Friday, November 21, 2014

Warmer air and rain by Monday

The Lake Ontario snow plume stretched over 320km (200 miles) from western NY as far east as southern Quebec on Thursday. The image above from CBC was taken at Bishops University in Lennoxville.
A big warming trend if expected in Montreal and across most of Ontario, Quebec and New England. High pressure will give sunshine today with a cold high near -4C (25F). We start the day on L'Ile Perrot at -8C (18F), one of the coldest mornings this season so far. Clouds will increase on Saturday along with the chance for showers and flurries. This is thanks to a warm front lifting across the St. Lawrence Valley. Depending on how much cold air remains trapped at the surface, a period of freezing rain is even possible overnight Saturday for some portion of our region. By Sunday very warm air will stream into southern Quebec on southerly winds producing highs near 10C (50F). It will seem like summer by Monday with a forecast high of 15C (59F). Along with the warmth will come rain late Sunday and Monday as low pressure lifts north across the central Great Lakes. Colder air will return by later next week with a chance for some snow.

Buffalo Update
The snow will come to an end across western New York today as the lake effect machine is turned off. Totals will be historic once all is counted with amounts generally of 2 to 7 feet in the hardest hit locations south of Buffalo and near Watertown. The death toll is at 12 with numerous other injuries reported. The National Guard continues to help with the clearing effort including trying to remove snow off roofs. Already over 30 structures have had their roofs collapse from the weight of the snowfall. A driving ban remains in effect south of Buffalo as highways remain closed. The NHL game between Buffalo and the Rangers has been postponed. The NFL game this Sunday between the Bills and the Jets has been moved to Ford Field in Detroit. Attention will now turn to a serious flood risk starting Saturday. The warm air and rain forecast will likely melt the snow rapidly resulting in flooding. A flood watch is already in effect for several western New York counties.

One final note, yesterdays plume of snow off Lake Ontario at one point in the morning, stretched over 200 miles from western New York into southern Quebec. Heavy snow fell near Lacolle and over towards Sherbrooke with as much as 10cm (4 inches) in just a couple of hours. This has been one of the most impressive lake effect events I have seen in m years watching the weather.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

BIG warming trend forecast - more snow for Buffalo

This is an amazing radar image from the National Weather Service office in Binghamton, NY showing just how far from Lake Ontario the snow is reaching. Environment Canada has posted watches and warnings for extreme southern Quebec along the US border for a quick 10cm of snow and blowing snow. Travel with caution. I am watching it closely to see if it meanders towards Montreal.
 A major warming trend is forecast by the end of this upcoming weekend, until then it will be windy, cold and perhaps a little snow for Montreal. The big story this morning continues to be the unseasonably cold air and early season snows across the Great Lakes. Montreal is at -2C this morning and we have a fresh 2cm of snow on the ground. Expect a windy day with flurries and a high near 0C (32F). A strong cold front will cross the area this afternoon with a few snow showers followed by a cold night with lows near -9C (16F). Friday will be windy and cold once again with highs near -4C (25F). Winds over the next 24 hours will be between 30-60km/h.

Just a stupid amount of snow in West Seneca, New York south of Buffalo. Another 1 to 3 feet of lake effect snow is forecast today into Friday before the storm ends.
Buffalo Snow
The snow across western New York continues to be beyond impressive. A passing trough of low pressure briefly pushed the snow plume north of the battered Buffalo south towns and into the Niagara region of Ontario last evening. Heavy snow, thunder and lightning and strong winds put down a quick 15cm (6 inches) in places like St. Catherines,  Fort Erie and Niagara Falls before shifting back south again into New York. This morning the heavy snow is falling from metro Buffalo south into Erie County. Another 1 to 3 feet of snow is forecast over the next 24 hours on top of the 4 to 6 feet that fell this week. This amount is becoming dangerous putting a tremendous strain on all dwellings. A driving ban is in effect as well the National Guard has been called out to help with rescue and relief efforts. So far 8 deaths have been blamed on the storm. The snow has brought life to a standstill in the affected areas, this may include the NFL game between the Buffalo Bills and the New York Jets scheduled for Sunday. Ralph Wilson Stadium in Orchard Park is under tons of snow. The Bills are offering $10 per hour to fans as well as free tickets to those who can help shovel out the facility. So far the game remains on schedule for Sunday. Relief is in sight by Saturday with a major warm up and some rain. That may lead to flooding and a tremendous concern for any roofs not cleared of the massive quantity of snow.

