Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Spring warmth & rain for a day

More cold air will surge into eastern North America this weekend. This pattern has been all too familiar to residents since early January. (AccuWeather)
We finally managed to climb up to the freezing point Tuesday afternoon in Montreal. With bright sunshine, it felt very nice outdoors. The wind finally diminished after another breezy and cold start to the day. Low temperatures around the region Tuesday morning ranged form -13C (9F) at Trudeau Airport to as cold as -21C (-6F) in St Jovite and Sherbrooke.

Tonight will be much milder with southwest winds beginning to increase as high pressure moves east of the region. On Wednesday clouds will increase from the west as low pressure and a warm front move from southern Ontario into southern Quebec. Light rain will develop during the day in Ontario and spread into Montreal by late evening. Freezing rain is possible in portions of southwest Ontario early Wednesday morning, warnings are in place there. Some mixed snow is possible well north of Montreal but it should be above freezing in the city by the time the precipitation arrives. The mild southwest winds will help the temperature to rise to plus 6C (43F) on Wednesday in Montreal, and 8C (47F) on Thursday. Temperatures will remain above the freezing point Wednesday night in southern Quebec keeping any precipitation in the liquid form.

On Thursday a trough associated with this low as well as a strong cold front will move across southern Quebec with rain falling most of the day. A decent soaking is likely in Montreal with perhaps as much as 15mm. It will turn much colder Thursday night into Friday, with some mixed wet snow and rain showers possible. Temperatures will fall through the day Friday from plus 1C (34F) down to -11C (12F) by Saturday morning. It will be similar to last weekend with arctic high pressure over the region, but not nearly as cold.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Wicked cold Sunday in Montreal

Montreal Mayor Denis Coderre braved the cold along with thousands of others on Sunday for the 192nd Annual Montreal St. Patrick's Day Parade. 
(United Irish Society of Montreal Photo)
Despite the fact the calendar says spring, the season has yet to arrive. Sunday was another of oh so many cold days in Montreal these last few months. The temperature struggled to make it to -10C (14F), a full 15 degrees below the normal high for the date. If that was not enough, cold northwest winds over 50km/h put a dangerous windchill in the air. It was not enough to stop thousands from participating and watching the 192nd Annual Montreal St. Patrick's Day Parade. They bundled up and endured near record cold. The low Sunday morning was -16C (3F), just shy of the record of -16.7 (2F) set in 1959. This morning we are no better off, again at -16C (3F), and once again just shy of the record low of -17.2C (1F) set in 1997. Today will be windy and cold again with a high of -6C (21F). There is some good news, this arctic high pressure will drift east and allow a warm front to move into southern Quebec and Ontario by Wednesday. The result will be a high of 0C (32F) on Tuesday, and all the way up to 7C (45F) by Wednesday. Sunshine today and Tuesday followed by thickening clouds Wednesday with the chance of light rain by the afternoon.

We also managed snow over the weekend in Montreal with around 5cm on Saturday. Eastern Quebec had the brunt of the latest storm as it has most of the season. Up to 20cm fell across the Gaspe and Lower North Shore with strong winds and blowing snow. With only one full week left in March, the snow pack is very deep across the eastern third of the country. While Montreal has between 5 and 10cm of snow on the ground officially at Trudeau Airport, more in the suburbs, Halifax has 92cm and Charlottetown, PEI a whopping 146cm. We may have snow around until the end of April this year!

Friday, March 20, 2015

Spring arrives at 6:45pm

A spectacular view of the total eclipse of the sun taking place today across parts of far northern Europe and Asia. This photo was taken in Svalbard, Norway. (AP)
You made it through another winter in Montreal! The Vernal Equinox is at 6:45pm EDT today across North America heralding the arrival of spring. It is just part of a celestial show being put on by mother nature today. At the same time that spring arrives, we have a super moon and a total eclipse of the sun, visible across the North Atlantic and portions of extreme northern Europe and Asia. By all accounts it has been spectacular.

The weather will eventually catch up to the season but sadly not this weekend. Low pressure moving through the middle Atlantic states this morning will ride up the eastern seaboard and give more snow to winter weary New England and Atlantic Canada this weekend. The snow and strong winds will reach as far west as the Gaspe region. Here in southern Quebec we can expect a sunny, milder Friday with temperatures above freezing to plus 3C (38F). Tonight weak low pressure will arrive from western Canada along with a strong cold front. Light snow will develop tonight and mix with rain on Saturday. Saturday will be mild again at 2C (36F). That cold front will slice across Ontario and Quebec on Saturday night with gusty northwest winds and periods of snow and blowing snow. Snowfall will be light, 2-4cm for Montreal. The big news will be the rapidly dropping temperatures behind the arctic front, down to -16 to -20C (3 to -4F) by Sunday morning and only climbing to around -9C (16F) during the daylight hours Sunday. It will feel even colder than that with a strong northwest wind all day. It will turn milder next week.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Cold better than snow?

Halifax on Wednesday morning. Over 60cm of snow and strong winds turned the city into a wintry ghost town. (Metro News)
Cold better than snow, a question or a statement, depending on which weather you prefer. The fact is all the cold weather Montreal and southern Quebec has been experiencing since late December has in fact kept our snow totals down. Montreal has not recorded one single snow event over 20cm this winter, and we have only had 22cm this month. Halifax had that much snow in just a few hours on Wednesday. The arctic high pressure that has been so dominant in our area has deflected the storms further south and east. A difference of as little as 160km has saved us from being buried.

