Friday, June 15, 2018

Powerful thunderstorms sweep the Prairies - humid weekend for Montreal

Severe thunderstorms produced large hail that covered the ground near Estevan, Saskatchewan late Thursday afternoon. (Photo by Byron Fichter via The Weather Network)
A wave of severe thunderstorms swept across southern Saskatchewan last evening, producing flooding, strong winds, funnel clouds and tennis ball size hail in spots. The hail stripped siding from homes, damaged cars and windows and flattened vegetation and crops. Numerous power outages were reported, with SaskPower working to repair storm damage and restore power across the southeast part of the province this morning. The super-cell storms were part of an area of severe weather that stretched from northeast Montana into North Dakota and southern Manitoba. A peak wind gust of 151km/h was reported near Estevan and 96km/h at Deerwood, Manitoba. Large hail, as big as softballs, was reported all across southern Manitoba and Saskatchewan. A confirmed tornado occurred near Waskada, Manitoba around 7pm Thursday evening.

Building humidity for Montreal
In southern Quebec, Thursday was rather damp and dreary behind a departing cold front, with a high of only 17C (63F) in Montreal. The cool weather will be very short-lived, as sunshine returns to end the work week. The temperature will respond nicely to the June sun today, rising to 24C (76F). The front in question brought Montreal some needed moisture, with 15mm falling since late Wednesday. A few isolated thunderstorms also occurred in southern Quebec, but the bulk of the severe weather remained in Ontario on Wednesday afternoon. 

As we head into the weekend, the heat and humidity will be on the rise again across southern Ontario and extreme southwest Quebec. Sunshine is expected Saturday, with high temperatures in the upper 20s. On Sunday, a very warm and moist air mass will move into Ontario and Quebec along with a mix of clouds and sun. Expect high temperatures near 30C (86F) in Montreal and a sultry 34C (95F) in Toronto. Along with the heat will come the threat for afternoon showers and thunderstorms. Some of the storms may be on the strong side, with the main threat being very heavy rain. The muggy, thundery weather will persist into Monday in southern Quebec.

Monday, June 11, 2018

Last week of spring very summer-like in Montreal

While the spring thunderstorm season has been fairly tame in southern Quebec so far, such has not been the case in western Canada. Portions of Alberta and Saskatchewan reported large hail, heavy rain, powerful winds and even isolated tornadoes over the weekend. Over 10,000 lightning strikes occurred Saturday alone in Alberta, with winds gusting to 122km/h at Lloydminster. A peak wind gust of 135km/h was observed at Scott, Saskatchewan. The spectacular photo above of a shelf cloud, was taken near Pierceland, Alberta and posted to The Weather Network website via Twitter. (TWN Photo)
Summer officially arrives at 6:07AM EDT, Thursday, June 21. After a cool start to the week early Monday morning, the weather is looking very summer-like to end Spring 2018.

After a glorious weekend across southern Quebec, the work week is starting much the same, with abundant sunshine and warm temperatures forecast. Montreal dipped to 9C (49F) early Monday morning, however don't let the cool start to the day fool you. Warm southwest winds are developing, and the temperature should respond nicely under the strong June sun. Look for a high temperatures near 24C (76F). Clear skies are forecast Monday night, with milder temperatures than this morning, lows near 15C (59F).

On Tuesday, even warmer air will stream northward into Montreal, along with a, slight increase in humidity, expect highs near 27C (81F). A cold front arrives on Wednesday, along with an increase in clouds, showers and thunderstorms. Expect a muggy high near 25C (77F). The balance of the week will see a return to sunny and warm weather, with high temperatures eventually reaching close to 30C (86F) by next weekend.

Friday, June 08, 2018

Perfect weather for Grand Prix weekend in Montreal

The weather in Montreal will be perfect for the Grand Prix du Canada this weekend. (AP Photo)
The weather is expected to be exceptional for this weekends activities at Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve in Montreal. The annual Grand Prix du Canada takes place on Sunday, with other racing and qualifying scheduled for Saturday. Strong high pressure over western Quebec will nudge slowly across the region through Monday. Saturday will feature wall to wall sunshine, with low humidity. Conditions will be a little breezy, with high temperatures of 22C to 24C (72-76F). Sunday will be nearly perfect for the F1, 70 lap main event, look for sunny weather, low humidity and light winds.  The high will be near 21C (70F), perhaps a little warmer at track level.

