Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Record breaking Prairie windstorm - more warm weather for Montreal

The first frost of the season occurred on L'Ile Perrot early Tuesday morning. Our weather will turn unseasonably warm once again as we head into the upcoming weekend. (ValleyWeather Photo)
Another period of warm and dry weather is expected across much of southern Ontario and Quebec this week. Temperatures will go above normal in Montreal on Wednesday and remain that way right through the upcoming weekend. The average high/low for mid-October in Montreal is 3C/12C. Temperatures will be well above this, with daytime highs approaching 21C (70F) by Saturday. Overnight lows during this period will be between 7C and 13C (45 to 55F). Coming after our first official frost, which occurred on Tuesday morning, this could be considered our Indian Summer. Big changes are on the horizon for Montreal, as a potent cold front and upper level low pressure area will begin impacting our weather early next week. Showers, strong winds and much colder temperatures are expected by the end of next week, into Halloween.

Above and below: Wind speeds of up to 131km/h in Moose Jaw, 119km/h in Regina and 113km/h in Saskatoon, generated widespread damage on the prairies. (CBC Photo)
Prairie Windstorm
A fast moving low pressure and cold front swept across Alberta and Saskatchewan on Tuesday creating hurricane force wind gusts. Winds in excess of 100km/h knocked down trees and power lines, fanned grass and brush fires and took down hundreds of trees. In Alberta, the highest wind reported was at Acadia Valley at 126km/h. Meanwhile a gust to 131km/h occurred at 10pm in Moose Jaw. This was the strongest wind ever recorded in that city, the previous record was 119km/h set on October 16, 1991. The wind caused widespread damage to several homes and businesses. SaskPower reported multiple outages across the province, impacting thousands of customers.

In southwest Saskatchewan, a rapidly moving grass fire forced the evacuation of Leader, Burstall and the RM of Deerfork. Residents were allowed to return home Tuesday evening. The windy weather was being blamed for the derailment of 28 rail cars, blown off the tracks near Huxley, Alberta. The wind also blew dust and debris across the Trans-Canada Highway, making travel extremely dangerous from Calgary to Regina. In addition to the wind, 13 new record high temperatures were established in Saskatchewan on Tuesday. The strong winds have now moved east into Manitoba.


Monday, October 16, 2017

From record warmth to frost

Wind damage to homes in Mount-Laurier, north of Montreal. (Photo from Jason Campbell via CBC)
This weather this October could very well give you whiplash. A frost advisory is out for Montreal, just 24 hours after record warmth in southern Quebec. The first widespread frost of the season is likely Monday night in Montreal, with overnight lows between 0C and -2C (29 to 32F). On Sunday, strong low pressure over the Great Lakes, combined with a potent cold front to produce very strong winds and record warmth. Saint-Anne-de-Bellevue reached 24.6C (76F), eclipsing the old record of 23.3C (73F) set in 2014. Saint Clothilde near the US border was 25.7C (78F), also breaking the 2014 record of 23.8C. The warm spot in the entire country was Saint Anicet at 25.9C (79F). This morning, most locations are between 3C and 5C (37 to 41F), quite a shock to the system.

A powerful cold front is responsible for the fresh arctic air. That front generated a squall line that produced damaging winds from central and southern Ontario into southern Quebec. The hardest hit region in Quebec was the lower Laurentians, where winds knocked out power to over 10,000 homes and produced structural damage. In Mont-Laurier, 4 homes were damaged, two severely. No injuries were reported. Numerous trees were down across roads as well. In Ontario, winds gusted to 96km/h in Ottawa, 102km/h in Toronto, and 104km/h in London. Widespread damage was reported to trees and power lines. In the Montreal region, the front was less intense, with a peak wind gust to 69km/h at Sherbrooke, 67km/h at St Hubert and 61km/h at Trudeau Airport. Scattered power outages were reported in metro Montreal, with the largest in Pincourt where nearly 1000 customers were in the dark.

Hurricane Ophelia has taken a very rare path into Ireland. (NHC)

Hurricane Ophelia
Once Category 3 Hurricane Ophelia, is moving across Ireland on Monday. Winds of 176km/h (109 mph) were already observed on the small island of Fastnet Rock off the Irish coast. Towering seas and torrential rains are accompanying the rare hurricane. Ophelia has set a record as the most eastern Category 3 storm on record, another sign of our changing climate. Hurricanes rarely move into this part of the Atlantic due to the colder water temperatures. Across Ireland, schools and businesses are closed, hundreds of flights cancelled in Dublin, and power is out to over 120,000 customers. The military has been placed on standby. Storm warnings are in effect across Ireland and Scotland as well as the northern United Kingdom.

