Thursday, June 22, 2017

Moisture from tropical storm Cindy to surge into Quebec

Waves crash on Lake Pontchartrain Wednesday, as tropical storm Cindy approached the Texas and Louisiana shoreline. Heavy surf, scattered tornadoes and torrential rain impacted the region from east Texas to the Florida panhandle. Moisture from Cindy will invade southern Quebec by early Friday. (AP Photo)
Tropical storm Cindy made landfall in the wee hours Thursday morning along the Texas/Louisiana Gulf Coast, with 50 mph winds and torrential rains. On Wednesday, the storm claimed one life in Alabama, and produced widespread heavy rainfall, along with isolated tornadoes. As much as 8 inches of rain fell from the Florida Panhandle into southern Mississippi causing flash flooding. Coastal flooding occurred as well, with several barrier islands completely inundated. What remains of Cindy is moving inland today, heading for the Tennessee and Ohio Valleys through Saturday.

Cindy will send a surge of tropical moisture northward from the Gulf of Mexico into the lower Great Lakes over the next 48 hours. The moisture will interact with a warm front moving into southern Ontario and Quebec, producing very heavy rain and thunderstorms overnight. After a perfect day on Thursday, with sunshine and warm highs of 25C (77F), clouds will increase, with rain developing in Montreal by midnight. Expect 25 to 50mm (1 to 2 inches) of rain by Friday evening. Despite the clouds and rain on Friday, it will feel tropical-like, warm and humid, with high temperatures up to 26C (79F). The holiday weekend will be unsettled, with showers possible at anytime, especially Sunday, and cooler temperatures.

Three Quebec Tornadoes
Environment Canada has investigated the damage caused by severe weather on Sunday, June 18, and determined that three tornadoes occurred in southern Quebec. The first, with a 3.5km long path, was an EF-2 storm on the enhanced Fujita scale, capable of winds up to 180km/h. Two people were injured and several homes severely damaged near Hebertville/Mont Lac-Vert. The second storm occurred near Sainte-Anne-du-Lac, with a 4.5km long path, measuring as an EF-2 as well, with winds between 180 and 200km/h. The final tornado occurred 20km south of L'Etape in the Laurentian Wildlife Reserve. Little information is available for this tornado due to the isolated location which it occurred. Quebec on average records 6 tornadoes annually, so we are well on our way for 2017, with three occurring in just one day.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Summer Solstice, tropical troubles and searing heat

The forecast track of soon-to-be-named tropical storm Cindy. Heavy rain is forecast to spread along the Gulf Coast into the Ohio Valley by the weekend. (NOAA/NHC)
There is plenty of weather to talk about this morning. To start, we have a few lines of showers and thunderstorms moving across the Island of Montreal. The poor timing of the rain has meant a long and difficult commute for many. The storms primarily contain heavy rain, but there have been reports of some intense lightning as well. Precipitation will become more scattered in nature as the day progresses, but conditions will remain unsettled for most of the week. Temperatures will be noticeably cooler, around 24C (76F).

On Sunday, severe weather impacted portions of Quebec. While the storms missed Montreal, the regions of the Laurentians, Mont-Laurier and Lanaudière were affected. Mirabel recorded a wind gust of 89km/h. Damage in the Lac Vert area indicates that a tornado may have occurred. A cabin was destroyed in Sainte-Anne-du-Lac. Environment Canada is investigating.

Swirling storm clouds on Sunday in the Lanaudière region of Quebec. (Quebec Vortex via Facebook)
Summer Arrives
The next week will feature the longest days of the year here in Montreal. The Summer Solstice will occur in the wee hours of Wednesday morning, at 12:24 a.m. The sunrise will be at 5:06 a.m, setting at 8:47 p.m., with 15 hours and 40 minutes of daylight. Sadly, after June 25, the days will begin to get shorter.

It will feel like summer across southwest portions of the US, as a potent heatwave takes shape. Temperatures have been well over 40C this week, with some locations in southern California and Arizona flirting with 50C (122F). The heat has caused numerous issues, including power outages, wildfires and heat-related health concerns. Records were shattered in several locations. Phoenix reached a record high of 118F on Monday. Roads have been buckling in the extreme heat and several airlines were forced to cancel flights, including American Airlines in Phoenix. The heatwave is expected to last throughout the week.

Tropics
Atlantic hurricane season officially started June 1, and the tropics are heating up. Two systems have developed in the last couple of days. On Tuesday morning, tropical storm Bret was located 35km east, northeast of Isla Margarita in the southern Caribbean. The storm has 45 mph winds and is moving west, northwest at 21mph. Bret is forecast to skirt the South American coast over the next couple of days. Another tropical system is located in the central Gulf of Mexico, 430km south, southwest of the mouth of the Mississippi River. This storm will likely become Cindy in the next 24 hours. Cindy will become a big news maker over the upcoming week and into the weekend, as she moves towards Louisiana. A tropical storm warning is in effect this morning for southeast Louisiana. Heavy rain and strong winds will spread onto the coast later today and especially Wednesday. Cindy will then spread heavy tropical rains inland across the US southeast and into the Ohio Valley.

