by Chris over the weekend in Nags Head, North Carolina.

The forecast track of Chris from the National Hurricane Centre, will take the storm very close to southeast Newfoundland by Friday.
Impacts in Atlantic Canada
As Chris strengthens over the next 24 hours, swells will increase along the east coast of the US. Chris is expected to weaken back to a tropical storm as it begins to approach the Canadian waters by Thursday. The Canadian Hurricane Centre in Halifax is expecting Chris to have some impacts on Atlantic Canada. Winds and seas should increase early Thursday along the Nova Scotia coast, with Chris remaining well offshore. The storm is then likely to approach the Avalon Peninsula of Newfoundland Friday morning, with perhaps a landfall. Heavy rain, in excess of 50mm (2 inches) and strong winds up to 100km/h (60 mph) are possible by the end of the week for portions of Newfoundland. Some fine tuning will need to be done on the exact track and impacts as the week progresses. Interests in Atlantic Canada should closely monitor the progress of Chris.

Monday, July 09, 2018

Extremely dry weather across southern Quebec

Over 30 active forest fires are burning across Quebec. To date, 368 fires have been reported, consuming over 23,000 hectares. Outdoor burning is not advised in metro Montreal and especially on the South Shore. Tinder dry conditions exist, with no rain occurring at Trudeau Airport so far this month. (CBC Photo)
The deadly heatwave the baked Montreal last week came to an end on Friday. The high heat and humidity was responsible for 54 deaths across the province. After a coolish Friday, temperatures warmed up again this weekend, with the city reaching 32C (90F) on Monday afternoon. The difference Monday, is there is a brisk southwest wind of 50km/h blowing, and the humidity is far more manageable.

One variable of the heatwave that does continue this week, is the very dry conditions. The aforementioned lower humidity levels and gusty winds are not helping the dry situation in Quebec. Trudeau Airport has officially measured no rainfall this month, and only 15mm (0.5") since June 19. The very dry weather and searing heat have baked neighbourhood lawns, with trees loosing leaves and showing signs of heat stress. No appreciable rain is expected through the balance of this week, with just a few spotty showers in the forecast Tuesday and again Saturday. The temperature will remain warm as well, between 27C and 30C (80 to 85F).

Forest fire risk on the rise across Quebec and Ontario
The lack of rain and intense heat has also resulted in a spike in forest fire activity across Quebec and northeast Ontario. In Quebec, over 30 active fires are being reported by SOPFEU, covering in excess of 42,000 hectares. The province has requested and received assistance from Saskatchewan, Alberta, New Brunswick and Newfoundland. Additional manpower and resources have arrived from Parks Canada. In addition to the Canadian help, several teams of firefighters are in Quebec from Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Maine.

In Ontario, 70 fires are burning in the northeast portion of that province, with evacuations underway in several communities. Over 400 firefighters have been assigned to the region, with reinforcements from other provinces expected to join the battle. Dense smoke from these fires is expected to drift into western Quebec over the next few days.

The tinder dry conditions in our immediate region have resulted in a very high fire threat across metro Montreal. Extreme fire danger conditions exist across the South Shore as well as the Ottawa Valley. Outdoor burning in may cases is prohibited and in all cases should just be avoided all together. Additionally several municipalities are asking the you conserve water, and refrain from watering your lawn, filling your pool or washing your car.

Thursday, July 05, 2018

Relief on the way from searing heat in Montreal

Relief is on the way to southern Quebec from the week-long heatwave that has claimed at least 21 lives in the province. (AccuWeather.com)
Thursday marks the 7th and last day in a week-long heatwave that has claimed at least 33 lives in southern Quebec. The city has put in place emergency measures to assist those most at risk, but Urgence Sante is still reporting a 30 percent increase in calls, many directly related to the heat. Most municipalities have lengthened pool hours and established cooling centres. City of Montreal firefighters have been going door to door in many neighbourhoods to check on residents.

Temperature records have been falling across the province, with some locations establishing new all time record highs. Another temperature record, the third this week, was set on Wednesday in Montreal, as the mercury soared to 34.2C (94F) at Trudeau Airport. The previous record was 33.1C (91F) set in 1983. Other parts of the city were even warmer, I recorded a high of 34.8C (95F) on L'Ile Perrot. Montreal is expected to set another record today, with a forecast high of 35C (95F). Humidex or real feel temperatures will soar into the middle 40s.Widespread heat warnings and advisories remain posted from Ontario east through Quebec and into Atlantic Canada and south into New York and New England.

Numerous municipalities have imposed water bans or asked their residents to avoid watering lawns or washing cars. The blazing sun is starting to take a toll on browning lawns and trees, with leaves falling to the ground as if it was September. Conditions are dry, with less than 15mm of rain falling at Trudeau Airport since June 19th. Some relief is on the way as early as this afternoon. A cold front will move across Ontario and into Quebec in the wee hours Friday morning. Some pulse type thunderstorms are expected to pop up this afternoon around Montreal. The biggest threat is expected to be strong winds, dangerous lightning and torrential downpours. More storms are expected along the cold front overnight in Montreal, before cooler, more refreshing air arrives. On Friday, the heatwave will break, with clearing skies, lowering humidity levels, and a high temperature of 23C (73F). On Friday night, the temperature will drop below 20C (68F) for the first time in over a week, with a forecast low of 12C (54F). Mother Nature will be providing the natural A/C.

