Tuesday, September 02, 2014

Warm start to September

It is back to school today for everybody as the summer of 2014 officially draws to a close. Despite that, Montreal and the eastern third of North America remain entrenched in a very warm and humid air mass. Daytime temperatures were above 27C (80F) all weekend along with elevated humidity making it feel like late July. About 11mm of rain occurred over the weekend on L'Ile Perrot with amounts varying from nothing to as much as 50mm depending on which thunderstorm you were under. The storms here on L'Ile Perrot occurred in the wee hours of Sunday morning with lots of thunder and lightning but little else. Still a welcome sight for storm watchers who have had very little action in metro Montreal this summer. There may be more thunderstorms this afternoon and this evening as a cold front cuts into this sultry air. The best change for storms will be around the middle of the afternoon from the St. Lawrence Valley west and this evening into the Townships and areas along the US border. Highs today will be warm again, near 27C (81F) with lows tonight down to a mild 16C (61F). Wednesday through Friday look warm still with highs of 25 to 28C (77-82F) and lots of sunshine. Showers and storms may develop again late Friday and into Saturday.

NOAA image of tropical storm Dolly in the southern Gulf of Mexico this morning. Dolly will move into Mexico late today.
The fourth system of the hurricane season has developed in the southern Gulf of Mexico west of the Yucatan. Tropical storm Dolly with 45mph winds is located about 350km east of Tampico, Mexico. The storm is expected to remain rather weak and move inland along the Mexican coast late today. Heavy rain, from 6-10 inches and gusty winds along with a modest rise in water along the immediate coastline are forecast at this time. Dolly will remain south of the Texas coast. Even weak tropical systems have the potential to produce dangerous flash flooding, and Dolly is no different.

Friday, August 29, 2014

Labor Day Weekend forecast

I am still having a hard time dealing with the fact it is the last weekend of the summer holiday period. A relatively new job along with other realities of life has kept me from the Atlantic coast this summer, the first time in the last 10 years. That being said I am not looking forward to what follows, with all due respect to the many who love fall. I like fall, just not as much as summer. And with that revelation it is time to take a look at the last summer weekend forecast for southern Quebec. It is a rather chilly Friday morning with 12C (54F) here on L'Ile Perrot. Skies are clear and the warm sunshine along with light winds will allow for the temperature to climb quickly to highs of 24C (76F) across the entire region. High pressure responsible for the splendid day will then move into the Gulf of Maine and set up a southerly flow of warm and increasingly humid air for the weekend. Clouds will increase Saturday with the risk of a shower or two. The humid weather will be with us throughout the holiday weekend and into the start of next week. Temperatures will be warm, near 27C (81F) along with muggy overnight lows of 18C (65F). The best chance for widespread showers and thunderstorms will come Sunday as a front interacts with the warm and moist air mass. Some of the rain will be heavy on Sunday but it will not be a washout and in fact big portions of the three day weekend may be dry. Be safe and enjoy!
NOAA Satellite image of hurricane Cristobal east of Nova Scotia early this morning.
A brief update on Hurricane Cristobal located 525km southeast of Cape Race, Newfoundland at 5am this morning. The storm is racing into the north Atlantic at 80km/h. The system continues to send big waves towards the Nova Scotia and Newfoundland coasts today. Some offshore wave heights have been as much as 9 feet. Gusty north winds of 50-80km/h will develop along the east coast of Newfoundland today, but not directly from Cristobal. The winds will result from the the combination of a cold front moving across Newfoundland interacting with the circulation of the hurricane. As of 7am, a wind gust to 81km/h was reported at Cape Race. The front is also producing heavy rain, but once again this has nothing to do with the hurricane. Cristobal will merge with the front and become a large ocean storm over the next few days.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Despite arrival of September - warm weather will continue

Red leaves on the ground  last evening while walking my dog on L'Ile Perrot. Sorry to see the summer fading away.
The seasons are changing, there is no doubt about that. Longer nights are producing a heavy dew each morning and the trees are beginning to respond to the decline in daylight. Several of the trees here on L'Ile Perrot are changing color, especially some of the maples which typically go last. There are some vibrant reds as seen in the photo above. It has been a cooler month with officially no plus 30C days at Trudeau Airport. Unofficially I have recorded 9 such days including the last 4 in a row. Typically the airport in Montreal is cooler with lots of green space and the cooling effect off Lac St. Louis.