Looking ahead to early next week, high pressure will hold over southern Quebec. Expect sunny, warm weather through Wednesday. Whatever your plans are this weekend, enjoy, be safe and be good to each other.

Monday, June 04, 2018

Cold wet start to the work week in Montreal

A June snowfall greeted residents on Monday morning in Quidi Vidi Harbour, Newfoundland. (NTV Webcam)
After a perfect weekend, Monday dawned, rainy, windy and cold across southern Quebec. Montreal dropped from 24C (76F) late Sunday evening to 9C (49F) by morning. Combined with a brisk northeast wind of 50km/h, it was downright miserable. The cool weather was accompanied by steady rain, with 27mm falling as of midday Monday. The moisture is welcome, as the area did have a precipitation deficit since the start of May. However, I could do without the cold weather, as summer is short enough.

The culprit for the unseasonably cold weather is a slow moving upper level trough of low pressure sliding across the Great Lakes. The cool, wet weather will continue into Tuesday, before high pressure returns midweek.

June Snow!
It could be much worse, snow is falling once again across portions of Newfoundland. Winter is long enough in this country without June snow. St John's was only -1C (30F) this morning, with snow falling. Some locations measured as much as 5cm, with 10cm expected along the northwest coast. The normal high in St. John's is 15C (59F) for early June, however the forecast high for Monday is only 3C (38F). Other portions of Atlantic Canada fared no better, dipping to the freezing point last evening, with many locations reporting frost. Over a dozen record lows were set, including -2.2C (28F) in Edmundston, New Brunswick, -4.2C (24F) in Churchill Falls and -2.3C (28F) in Truro, Nova Scotia.

Friday, June 01, 2018

Welcome to Meteorological Summer

A North Carolina Department of Transportation dump truck was swept into flood waters on Thursday in the western part of the state. Widespread flooding has claimed 5 lives from Georgia to the Carolina's after the remains of tropical storm Alberto moved north with torrential rain and flash flooding. (NCDOT Photo)
Thursday was the warmest day of 2018 in Montreal, reaching 30.2C (86F) at Trudeau Airport. So far this morning, the low temperature has remained above 21C (70F), which would be a new record for the warmest low, the previous was 19.1C in 2013. The weather is right on schedule, as June 1st is the official start of meteorological summer. Basically, and really summarized here, we are looking at a warm and muggy summer in southern Quebec, with near to slightly above normal precipitation and temperatures. So basically nothing to see here, just a regular summer in Montreal.

Our current warm and humid air mass is courtesy of the remains of tropical storm Alberto. June 1st is also the start of Atlantic hurricane season. Alberto jumped the queue a little, arriving last Monday along the Florida Gulf Coast. The system generated minimal impacts along the coastal regions, but has become a big flash flood and thunderstorm producer through the Appalachians into the Great Lakes and Ohio Valley. The broad circulation of what is left of Alberto, is currently moving into central Ontario. East of the low, warm and humid air is being pumped northward into southern Quebec. Friday will see the end of this stretch of warm weather, as a cold front arrives late in the day. Accompanying the front will be thunderstorms, some strong with heavy rain and gusty winds. The high in Montreal will be a muggy 27C (81F) on Friday.

The weekend looks perfect in Montreal, with sunshine and mild temperatures. Expect highs near 23C (73F) and cool overnight lows near 10C (50F). The start of next week will not be great. A cool, moist air mass from Atlantic Canada will prevail through Wednesday, with well below normal temperatures, clouds and showers.

Thursday, May 24, 2018

Record heat and snowstorms - just another May day in Canada

A record-breaking, shocking snowstorm slammed parts of western Newfoundland on Thursday. Over 30cm fell in Gander. (CBC Photo)
Thursday was a wild day across portions of New Brunswick. A strong cold front slipped south across the province, allowing chilly maritime air to invade from the northeast. Strong thunderstorms developed along the front, producing heavy rain, hail and lightning. Winds gusted in excess of 100km/h in several locations. The severe thunderstorms also impacted portions of down east Maine and Nova Scotia. Behind the front, cold air filtered into the region changing the rain to snow. As much as 5cm fell across northern portions of New Brunswick.