Tuesday, July 03, 2018

Thunderstorms cut power to over 160,000 Quebec homes

A beautiful end to a record setting hot day. Mother Nature has been putting on quite a show this week, I took this picture of a spectacular sunset over Vaudreuil Bay last evening. Decaying cumulus clouds can be seen in the background as the storms dissipated at sunset. At the same time lightning was flashing in the distance behind me off to the east.
Heat warning remains in effect for metro Montreal.

The heatwave continues. As I write this Tuesday afternoon, the mercury has reached the forecast high of 32C (90F). In relative terms, it is a touch less oppressive today in Montreal, as dew points and humidity levels are down. It does however, remain hot. The humidity will creep back up again on Wednesday and Thursday into the oppressive range, along with highs near 35C (95F).

On Monday, Montreal recorded another record high in this current heatwave, reaching 35.3C (96F). The previous record was 34.4C established in 1963. We will likely miss the record from today of 33.9C set in 1966, but challenge it once again tomorrow and Thursday. As hot as Montreal was, the city was not the warmest in the country, Ottawa hit 36C (97F), breaking the 1963 mark of 35.6C. Bagotville was a sultry 36.9C (99F). Burlington, Vermont recorded the warmest night since record keeping began in that city, remaining above 27C (80F) Monday. The heatwave is forecast to continue through Thursday, before the arrival of a cold front. Cooler, less humid weather is forecast for the weekend. Severe thunderstorms are likely to accompany the cold front late Thursday into Friday morning across southern Ontario and Quebec.

The intensity and duration of the heat is beginning to take its toll on the region. Urgences Sante has reported a sharp increase in heat related medical calls. Cooling centres have been opened and pool hours have been extended in many communities. According to Montreal Mayor Valerie Plante, the city is having police and firefighters go door to door visiting those residents who are most vulnerable to the heat, including seniors. Montreal public health officials are reporting six fatalities directly linked to the heatwave.

Severe Thunderstorms
A weak cold front crossed southern Quebec late Monday afternoon, triggering a line of severe thunderstorms. Strong winds. in excess of 140km/h, brought down trees and power lines and caused major damage to Hydro Quebec infrastructure. A combination of lightning and wind knocked power out to over 163,000 Quebec residents. Hydro Quebec had more than 250 teams deployed to repair the damage. As of 3pm Tuesday afternoon, over 90 percent of the customers had been reconnected, with 15,000 customers still sweating in the dark. Hydro Quebec said that most of the power will be restored by the end of Tuesday, but some of the hardest hit regions may not get power back until late Wednesday.

Sunday, July 01, 2018

Mother Nature puts on a Canada Day show in Montreal

Last evenings thunderstorms were simply spectacular. The incredible photo above was taken by Photographer Steve Walsh along the Verdun waterfront. It was just one of more than 15,000 lightning strikes recorded by Environment Canada during the storms. You can see more of Steve's amazing work by clicking here.
Heat Advisory in effect for southern Quebec

Weather is dominating the news in Montreal this Canada Day. A stifling heatwave is well underway, with temperature and humidity levels more common in south Florida than Montreal. At 1:15pm, I'm recording 33C (92F) here on L'Ile Perrot, but that is only part of the story, the relative humidity is 70 percent, with dew point readings in the middle 20s. The result is an extremely oppressive and dangerously hot day in Montreal and across southern Quebec and Ontario, with humidex values creeping into the middle 40s. The National Capital is also a hot place to be on this Canada Day, at 34C (94F) and a humidex of 47C, they are currently the warmest location in the country.

Widespread weather warnings for high heat and humidity are in effect across Ontario, Quebec, Atlantic Canada and into New England and New York. The National Weather Service issued its first ever Excessive Heat Warning for the St. Lawrence and Champlain Valley locations. This is issued when heat index values exceed 40C (105F). The heat index is forecast to be as high as 44C (110F), today and again Monday. This is an historical heatwave to say the least. There has been little relief overnight, with temperatures remaining in the low to middle 20s, This hot forecast is expected to last well into the late stages of the upcoming week. Be vigilant and respectful of this heat, drink plenty of fluids and check on those most at risk, children and seniors. Keep your pets indoors and away from hot cars.

Wicked Thunderstorms
On Saturday evening, intense isolated thunderstorm cells developed over southern Quebec, crossing the Island of Montreal between 9pm and 11pm. The storms produced hevay rainfall and hail. Here on L'Ile  Perrot, I was caught in nickle size hail. Hail being driven into your car at high speeds is very unnerving to say the least. The real story with the storms was the intense lighting. With plenty of energy in the atmosphere, the super cell storms produced a record amount of lightning strikes. Within a 50km radius of Montreal, Environment Canada recorded in excess of 15,000 individual lightning strikes during the evening storms. More storms are possible each day this week with the building heat, but the chances are low that any one area will see activity.