The setting sun illuminates this tree on L'Ile Perrot. The maples are turning early this year. (ValleyWX Photo) 
Just a few sprinkles occurred in Montreal overnight along a weakening cold front. The front did manage to produce some bigger thunderstorms well north of Montreal. Today will be partly to mostly sunny, less humid and a touch cooler with highs near 26C (79F) in Montreal. Some clouds this evening before it clears out, it will be dry and cooler with lows near 14C (56F). Thursday and Friday will be partly sunny and pleasant with highs from 22-24C and lows form 12-14C. The upcoming Labor Day weekend will be very summery with warm and humid conditions returning. Temperatures will sneak up into the high 20's with the risk of showers and thunderstorms, especially on Sunday. The warm and muggy weather will continue into next week as summer is not ready to give up just yet. With the arrival of September 1 on Monday we say goodbye to summer, at least meteorlogically speaking. Officially summer ends on September 22.

The red flags (dangerous surf & rip currents) are flying this morning along the Outer Banks of North Carolina. Hurricane Cristobal, located well offshore, is sending rough surf and swells to the coast. (OBXCams.com)
Hurricane Cristobal
A brief update on the third hurricane of the Atlantic season. Cristobal is located well off the coast of North Carolina about 525km southeast of Cape Hatteras. Heavy surf will pound the eastern seaboard over the next few days including the south coast of Nova Scotia and Newfoundland. Cristobal has (130km/h) 80mph winds and is moving northeast at 20km/h. This track will keep the storm well offshore with perhaps some gusty winds along the Grand Banks over the weekend. No direct impacts are expected in Atlantic Canada at this time.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Perfect weather to start the week in metro Montreal

With the exception of a little fog on Saturday morning, it was nearly a perfect weekend in southern Quebec. We managed to squeeze out a high temperature of 30C on Sunday, one of the few recorded this summer. The high pressure responsible for this late summer perfection will slowly slide southeast of the province today with nothing but sunshine and warm temperatures forecast. We can expect a high of near 30C (86F) in Montreal with 28 to 31C (83-88F) across the region. Another mild overnight is on tap with the return of a heavy dew and perhaps some local fog patches and a low near 18C. Tuesday will be an exact replica of today. The next chance for precipitation will come along a frontal boundary on Wednesday with showers and perhaps a thunderstorm possible.

Over the weekend western Canada was dealing with a strong low pressure area more similar to late fall than summer. Cold temperatures occurred and heavy rain fell from southern Alberta into Manitoba. Amounts were in the 50-75mm range with some minor flooding reported. It was the same to the south of the region across North Dakota and Montana. Northeast Montana is reporting flooding along several rivers this morning. There was even snow observed at the highest elevations in northern Wyoming and northwest Montana.

Tropical storm Cristobal developed in the Caribbean Sea over the weekend and is located about 180km off the coast of San Salvador Island in the Bahamas. The storm is moving slowly north at 6km/h with 85km/h (50mph) winds The system is forecast to strengthen into a hurricane this week, but remain offshore of the US and Canada. Heavy surf is expected along all east coast beaches this week. Strong winds and heavy rain have prompted tropical storm warnings for a portion of the Bahamas today.

Widespread damage was reported in the wine country of the Napa Valley on Sunday after a 6.0 earthquake. (CNN)
California Quake
The strongest earthquake in 25 years occurred early Sunday morning near Napa, California northeast of the San Francisco Bay area. It occurred at 3am Pacific time with a magnitude of 6.0 on the Richter scale. Widespread damage occurred with the partial collapse of several buildings as well as numerous fires ignited by ruptured gas lines. Over 150 people were injured, several seriously. Aftershocks have been reported for the last 24 hours.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Torrential rain in Eastern Ontario BUT a great weekend ahead for all

An upper level low spinning its way across eastern Ontario and into northern New York has kept cloud cover and instability largely over that region. On Thursday a few showers did develop in Montreal, but only around 6mm fell here on L'Ile Perrot, with just a trace at Trudeau Airport in Dorval. Temperatures were around 23C (73F) but it felt rather warm and muggy. All in all it was not a bad day, and we are looking at an almost identical forecast for today with just a slight chance of showers. More drenching thunderstorms are possible in eastern Ontario through this afternoon. The good news is strong high pressure will settle south into the St. Lawrence Valley and slowly drift southeast. This will set the stage for a prolonged period of sunny, warm weather from Saturday into the middle of next week. Temperatures will be very warm during the day from 27-29C (80-85F). Overnight lows will range from 12-16C (54-61F) with the chance of fog. Winds will be light.

