Saturday, October 18, 2014

Hurricane Gonzalo heads for Newfoundland

An incredible radar image from the Bermuda Weather Office of the eye of Gonzalo swallowing the tiny island of Bermuda last evening.
The big weather story this morning will be the arrival of Hurricane Gonzalo very close to the southeast coast of Newfoundland by early Sunday. A tropical storm watch is now in effect for the coastal regions of southeast Newfoundland. Gonzalo this morning is about 1450km south, southwest of Cape Race, Newfoundland moving north, northeast at 22km/h. The storm has winds of 100mph with a central pressure of 958mb according to the National Hurricane Center. Environment Canada has Gonzalo passing within a radius of 150km of the coast early Sunday morning. The storm will be transitioning into a post tropical storm at the time but still capable of 10 metre (30 foot) seas along the coast and winds up to 100km/h (60mph). Rainfall will be intense but fairly limited due to the rapid speed of the storm. Still, heavy rain bands could produce up to 25mm (1 inch) per hour for a few hours along the Avalon. In the shipping lanes of the Laurentian Fan into the southern Grand Banks the storm will have an intense impact. Hurricane force winds will whip seas as high as 16 to 18 metres (50-60 feet) according to the Canadian Hurricane Centre.

Crews respond to the thousands without power on Bermuda after Hurricane Gonzalo made a direct hit. (The Royal Gazette)
Meanwhile crews are out removing thousands of downed trees and restoring power to over 32,000 homes on Bermuda. Gonzalo made a direct hit on the tiny island nation of 64,900 in the vast Atlantic Ocean last evening with winds in excess of 100mph. Flooding and a coastal storm surge was also reported. Roads are blocked across the island. Structural damage to several buildings including a hospital was reported. No reports yet of casualties from Gonzalo.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Hurricane Gonzalo heads for Bermuda - flooding in GTA

Bermuda weather radar showing the eye of Gonzalo nearing the tiny island (plus sign) this afternoon.
 There is plenty to talk about this morning, so I am putting the Hurricane Hazel column off for a few hours. Lets start in Ontario and Quebec where very warm and moist air produced lots of heavy rain on Thursday. The rain along with tons of falling leaves clogged sewers across Toronto producing lots of flooding. The flooding disrupted the evening commute in what is becoming an all too familiar occurrence. Underpasses were flooded with motorists stranded. In addition several subway stations took on water as well. Pearson Airport recorded only 5.2mm on Thursday but other locations in the GTA had between 50 and 100mm (2-4 inches) of rain in just a few hours. It was the same in southern Quebec with Trudeau Airport recording 8mm of rain, but I managed 15mm here on L'Ile Perrot and amounts ranged over 25mm (1 inch) in other parts of the region as thunderstorms occurred.

Flooding from heavy rain in portions of the GTA late Thursday. (Toronto Star)
Showers will continue today and into the weekend in Montreal as it turn sharply colder. Temperatures were in the low 20's again on Thursday but will drop to the teens today (17C) and single digits by Sunday when the high will only be 8C (47F).

The latest National Hurricane Center forecast has Gonzalo coming very close to eastern Newfoundland early Sunday.
Gonzalo remains a major hurricane this morning with winds up to 130mph and a pressure of 946mb. The storm is located 240 miles (385km) south southwest of Bermuda while moving north northeast at 15mph. On this present course the hurricane will arrive very close to Bermuda late today. Winds at 7:30 were already over 60km/h (38mph) on the island. Heavy rain, in excess of 150mm (6 inches) along with dangerous winds and a powerful storm surge will arrive shortly. Once the storm moves past Bermuda it will begin to slowly weaken and transition into a powerful post-tropical storm. Winds and rain will begin to affect Atlantic Canada coastal waters by Saturday afternoon. It is still early to pinpoint the exact impact on Newfoundland, but heavy rain is likely along the southeast coast along with heavy surf. High surf is also forecast for Nova Scotia. Strong winds may impact the Avalon Peninsula if Gonzalo makes landfall in Newfoundland. The current NHC track has the storm remaining offshore.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Windy, warm & wet