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Elevated risk of strong thunderstorms today for southern Quebec

The National Weather Service severe weather outlook for Sunday. Strong to severe thunderstorms are likely this afternoon across southern Ontario and Quebec. (NWS Burlington)
A severe thunderstorm watch will likely be needed for a portion of southern Quebec including metro Montreal later today. If you have outdoor activities planned, stay alert to changing weather and updated forecasts.

A very warm and humid air mass draped across southern Ontario and Quebec is expected to yield strong thunderstorms today. A heat warning is in effect for metro Montreal for Sunday. The combination of very warm temperatures and high humidity, is expected to produce humidex readings (real feel temperatures) close to 40C (104F).  The temperature today will range from 28C (83F) in the Ottawa Valley up to 32C (90F) in metro Montreal.

A strong, slow moving cold front will begin to influence the weather across eastern Ontario this afternoon, and by the supper hour in Montreal. Strong to severe thunderstorms are possible between 5pm and 8pm Sunday in Montreal, with the main threat being strong winds, heavy rain and frequent lightning. There is a risk of hail with the strongest storms, and an isolated tornado can't be ruled out. The storms that did develop in Ontario on Saturday prompted tornado warnings in and around
Toronto. Strong circulation was noted with supercell thunderstorms, along with 64mm of rain in North York.

Showers and thunderstorms will continue into the overnight hours in Montreal, while diminishing in strength. On Monday, the weather will remain warm and muggy, with a continued threat for thunderstorms. The strongest storms however will be to the east of Montreal on Monday, over the Eastern Townships, Beauce and New England. On Monday, heavy rain is possible as well, with the threat for flash flooding across upstate New York and Vermont. Flash flood watches are widespread across those regions. Expect dry and cooler weather to return by Tuesday.

Friday, June 16, 2017

Muggy weekend ahead for southern Ontario and Quebec

A strong cold front with slam into the warm and humid air mass across southern Quebec and Ontario by Sunday afternoon. Strong thunderstorms are likely for several regions. (AccuWeather.com)
A warm front is in the process of lifting north across the St. Lawrence Valley Friday afternoon, after dumping up to 25mm (1 inch) of rain on the region. Behind the front, warm and humid air will begin to pour into southern Quebec. Temperatures were around 18C (65F) in Montreal on Friday, but Toronto was up to 30C (86F). This is an indication of how warm the air is behind the front. Saturday will feature mainly sunny skies, with temperatures approaching 30C in Montreal along with elevated humidity values. Combined with the high humidity, it will feel more like the upper 30s both Saturday and Sunday. Conditions will be even warmer on Sunday, with high temperatures in the low 30s (upper 80s and low 90s) in portions of Quebec, Ontario and especially across northern New York and New England. Overnight lows Saturday will remain warm in Montreal, near 21C (70F). Conditions will feel quite uncomfortable for sleeping.

STRONG THUNDERSTORMS
A strong cold front will plow into the moist, unstable air beginning late Sunday. Strong to potentially severe thunderstorms are possible, with heavy rain, gusty winds and hail. The storms are expected to develop in southern Ontario early Sunday, and reach Ottawa and Montreal by the evening. Showers and thunderstorms will persist into Monday in southern Quebec, along with the muggy air. Some relief will arrive by Tuesday with cooler and less humid conditions expected. If you have plans outdoors on Sunday, be sure to listen to the latest forecast concerning the severe weather potential.

Be lightning savvy, remember, When The Thunder Roars, Go Indoors.

Monday, June 12, 2017

Strong winds cut power to thousands of Quebec homes

Winds gusted over 70km/h in southern Quebec on Sunday, splintering numerous tree branches, and cutting power to over 25,000 homes and businesses in the province.
Very warm air poured into southern Quebec on Sunday, driven by winds of 60 to 80km/h. A peak gust of 69km/h was observed at Trudeau Airport and 72km/h at St Hubert Airport on the South Shore. The wind played havoc with tree branches all day long, either breaking them completely, or knocking them into power lines. One branch fell on a ticket booth at the Canadian Grand Prix. No injuries were reported. Hydro Quebec reported outages to nearly 25,000 homes and business across the southern portion of the province, with 12,000 alone in metro Montreal. Crews have been working throughout the night, and as of 3:00pm Monday, 6425 customers remain without power. The winds remain gusty today, in the 30 to 50km/h range. Strong wind warnings have been posted for marine interest on the Seaway.

As far as temperatures go, Montreal managed 30C (85F), while the mercury soared to a record 33C (91F) in Quebec City. Other locations ranged from 29C to 32C (85 to 90F). In Burlington, Vermont, a record high of 34C (95F) occurred on Sunday, the warmest day ever this early in the season. The weather is even warmer on Monday in southern Quebec, with Montreal at 31C (88F) as of 2pm.