Friday, October 13, 2017

Another warm fall weekend for Montreal - changes on the way

Montreal can expect another warm weekend before much cooler air returns on Monday. (AccuWeather)
The temperature was a little closer to normal this past week in Montreal. The weather actually felt like October. This morning, I recorded 3.3C (37F) on L'Ile Perrot for the morning low. Some locations away from the city even had a light frost the last few mornings, but not here in Montreal. The average date for our first frost is October 7. However, in recent years, this has been more like October 15. It looks like a pattern change is in store over the next week or so, but not before another warm weekend in southern Quebec.

Enjoy the warm temperatures and beautiful fall foliage in Montreal this weekend. Changes are coming!
Low pressure is expected to move from Colorado, across the Great Lakes and north of Montreal on Saturday. Along the path of the storm, heavy rain is expected. Here in southern Quebec, a warm front will produce scattered showers tonight and early Saturday, before gusty southerly winds arrive and warmer temperatures. The high on Saturday will be near 20C (68F), with 22C (73F) expected Sunday. The record high for Sunday of 26.1C set in 1954, is in reach, but with expected cloud cover, it is unlikely we will get there. A cold front arrives on Sunday with showers and perhaps a thunderstorm. Much cooler air arrives for next week, with the likelihood of our first widespread frost by Tuesday morning. Morning lows will be at or just below 0C (32F) by next Tuesday.

There is plenty of cold air gathering across far northern Canada. The temperature was -22C (-8F) this morning in Mould Bay, Nunavut. It is just a matter time before pockets of this begin to impact eastern Canada. Parts of the Prairies were well below freezing this morning as well, with Regina at -10C (14F). Temperature trends in Montreal have been well above normal since the start of September. However, look for a dramatic pattern change prior to Halloween in southern Quebec. At this time, it is looking like an early start to winter during November. Now is the time to start getting ready, while the weather is good.

Monday, October 09, 2017

Strong winds cut power to 37,000 Quebec homes

Hurricane Nate rapidly moved across the central Gulf Coast late Saturday and early Sunday, cutting power, flooding coastal regions and sinking boats. Nate will produce heavy rain in southern Ontario and Quebec Thanksgiving Monday. (The Weather Channel Photo)
A gusty cold front moved across southern Quebec on Sunday morning, producing winds of up to 82km/h at Trudeau Airport in Montreal. The wind pushed tree branches onto power lines, disrupting power to over 35,000 Quebec homes and businesses. Most were located off island to the north, but as many as 3000 were without power in Montreal. Here on L'Ile Perrot, power was restored by the noon hour. The weather remained windy for the balance of the day, gusting in excess of 50km/h. The front did little to lower the warm temperatures we have been experiencing. Our record warm fall continued on Sunday, with 16 new daily record highs established in the province. Montreal reached 25C (77F), just shy of the 25.6C record from 1970.

Hurricane Nate
Hurricane Nate made landfall in Biloxi, Mississippi early Sunday morning as a Category 1 hurricane. A storm surge of up to 10 feet impacted the Mississippi and Alabama Gulf Coast, with flooding reported in many locations. The water receded rapidly, with the clean-up starting immediately. Wind gusts of up to 90mph, cut power to nearly 100,000 Gulf Coast residents. The surge left behind piles of debris and sand, but for the most part, damage appeared to be light. Flooding was reported at several coastal Casinos in Biloxi. Numerous boats were washed ashore or pushed into docks and pilings. Several tornadoes were also reported, especially across Alabama.

Nate has been a fast moving storm, travelling from Central America on Thursday to the Ohio Valley Monday morning. The storm has weakened to a post-tropical system early Monday, located near Akron, Ohio. Heavy rain is falling north and west of the center, with 25-50mm (1-2 inches) expected along the lower Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Valley on Thanksgiving Monday. The rain will persist most of the day in Montreal, along with gusty northeast winds. Nate will move into Atlantic Canada tonight.