Forgotten in the news has been Jefferson, Lewis and St. Lawrence County, NY off Lake Ontario that has had just as much snow. More snow is forecast there as well making travel down Interstate 81 around Watertown nearly impossible today.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Epic snows across western New York - a little for Montreal

A quick shot of snow on L'Ile Perrot last night left about 5cm (2") on the ground. (ValleyWX)
Late last evening a weak trough of low pressure crossed the St. Lawrence Valley and for a brief period tapped into the Lake Ontario snow plume. The result was a quick 5cm (2 inches) of snow at my home on L'Ile Perrot between 9-11pm. Gusty winds accompanied the snow and with this mornings current temperature of -8C, it feels and looks like winter. A little less snow fell on most of the island of Montreal with more towards the US border. It will be partly sunny today but breezy and cold with a high of -3C. More light snow is forecast tonight before another shot of cold air to end the week. A warm up is on the horizon by the end of the weekend. More on that later.

The New York State Thruway south of Buffalo is impassable, clogged with 3-4 feet of snow. Travel in western New York on I-81 and I-90 is not possible for long stretches. (NY State Police Photo)
Western New York Snowstorm
Our weather is part of a bigger picture of record cold and early season snow across a wide chunk of North America. By now many of you have seen the wild pictures from western New York. Typically this area is very familiar with heavy snow but this lake effect event has been historic. In less than 24 hours over 50 inches of snow fell on the south-towns of Buffalo with 30-40 inches near and south of Watertown, New York. As is typical with lake effect snow, the bands are elongated but narrow, affecting 10 miles or so with the most intense snow. Such was the case on Tuesday with Lancaster, NY receiving 42 inches of snow while Buffalo Airport, just 3 miles away to the northwest, had only 3 inches. Where the snow has fallen it has been disabling with a state of emergency in effect and the National Guard called into action. Miles of the New York Thruway are closed, littered with abandoned and in some cases occupied cars. Police and fire have had to respond on snowmobiles and in some cases on foot. The storm has turned deadly with 5 fatalities reported as of this morning. The snow has lifted north into the Niagara and Fort Erie, Ontario region this morning and will slowly taper as a wind shift occurs. It will however return on Thursday as a fresh batch of arctic air races across the open waters of Lakes Erie and Ontario as well as Huron.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Historic lake effect snowstorm

Cars stranded overnight on the New York Thruway, 20 miles east of Buffalo, NY.(Photo @reedtimmerTVN)
The first snow for winter 2014/15 is in the books with 6-10cm falling in Montreal and 5-15cm across eastern Ontario. Wet snow fell all day in Montreal on Monday mixed occasionally with rain. A strong arctic cold front moved across Quebec overnight with temperatures dropping to the current reading of -5C (23F). The big news today as far as Montreal goes is the wind. Gusty southwest winds are increasing this morning with a gust a Trudeau Airport already reaching 79km/h. They will remain strong all day reaching 90km/h at times. Wind warnings have been issued by Environment Canada for the St. Lawrence Valley and most of southern Quebec. Other than a few flurries off the Lake Ontario band of snow, it should be partly sunny, but cold with highs no better than -3C.

That lake effect snow band I spoke of will be historic in places such as Buffalo and Watertown, N.Y. Two well established plumes of snow have formed over the relatively warm waters of Lakes Ontario and Erie. Overnight heavy snow fell in the suburbs south of Buffalo with over 2 feet (60cm) reported. Elma, New York has already had 32.4 inches. The snow was driven by southwest winds reaching 45mph. Needless to say travel is nearly impossible in a small region that included portions of the New York State Thruway south of Buffalo towards the Pennsylvania border. The snow was accompanied by thunder an lighting and fell at the rate of 4 inches (10cm) per hour at times. Heavy lake snows are also falling in Ontario east of Lake Huron and Georgian Bay. Some of that activity may make it into the Ottawa Valley.

Off Lake Ontario, another narrow band of snow will produce 1-2 feet across the region from the Thousand Islands south to Watertown and the Tug Hill and northeast into St. Lawrence County and the Adirondacks. Some of this activity may make it into the northern St. Lawrence Valley closer to southwest Quebec but it would be light. This major lake effect event is expected to last well into Wednesday so we could be looking at significant amounts of snow in New York and Ontario by weeks end.

Monday, November 17, 2014

First snow for Montreal - winter returns to Ontario & Quebec

The first snow of the season covered the ground on L'Ile Perrot Sunday morning. (ValleyWX)
Our current battle with winter is early but not unprecedented. Montreal awoke to a thin layer of wet snow on Sunday morning with a general 2 or 3cm (about 1 inch) across the area. The snow was all but gone by noon as temperatures rose to 3C (39F). Snow is falling again this morning in southern Quebec as low pressure moves from the Gulf of Mexico across the Ohio and St. Lawrence Valley's. Accumulations are expected to range from 5cm (2 inches) in metro Montreal to as much as 15cm (6 inches) across the higher elevations north and east of the city. Winds will be light today, but increase dramatically overnight and into Tuesday as the storm moves into eastern Quebec and deepens. Wind gusts in excess of 70km/h are possible by Tuesday in Montreal. The winds will blow around any remaining snow, as well as make it much colder than the forecast high of -1C (30F).