Meanwhile some daytime heating interacting with the energy from the low produced a narrow band of very slow moving, drenching thunderstorms from the western Rideau Valley east into Kemptville and the south end of Ottawa. Rainfall amounts were very impressive with 50mm (2 inches) at Kemptville, Ontario but reports of as much as 80mm (3 inches) coming from my fellow weather watcher Jane, who lives west of Kemptville. Radar estimates and ground observations show as much as 130mm in some communities northwest of Smiths Falls and in Lanark County. The bulk of that rain fell in a deluge in a few hours during the middle to late afternoon. Creeks and rivers will respond with elevated flows over the next few days but at this time no major flooding is expected.

Winnipeg, Manitoba on Thursday after 50-75mm of rain. (TWN Photo)
Major flooding did occur in Winnipeg yesterday as thunderstorms swept that city dumping as much as 75mm of rain in just a few hours. In what has become a familiar scene this summer in many metro regions across North America, numerous highways flooded trapping motorists. There were widespread reports of basement flooding, power outages and water in one major mall.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Summer is not over just yet - Hurricane Camille

While walking the dog these past few mornings, it has felt like late September. The air has been cold, the dew heavy and there are even some trees starting to turn color and dare I say a few leaves tumbling to the ground. For those of us that love the hot summer weather, it has been a little disappointing in 2014, August especially. But don't give up just yet, the pattern is about to change for the last days of August. High pressure will give us sunshine today and warm highs of 27C (81F) in Montreal. This will be followed by showers and thunderstorms as early as this evening and lasting into Friday. The low responsible for the precipitation will move from the Great Lakes to off the east coast by Friday. High pressure will then build in again over Quebec for the weekend with sunshine and warm highs near 26C (79F). This weather will last well into next week with highs in the upper 20's. Indications are that the warm and dry weather will last most of next week with above normal temperatures expected through the end of the month for large regions of Quebec, Ontario and western New England.

The devastation on the Mississippi Gulf Coast was complete after the passage of Hurricane Camille in August 1969. (NOAA)
It has been a quiet Atlantic hurricane season so far in 2014 with only 2 named storms, Arthur and Bertha. August can be quiet but it has also produced some very memorable and historically significant storms. On August 19, 1969, 45 years ago, hurricane Camille laid waste to the Mississippi Coast. The small but powerful storm is one of only three Category 5 hurricanes to make landfall on the US mainland. The storm pounded the Gulf Coast from Florida to Louisiana with 200mph winds and a then record storm surge of over 25 feet. Radar and forecasting techniques were not at the level they are today and many refused to leave there homes, some just blocks from the Gulf. The surge, arriving in the dark, wiped away entire towns during the overnight hours of August 19-20, killing over 200 people, some were never found to this day. It took decades for the economy of the region to return to what it was before Camille with damages exceeding $1.42 Billion 1969 dollars. Just two days later Camille would dump an astonishing 2 feet (over 600mm) of rain in just a few hours on northern Virginia, liquefying hillsides and washing away entire communities in water and mud. Another 120 plus people would die as a result of the flash flooding in Virginia.

During my entire life I have had a fascination with hurricanes, and Camille has always been the storm people refer to when describing just how intense and devastating hurricanes can be. She had set the bar, that is of course until Katrina in August 2005. Katrina, with a 35 foot storm surge, would kill over 1800 people, devastating the same region as Camille did but this time including metro New Orleans.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Much better weather week ahead Ontario & Quebec

Dark clouds, light rain, windy and cool with even a hint of color in the trees across the Eastern Townships this past weekend. (ValleyWX Photo)
After days of low clouds and showers we finally had a little break mid-day Sunday in the form of sunshine. Temperatures remain very chilly for August, but we did manage 23C (73F) on Sunday here in Montreal. The entire northeast as well as eastern Canada has been under the influence of a slow moving upper level low. The system produced lots of rain, very cool temperatures being dragged down to the surface from the upper atmosphere, as well as persistent cloud. On Saturday another 13-15mm of rain fell in Montreal bringing the monthly total close to 75mm (3 inches) most of that falling in the  last 5 days. Saturday was also windy and very cold for August only managing 18C (65F) here on L'Ile Perrot, feeling more like late September.

The good news is high pressure will move back into Montreal and southern Quebec today with sunshine and slightly warmer temperatures. Highs will reach the low 20's (70-73F). By Tuesday and Wednesday we may even see some middle 20's (75-80F). Lows will remain cool, for August with patchy fog around especially in the hills to the southeast of the city, temperatures will drop to near 10C (50F). By late Wednesday another round of showers is possible as low pressure moves from the Great Lakes across northern New York. At this time next weekend looks good.