It feels more like a mid July morning in southern Quebec than October with temperatures in the high teens and high humidity. Tuesday was a record warm day in Montreal with a high temperature at Trudeau Airport of 24.8C (77F), beating the old record of 22.8C set in 1970. We were part of a bunch of record high temperatures including 28C (84F) at Massena/Cornwall and 26C (79F) at Burlington, Vermont. Burlington also posted another record on Wednesday when the temperature hit 27C (80F), this beat the old record that dated back to the 1930's. Montreal was a very warm 24C (76F) on Wednesday, short of the record of 26C. The warm and humid air is being pushed north by a combination of the slowest moving cold front ever and the broad circulation around high pressure in the Atlantic Ocean and Hurricane Gonzala. An area of very heavy rain is associated with the slow moving frontal system to our west, and that rain will arrive in Montreal today. Look for periods of rain with some thunder lasting into Friday with perhaps as much as 25mm (1 inch) for the St. Lawrence Valley.  Temperatures will continue warm with highs near 22C. The normal high for this date is 12C (54F) with the low around 3C (39F), so it is exceptionally warm, especially the overnight lows which have been warmer than the normal highs! We are on borrowed time, it will turn windy and colder this weekend as a strong cold front crosses Quebec and Ontario on Saturday. Temperatures will return to normal values by Sunday, even below average with showers and perhaps some flurries over the highest elevations. Highs will only be near 10C (50F) with lows near 0C (32F) by Monday morning.

NOAA image showing a well defined and powerful Hurricane Gonzala (middle right) over the Atlantic Ocean.

Gonzala this morning is a major storm located 540 miles (865km) southwest of Bermuda. The hurricane has 140 mph winds and a central pressure of 945 mb, a Category 4 storm, and one of the strongest Atlantic Basin hurricanes on record for October. Gonzala is moving north at 9 mph, and will come very close to Bermuda on Friday with a large storm surge, up to 150mm (6 inches) of rain and fierce winds. Warnings are in effect, and precautions are being rushed today to protect life and property. Beyond Bermuda it looks like the storm will transition into a strong post tropical storm and affect eastern Nova Scotia and Newfoundland this weekend. Very heavy rain and strong winds are possible, but the forecast details need to be fine tuned. The storm will begin to affect Atlantic Canada by Saturday.

Tomorrow: The 60th Anniversary of Hurricane Hazel was October 15, 2014. I will take a look back at one of the strongest storms to affect Canada tomorrow.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Near record warmth today for Montreal & southern Quebec

After a very cold start to Thanksgiving Monday with widespread frost across southern Quebec and lows near 1C (34F), we warmed rapidly to 18C (65F). It was a perfect day for cleaning up the leaves and sadly cutting down the shrubs and flowers as we prepare for the upcoming snow and cold. I also managed to put the patio furniture away after enjoying it one last time.

The warmth came as a result of strong high pressure moving into the Atlantic and low pressure forming in the Mississippi Valley. The result has been a strong push of warm and increasingly humid air from the southern US. The flow will strengthen today with a forecast high of 24C in Montreal. If it occurs it will break the previous record high for the date, 22.8C (73F), established in 1971. It should be a dry day with partial sunshine this afternoon. The aforementioned low pressure area will lift north across the Great Lakes and eventually sweep a cold front into the St. Lawrence Valley by Thursday. Until then it will remain very warm for mid-October with highs in the 20's and lows in the teens. By Thursday expect a period of moderate rain with perhaps 25-50mm (1-2 inches) area wide into Friday morning. Temperatures will begin lowering through the teens to around 10C (50F) for a high by Sunday as we settle back into reality.

The path of Hurricane Gonzala as forecast by the National Hurricane Center.

The weather system bringing us this late season warmth is also responsible for a late season severe weather outbreak. Thunderstorms across the southern US on Monday produced nearly a dozen tornadoes and killed two in Arkansas. The storms stretched from Texas into Alabama and will spread eat today from Virginia to Florida. There may even be some thunder in northern New York and southern Quebec by Thursday, but no severe weather is forecast.

The tropics have also become active as we have a strong Hurricane Gonzala north of Puerto Rico this morning. Gonzala is a strengthening storm with winds of 110mph and is expected to become a major hurricane today while moving away from the islands at 13mph. The eye of Gonzala is about 90 miles (145km) north northeast of St Thomas with a lowering central pressure at 974mb and deepening. The storm lashed the Virgin Islands on Monday with heavy rain and strong winds as well as Puerto Rico. Winds gusted to 88mph on the island of Antigua with downed trees and roofs off many homes. The next target for the hurricane will be Bermuda followed by a gradual weakening as it approaches Atlantic Canada by next weekend.