Lake Effect Storm
Those same winds will generate a significant lake effect snow event across western and central New York state, around Lake Huron and Georgian Bay in Ontario and even the southern St. Lawrence Valley between Kingston and Brockville. Heavy lake effect snow will develop later tonight and persist into Wednesday. Forecasters expect 1 to 2 feet (30-60cm) of snow along with 80km/h winds in spots. The near blizzard conditions will be accompanied by thunder and lightning in some cases. This will be a major lake effect storm with travel difficult to impossible along portions of Highway 401 as well as Interstates 81 and 90 in New York. The current warnings include Watertown and Buffalo as well as the Adirondacks of New York. In Ontario, snow squall watches are posted for a wide area from Georgian Bay to the upper Ottawa Valley as well as the Niagara Region and Prince Edward County to Kingston. Some of the most persistent squalls may even brush extreme southwest Quebec late Tuesday.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Measurable snow expected for Montreal & southern Quebec

The tale of two Montreal's. Montreal, Wisconsin (The Weather Channel) above, measured over 125cm (50 inches) of snow this week as a record cold outbreak swept over North America. Meanwhile the first snow of the season, just a trace, fell on Montreal, Quebec, below. It remains cold with more snow expected this weekend.
 The early season cold snap has been one for the record books. While the snow and extreme cold has manged to evade Montreal, such has not been the case across a wide swath of the country.  Nearly 60 record lows were established across the Prairies on Friday morning alone. That being said, it is the coldest morning of the season in southern Quebec with -4C (25F) here on L'Ile Perrot. It is as cold as -10C in other parts of eastern Ontario and across the Laurentians. It will warm today to near 0C. Clouds will increase as that persistent southwest flow off the Great Lakes continues. Occasional flurries are also possible from time to time. That flow has generated signifcant lake effect snow downwind of the Great Lakes. Many regions have reported 10-20cm of snow. Incredibly 125cm (50 inches) fell this week at Montreal, Wisconsin near the Michigan border in the northern portion of the state. The amount will likely establish a new state record for a single event.

St Laurent, Quebec, Friday. (ValleyWX)
Montreal Snow
Once again Montreal is looking at the possibility of a measurable snowfall. A few flurries are possible late today into early Sunday with perhaps a dusting to 2cm to whiten the ground. Temperatures will be cold with highs near 0C (32F) and lows around -4C (25F). Low pressure will then move from the lower Great Lakes off the coast near New York City while deepening late Sunday. This will not be a monster storm, but it does have the potential to put down between 5 and 15cm (2-6 inches) of snow across a wide area from the Ohio Valley into New England and likely southern Quebec. The snow would start late Sunday or early Monday and taper Tuesday in the overnight hours. There is still some question as to the track of the system and Montreal may be just on the northern edge. Cold air will wrap in behind the storm with temperatures well below normal all next week and significant lake effect snow in western New York and even the southwest St. Lawrence Valley west of Brockville.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Cold air and snow on the way

Hundreds of accidents have occurred from the Prairies to the upper Midwest as early snow covers a big portion of the country into the US. (Minnesota State Police)
Arctic air is moving across most of western and central Canada this morning, and is poised to move into southern Quebec and Ontario. A strong cold front is sweeping across Montreal currently, with the cold air pouring in behind it. Temperatures will reach 9C (48F) today before the colder air arrives. The rain will taper off by noon. The temperature will drop to the freezing point this evening under partly cloudy skies.

Further north and west freezing rain and snow is falling across northern Quebec and Ontario. As the cold air moves across Lake Huron, heavy lake effect snow is expected in the snow belts of southern Ontario. Warnings have been posted there. The prairies are just plain frigid this morning. It is -19C (-2F) in Calgary this morning and -16C (2F) in Edmonton. The cold air has poured into the Midwest US with heavy snow across Montana, the Dakotas, Michigan and Minnesota. The heavy snow caused hundreds of accidents, and four fatalities. The arctic cold has settled as far south as Texas and Oklahoma with some locations are 40 degrees colder than they were yesterday.

Over the weekend low pressure will move from the Great Lakes to the east coast with an area of snow falling along and to the northwest of the path. Snow may fall in Montreal for the first time this season late Sunday and Monday. The low will trail another arctic front with the coldest air this season moving into Montreal, Quebec and Ontario by Monday. Heavy snow is forecast around the snow belts of the Great Lakes and into Ontario and western New York. It may even work its way into the St. Lawrence Valley.Travel will become difficult in places with the first icy roads of the season. I will post much more on this developing weather story as the week moves along. Until then just scattered showers or flurries are possible.