Saturday, October 07, 2017

Hurricane Nate heads for central Gulf Coast

Satellite image of hurricane Nate, located 345 miles south of the Gulf Coast early Saturday, October 7. (NOAA)
Hurricane Nate is rapidly moving towards the central Gulf Coast on Saturday morning, as a category 1 storm. Warnings and watches are in effect from western Florida to central Louisiana, including metro New Orleans. As of 4am Saturday morning, Nate has 80mph (130km/h) winds and is moving north at 22mph (35km/h). The center of the storm is 345 miles (550km) south, southeast of the mouth of the Mississippi River. Some strengthening is forecast by the National Hurricane Center before Nate crosses the coast late tonight. The coastlines of Mississippi and Alabama are prone to storm surge flooding. A surge of up to 9 feet is forecast in those regions. Heavy rainfall is forecast along the path of Nate from the Gulf Coast into New England. A state of emergency has been declared in Mississippi, Alabama and Louisiana in advance of the storm. Precautions to protect life and property are being rushed to completion Saturday morning.

Once inland, Nate will weaken rapidly to a depression and move towards southern New England. Much needed rainfall from Nate is forecast across southern Quebec on Thanksgiving Monday, with perhaps as much as 25mm (1 inch) here in Montreal.

Hurricane Nate is already being blamed for 21 deaths across Central America from flooding and mudslides.

Tuesday, October 03, 2017

Warm in Montreal while snow blankets southern Alberta

Heavy snow and blowing snow closed down a portion of the Trans Canada Highway east of Calgary on Tuesday, October 4. (Global News Photo)
The southern Quebec weather remains nearly perfect for early October. Sunshine along with above normal temperatures has prevailed since Sunday. Strong high pressure has delivered us the perfect days, along with chilly nights and widely scattered frost. A cold front is forecast to approach the region on Wednesday, with gusty southwest winds up to 50km/h and near record high temperatures of 26C (79F) forecast for Montreal. We will come close to the record for October 4 of 26.7C set in 2005. The cold front will lead to increasing clouds, along with showers and thunderstorms. Skies should clear on Thursday, with temperatures just slightly cooler. The weekend at this time will be partly cloudy, with showers. Temperatures will warm again to well above normal, and possibly record breaking by Sunday and Monday. Looking ahead deeper into October, above normal temperatures and dry weather is expected through the middle of the month. Beyond that, cooler weather is expected, but nothing earth shattering.

Alberta Snowstorm
While we were enjoying our beautiful weather here in eastern Canada, winter settled into southern Alberta and southwest Saskatchewan. Strong low pressure developed over Montana on Monday, producing heavy rain and snow across the region, along with winds in excess of 100km/h. The storm pulled down cold air on the west side of the system, producing heavy snow in the Rockies and across the plains south and east of Calgary. A portion of the Trans Canada Highway east of Calgary towards Medicine Hat was closed due to blowing snow and mounting accidents. Shelters were opened to help stranded motorists.

An impressive wind gust of 117km/h was recorded at Patricia, Alberta, 87km/h at Strathmore and 80km/h at Calgary. Snow totals included 10-15cm in and around Calgary, 20 to 25cm at Coronation and 35cm in the Cypress Hills bordering Alberta and Saskatchewan. On the warmer side of the low pressure, heavy rain fell along with thunderstorms. Rainfall amounts included, 59.6mm at Lucky Lake, 34mm at Swift Current and 19mm in Regina. Heavy snow also fell in portions of northern Montana. Conditions will warm up a little this week, so most of the snow should melt.

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Record breaking September heatwave for Ontario & Quebec

The hot and humid weather in eastern Canada established over 60 new record highs on Monday, September 25.
Just how hot was September 25th in Ontario and Quebec? Between the two provinces, over 60 new high temperature records were established. Montreal reached 31.5C (88F), the second warmest day of the entire year. This temperature was also the warmest fall temperature ever recorded in the city. Monday also marked the 17th consecutive day with no precipitation. On Tuesday, Montreal established another high temperature record at 29.1C, the old record was 26.5C set in 2007. This marks three consecutive days, and we will likely break another record Wednesday before cooler weather arrives. In addition to the record high temperatures, the humidex reading of 40C on Monday, was the latest in the season such a reading has been observed. This broke the record established just the previous day. Montreal also set new high/low temperature records with 20.6C overnight Sunday. This value smashed the previous record of 17.2C set in 1958. Heat warnings remain in effect for southern and eastern Ontario as well as southern Quebec.  The hot weather has also spread into Atlantic Canada. Late Tuesday afternoon, CFB Gagetown was the warmest location in the country at 33C (91F).

All this summer heat and humidity will come to an end late Wednesday and Thursday as a cold front arrives. Scattered showers and thunderstorms are possible along with temperatures returning to normal values for late September. In Montreal, that would be 17C (63F) for daytime highs and 7C (45F) for morning lows.