Thursday, October 09, 2014

Windy & cool fall day for Montreal


It is a much cooler morning here on L'Ile Perrot today with a gusty northwest wind and a current temperature of 6C (43F). Montreal had a very wet Wednesday with heavy rain in the morning followed by some clearing. The afternoon featured blustery winds over 50km/h and more periodic heavy showers with even some thunder. I recorded one of those showers here on L'Ile Perrot (video above) at around 2:30pm Wednesday. Winds were very strong with this particular batch of storms, in excess of 70km/h at times. Total rainfall amounts in Montreal ranged from 20 to 25mm yesterday (up to 1 inch) with two day totals close to 32mm here at my home.

Today will be a typical southern Quebec fall day with a mix of sun and clouds and the chance of an afternoon shower. It will be very cool, 11C (52F) and windy. Tonight, expect partly cloudy skies and cold lows down to 5C (41F).

Wednesday, October 08, 2014

NO Lunar Eclipse for Montreal - just heavy rain

The full lunar eclipse this morning as captured by NASA.
Those in southern Quebec hoping to see the sensational celestial show put on by the sun, earth and moon were thwarted by clouds and rain this morning. The second full lunar eclipse of 2014 started at 4:15AM ET this morning and reached its peak at around 6:15AM. The full hunters moon turned blood red as it passed into the earths shadow. The next full lunar eclipse will be on April 4, 2015. Unfortunately the other story of the day stopped us from seeing any sign of the moon here in Montreal. A strengthening low pressure area is lifting from the Great Lakes north toward Hudson's Bay today while producing a large area of heavy rain and even a few rumbles of thunder. Montreal has had around 15mm of rain since 2am. Combine that with yesterdays thunderstorms and we are over 25mm (1 inch) for the 24 hour period. The storms on Tuesday came on suddenly in Montreal around the middle portion of the day with rapidly darkening skies, heavy rain, gusty winds and numerous reports of pea to marble size hail. We returned back to sunshine just as quickly.

Dark skies and heavy rain stopped us from seeing the lunar eclipse in Montreal. The rain also slowed the morning commute to a crawl with poor visibility and some flooding reported. Above Highway 20 at Woodland. (ValleyWX)

The rain this morning will taper off shortly across southern Quebec, but with the risk of more showers or a thunderstorm this afternoon along a trailing cold front. Winds will increase as well this morning here in the St. Lawrence Valley between 30-50km/h with gusts up to 70km/h possible this afternoon. Temperatures will be rather mild today around 16C (61F) in Montreal but drop this evening into the upper single digits under partly cloudy skies. On Thursday expect a mostly cloudy, windy fall day with some showers around, cool at 11C (52F). The weather will clear out for the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday weekend but be cool with highs around 12C (54F) and lows down to 3C (38F) with the risk of frost in southern Quebec and Ontario.

Monday, October 06, 2014

Unsettled weather week

It turned out to be a decent Sunday with the sun and clouds playing in a gusty northwest wind. The fall colours were in fine form across the St. Lawrence Valley including Lancaster, Ontario yesterday. (ValleyWX)
We managed to salvage half this past weekend here in Montreal, which was better than I had imagined at the start. The clouds and heavy showers associated with the strong cold front on Saturday managed to clear out rather nicely for Sunday. Montreal had around 25mm (1 inch) of rain on Saturday with a gusty northeast wind and cool temperatures. By Sunday it was a much more fresh air mass with moderate northwest winds, up to 50km/h at times, and temperatures in the low teens (50's).

Our weather for the start of this week will be controlled by a very strong early fall storm located in Hudson Bay. This storm is producing a wide area of snow and very strong winds across portions of Nunavut and northern Manitoba. Its effects on southern Ontario and Quebec will be in the form a persistent northwest flow of cool, moist air with a couple of areas of clouds and showers rotating throughout southern Quebec into Wednesday. In between the cloudy periods and showers we may see a few glimpses of sun like this morning. Temperatures will be seasonable today at 16C (60F) but rather mild on Tuesday and Wednesday, close to 19C (66F). By Wednesday a more important area of showers will lift northwest off the Atlantic across New England and into Quebec with perhaps a decent area of rain. More on that tomorrow. We will not see clearing skies before Thursday, and it will turn cooler and dry for next weekend.