Such was the case again this week as two more storms skirted the east coast with heavy snow across the Maritimes and eastern New England. Charlottetown, PEI has broken a seasonal record with over 463cm of snow so far, more than Whistler, B.C. On Wednesday the brunt of the most recent storm hit Halifax, Nova Scotia, shutting down the city. Over 60cm of snow fell in less than 24 hours, blown around by 70km/h winds. Another coastal storm is forecast for this upcoming weekend. That storm will pass south and east of Montreal bringing snow to places like New York and Boston Saturday and into Atlantic Canada Sunday.

Meanwhile arctic high pressure will remain in control in Montreal with sunny and cold weather today. A series of fronts will bring milder air Friday and Saturday but with some light snow expected. A strong cold front will cross the city Saturday night with snow squalls, strong winds and dropping temperatures. The high on Friday and Saturday will be above freezing at 2C (36F) but drop to a high of only -5C (23F) for Sunday, well below the normal high of 4C (39F).

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Cold week ahead for Montreal

The relentless winter in eastern Canada continued Monday with a fierce blizzard bringing travel to a standstill in Newfoundland. (CBC News)
Happy St Patrick's Day, I wish I had better weather news. It looks like a period of below normal temperatures is upon us yet again lasting into next weekend. It is the same old story across North America, record warmth in portions of the west and southwestern US with biting cold and snowstorms in the east. This morning we have a potent cold front moving across southeastern Ontario and southern Quebec. Light snow is falling in Montreal as we have dropped to the freezing point. The snow is mixed with rain in other parts of the region. The precipitation will taper off by noon with about 5cm in most locations. Winds will increase out of the northwest 30-60km/h shortly and temperatures will drop all day to -3C (27F) by evening. Skies will clear out this evening with a cold overnight low of -12C (10F). Wednesday will be sunny but cold for middle March reaching only -4C (25F). The normal high should be 3C (38F). By the weekend the coldest air in North America will be located over Quebec and New England.

On Monday the biggest snowstorm of the year dumped nearly 40cm of snow on Newfoundland with winds in excess of 100km/h. The snow closed most roads and stranded numerous motorists. The same storm had hit the Maritimes hard on Sunday with blizzard conditions. Meanwhile another couple of inches of snow in Boston has pushed them over the 1995 record to 108.5" of snow, the snowiest winter on record. As all this was going on in the east, portions of the northern plains and Midwest had record high temperatures in the 70's and 80's. Even normally cold and snowy Winnipeg managed a high of 14C (56F) on Sunday with no snow on the ground to speak of.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Spring on hold in southern Quebec & Atlantic Canada

Above & Below: Snowy late winter morning on L'Ile Perrot, Quebec. (ValleyWX Photos)
Nobody would blame you for staying in bed in eastern Canada this morning. A rather robust upper level low spinning over southern Quebec has been responsible for a wintry mix of precipitation over the last 24 hours. Rain, freezing rain and wet snow Saturday transitioned to a heavy wet snow overnight with 8-25cm falling across southern and eastern Quebec. I measured 9cm (3.5 inches) on my driveway here on L'Ile Perrot at 8am this morning. Sorel, Quebec reported 22cm of snow, Thetford Mines in the Townships 24cm and St Agathe 22cm. It is still snowing lightly with an increasing northwest wind. Roads have been plowed but are very icy with a temperature at -3C (27F).

The low will continue to produce snow today from Montreal east into Atlantic Canada. A second area of low pressure developing off the Atlantic coast will deepen rapidly and become the main system, blasting New Brunswick and Nova Scotia today. Blizzard conditions are expected with winds increasing to 50-80km/h from Quebec City east into Nova Scotia. They will gust in Montreal today as well, up to 60km/h producing blowing snow. We can expect a high near 1C (33F) today in Montreal. Skies will clear briefly tonight before clouds increase on Monday, the low will be -9C (16F). A series of cold fronts this week will bring us lots of flurries with windy and much colder weather by Wednesday. Temperatures will remain below freezing for highs and drop down to the minus teens for lows, well below the normal high/low of plus 3C and -6C.

Friday, March 13, 2015

Snowy weekend for Montreal

Welcome to the wild weather world known as the month of March. This month swings between record warmth and snowstorms, sometimes within a 48 hour period. Just this week, after such a cold six weeks, Montreal almost squeezed out a record high on Tuesday. The mercury soared to plus 8C (48F), short of the 10.3C record set in 1977. That was at Trudeau Airport, other locations in southern Quebec including L'Ile Perrot and St. Anicet actually went above the record high reaching 11C (52F). But, just 36 hours later here we are shivering again at -12C (10F) with a gusty wind.

We can expect a partly cloudy Friday with temperatures warming to -3C (27F). Clouds will thicken this afternoon as a slow moving weak area of low pressure moves east from northwest Ontario. This system will bring very light snow or freezing drizzle overnight to eastern Ontario and southern Quebec. On Saturday, deeper moisture will stream northward from developing low pressure in the Mississippi Valley. This will likely produce a period of wet snow mixed with rain. The precipitation will change over to all snow by the evening and overnight hours Saturday. Montreal and points north of the city can expect 5-10cm of wet snow. South and east of Montreal across the Townships and into Maine closer to 20cm could fall. On Sunday precipitation will taper off to a few flurries or sprinkles. Temperatures throughout the weekend will be mild with highs just above freezing at plus 2 or 3C and lows near 0 or -1C. This same storm will intensify and bring the winter weary Maritimes more snow and strong winds on Sunday. Taking a quick look at the rest of March, it appears temperatures will remain below normal for Montreal with the likelihood of more snow.

Of note on this day in 1993, a massive storm hammered the east coast from Florida to Quebec. Take a look at it HERE.