Thunderstorms developed across western Quebec in the sultry air early Monday morning, passing just to the north of Montreal. More showers and thunderstorms are likely this evening, before cooler and drier air arrives for Tuesday through Thursday. Temperatures will fall back to more normal values of 22C to 25C (72 to 77F). Overnight lows will be much more comfortable than the 21C (70F) recorded Sunday night in Montreal, near 13C (55F).

Strong thunderstorms produced deep hail across central Minnesota early Sunday morning. Above: snow plows were used to clear roads in Coon Rapids, Minnesota. (Weather Nation Photo)
Montreal was not the only location in the warm and humid air mass this weekend. Most of the eastern seaboard westward into the Great Lakes and across the northern plains were well above normal. Strong thunderstorms swept across the upper Midwest early Sunday morning. Those storms produced widespread damage in Minnesota, the Dakotas and Wisconsin. Winds in excess of 120km/h hit portions of central Minnesota, along with hail measured in feet.

Thursday, June 08, 2017

Summer weather pattern develops in Montreal

A ridge of high pressure will push the first real round of hot and humid weather of the year, into southern Ontario and Quebec over the weekend and into next week. (AccuWeather.com)
Warm temperatures will make a much anticipated return to southern Ontario and Quebec over the next few days. The warmest air will be across southwest Ontario into New England, where highs could easily settle into the low to middle 30s by Sunday. The scenario is not as clear here in southern Quebec, where a few ridge runners, fronts moving along the periphery of warm high pressure, may give us some showers or thunderstorms. All is good for Thursday evening, with clear skies in Montreal and mild overnight lows in the middle teens. On Friday, we expect abundant sunshine, but with afternoon clouds and perhaps a scattered shower or thunderstorms. The high temperature will be  a little cooler than Thursday, around 24C (76F).

Crews did their best to keep the cars running during a deluge at the Canadian Grand Prix in Montreal in 2011.

The Canadian Grand Prix events taking place this weekend, will benefit from a decent forecast. Saturday appears perfect at this time, with nothing but sunshine, and temperatures near 26C (80F). Sunday is a little suspect at this time. It will be warm and humid, near 30C (86F), but with a decent chance of afternoon thunderstorms, some of which may put down a quick deluge of rain. Of course the Canadian Grand Prix is no stranger to thunderstorms, with the 2011 race taking place in a flash flood at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve. Heading to the track this weekend bring plenty of water, sunscreen and perhaps an umbrella as well. Warm and humid weather is forecast to persist into next week, with numerous showers and thunderstorms and temperatures in the mid to upper 20s.

Monday, June 05, 2017

Warmer weather expected in Montreal for the Grand Prix

A spectacular shot of the EF-0 tornado that slipped past Three Hills, Alberta Friday evening. The storm, capable of 135km/h winds, only produced minor damage. It was on the ground for nearly 20 minutes before dissipating. 
(Photo via The Weather Network)

More rain in Montreal
What a miserable stretch of weather southern Quebec has experienced this spring. In total, 41 of the last 66 days through Monday, have featured some form of precipitation. Most of those days were accompanied by cooler than normal temperatures as well. The first week of June has been nothing to celebrate either, with Sunday being the best day of the month, and even then, just a few hours of it. The good news is we can see a bit of warmer weather ahead for the Canadian Grand Prix weekend in Montreal. The bad news is we have a few more days of rain before we get there.

On Monday, 16mm or rain had fallen at my home on L'Ile Perrot as of 4pm. More rain is expected through Tuesday, with some thunderstorms possible as well. A stubborn area of high pressure located over the North Atlantic has been blocking the eastward progression of low pressure systems. Our current weather is the result of an upper level low pressure area slowly drifting southeast across Ontario and into central New York. This system is expected to remain in our region through at least Thursday. By Saturday, high pressure and sunshine should return, with temperatures warming into the middle 20s. The normal high for early June in Montreal should be near 23C (73F).

Alberta Tornado
By now I'm sure many of you have seen the picture shown above of the tornado near Three Hills, Alberta last Friday afternoon. Thankfully the spectacular storm only produced minor damage. The storm was rated an EF-0 tornado on the Enhanced Fujita scale (EF-0 to EF-5), capable of winds up to 137km/h. We are entering the heart of severe weather season in Canada, June through August. On average Canada records 62 tornadoes each year. Saskatchewan leads the way with 18, followed by Alberta with 15 and Ontario with 13. Quebec can expect between 4 and 5 tornadoes each year. Researchers believe many more occur in Canada, but go undetected due to our vast remote areas. If a tornado warning is issued in your region, act quickly and seek shelter in an interior room, preferably with no windows, and at the lowest point in you home.  Put as many walls between you and the outdoors. If you are stuck outside, seek shelter in a sturdy building immediately. If you can't, find the lowest point possible, lie flat and protect your head from debris.