In Newfoundland, a record-setting storm dumped 32cm of snow on Gander. The heavy wet snow closed schools and made for poor travel conditions, just one week before June. Unseasonable cold weather is forecast to continue across Atlantic Canada, spreading westward into Quebec this upcoming weekend.

While cold weather prevailed in the east, record breaking warmth surged across western Canada, and as far north as Fort Smith, in the Northwest Territories. The community smashed a 70 year old record, with a daytime high of 30.2C (86F). In Alberta, Fort McMurray also established a new record at 32.5C (91F), and Edmonton 29.4C (85F). Dozens or other record highs occurred from B.C. to Manitoba.

Backdoor Cold front
Friday will be sunny and summer-like in southern Ontario and Quebec, with an increase in humidity and high temperatures of 27 to 30C (81 to 86F). The good news ends there, especially for southern Quebec. A backdoor cold front will settle south across the province on Saturday, with cooling temperatures and widespread showers and thunderstorms. Northeast winds will develop, dragging the cold air southwest from the frigid waters of the Gulf of St. Lawrence. A very sharp thermal boundary will be set up somewhere in the St. Lawrence Valley this weekend, with cool showery weather to the north and warm and humid weather to the south. At this time, high temperatures in Montreal on Saturday and Sunday, will range from 16 to 18C (61 to 65F). However, just to our south and west, highs may push into the middle and upper 20s as conditions remain warm and muggy in Ontario. Rain is expected to accompany the cooler weather in southern Quebec, with perhaps as much as 25mm (1 inch) over the weekend.

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Severe weather season in Montreal - watch vs warning

Severe thunderstorms result in millions of dollars in damages every year across Canada. The threats are many with summer thunderstorms, including flash floods, strong winds, large hail, lightning and tornadoes.
Temperatures are slowly warming up across southern Quebec, and it won't be long before thunderstorms begin rattling around. With the increase in heat and humidity, will come the inevitable thunderstorm. Southern Quebec averages 15 to 17 thunderstorm days every year, most occurring between late May and early September. Severe thunderstorms are particularly menacing, because they come with several different high impact threats that can occur in any one region. They form very quickly, in lines or even as single cells. Tornadoes and lightning are among the greatest dangers within a thunderstorm. Lighting kills an average of 10 Canadians each year, while injuring 150 more. That being said, it is flash flooding, hail and strong winds that cause the greatest damage in Montreal.

Here are just a few examples of strong storms in Montreal. On August 22, 2017, a severe thunderstorm and microburst in the Borough of NDG, levelled thousands of trees and snapped hydro poles like twigs. On May 29, 1986, and again one year later on the same date, strong thunderstorms produced copious amounts of large hail, up to 12mm in diametre. The result was over $75 million dollars in damages to homes and cars across metro Montreal, and millions more in crop losses in southern Quebec. Of course the most famous thunderstorm in Montreal, occurred on July 14, 1987, when over 100mm of rain in less than 2 hours, flooded large portions of the city, including the Decarie Expressway. Known as the Decarie Flood, the storm resulted in two fatalities and $200 million in damages.

The best way to protect yourself and property from summer storms is through awareness and vigilance. During hot and humid weather, listen for updated watches and warnings. Environment Canada will post a Severe Thunderstorm Watch, typically for a large area and a wide time frame. They are posted when conditions are favourable for severe thunderstorm development, but none are occurring yet. The watch is simply to advise the public that a threat does exist for severe weather. A Severe Thunderstorm Warning is an immediate call to action for a smaller portion of the watch area. The watch means strong storms have developed and are being tracked by Environment Canada. These storms are expected to impact the warned region. Keep in mind that thunderstorms form and dissipate very quickly. They are micro scale weather events, impacting a small geographical region at any given time. Therefore it is important that you check the time and source of the warning. Often social media will share information that is dated. Warnings are typically in effect for short periods of time for any given region, often less than one hour. They are updated often as the storms move through the area. The best course of action during severe thunderstorms, is to move inside, away from windows and doors. If outside, find the lowest point, make yourself as small as possible to avoid being struck by lightning.  More lightning safety tips can be found here.

Environment Canada continues to upgrade the doppler radar network across Canada, which will greatly improve severe weather forecasts as well as watch and warning times. You can read more on the new radar technology here.