Sunday, December 21, 2014

Windy - wet Christmas Day for Quebec & Ontario

Just a typical scene from Montreal during winter in the 1970's. I was blessed to be a child in this city during that time.
Happy Winter, the season arrived at 6:03pm Sunday evening.

If there is one thing I hate, it is rain on Christmas Day. You have to understand, I am a child of the 70's, as far as I am concerned, the best decade out of the last 5. The 1970's were just awesome at Christmas time. A look back at the stats for Montreal backs that up with lots of snow at Christmas time for sledding and skiing and ice at the park to skate on. I remember 1975 for example, 74cm of snow for the month, 3 storms including a Christmas Day storm that dumped 27cm into Boxing Day. There were others as well throughout the decade. This was my childhood, snowy Christmas after snowy Christmas throughout the 70's until 1979 that is. It seemed to change overnight as the decade was coming to an end. Christmas Day 1979 was green, the first of my childhood. It rained, over 31mm on the 25th. The month was very mild with only 8cm of snow, but 64mm of rain. It could be global warming, it could be the fact I turned 13, but either way the magic for me ended in 1979. After that, and certainly in the last 20 years, you have a more than even chance of rain and a green Christmas as you do for snow on December 25th in Montreal.

That brings me to Christmas 2014 and the likelihood of heavy rain and gusty winds throughout the middle portion of this week. To start the week we have chilly temperatures along with some fog and perhaps a few flurries. Low pressure developing along the Gulf coast will combine with another over the Great Lakes to create a potent storm by late Tuesday. This system will draw mild air into New England, Ontario and Quebec. Temperatures will begin warming by Tuesday and rise above freezing through Christmas Day. Heavy rain, from 25-50mm (1-2 inches) is likely from Wednesday into early Thursday. There may be a little freezing rain early on in the event on Tuesday afternoon. Temperatures will warm to 5C (41F) in Montreal and as warm as 10C (50F) in Toronto by Christmas Eve. Winds will also increase with this storm gusting well in excess of 50km/h by Wednesday. A cold front will bring an end to the rain late Thursday with perhaps a few flurries into Friday.

It is a very busy travel week for many and warnings may be required by Tuesday. I will update the blog as often as needed through Christmas Eve.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Potential Christmas Eve storm Ontario & Quebec

Wrapping up the snow clearing operation on L'Ile Perrot from last weeks storm. (ValleyWX Photo)
This dreary, soupy weather we have been in for at least a week has become rather tiring. The last week has seen low clouds, fog, light precipitation and temperatures hovering around 0C (32F) all the time here in Montreal. This morning is no different with a current reading of, you guessed it, 0C. We will remain steady there today into tonight as low pressure deepens in the Atlantic Ocean east of Nova Scotia. This system is producing quite a decent snowfall in Maine and New Brunswick with 15-20cm falling. The western edge of it is producing light snow across southern Quebec with 5-10cm for Sherbrooke and Quebec City and 2-4cm for Montreal. The snow should taper by noon for Montreal followed by cloudy skies. Temperatures will be a little cooler tonight under clearing skies with lows of -5C. Friday into Sunday should be partly cloudy with temperatures near -1C.

A pattern change looks likely for the week of Christmas across Ontario and Quebec. Much colder air is forecast to arrive by Boxing Day with the increasing potential for a major storm for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. Some computer models have a very deep storm system over the central Great Lakes by next Wednesday producing heavy amounts of snow north and west of the track and mixed precipitation here in Montreal. It would be a very windy system as well. There remains lots of uncertainty with this forecast as to timing and location of specific precipitation, however with it being a busy travel week we need to put it out there early. Have a back up plan ready just in case, this applies to our entire region into Ontario and south into the Ohio Valley, New York and New England.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Dreary but mild week ahead for Montreal & Ottawa

The storminess has shifted to the west coast of North America with heavy rain and snow as well as very strong winds and coastal flooding from B.C. to California. The dramatic photo above is from Mission Terrace, California. The storms have killed three in California producing flooding, landslides, power outages and massive transport delays. (Photo via Twitter,
Low clouds and fog and in some cases freezing drizzle continue to prevail across eastern Ontario and southern Quebec this morning. It is quite mild at -2C with very little movement in temperature over the entire weekend. Low pressure that brought us our first big snow last week is now located well east of the region over the Atlantic. High pressure has been trying to clear skies out since Saturday but to no avail. Moisture trapped at the surface has created a temperature inversion and left us with solid cloud cover. Sadly the clouds will hang on until the arrival of the next weather system, so it does not look good for any sunshine. Temperatures will be mild in Montreal for the next several days, near 0C (32F) today and Tuesday and above freezing to 2C (36F) on Wednesday. Low pressure will move very near the St. Lawrence Valley on Wednesday with a period of rain or mixed precipitation before changing to snow Wednesday night.  This is not a big storm, so amounts will be on the light side. It nevertheless will make for some slippery driving mid week. Temperatures will trend colder by the end of the week but no real arctic air is forecast until after Christmas.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Storm lessens grip on region

An emotional goodbye to Montreal Canadiens great Jean Beliveau  took place on Wednesday, played out in typical Montreal hockey weather. Despite the heavy snow and strong winds thousands gathered for the funeral. This included hundreds of fans who lined the streets for the two hour funeral, watching it on frozen big screens outside the church. (CTV News)
The first big winter storm of the season for metro Montreal will begin to slowly taper off today. Nearly 27cm (11 inches) of snow has fallen in Montreal with a general 15-30cm (6-12") across the entire region. The snow has been wet and heavy and difficult to clean. Temperatures for the duration of the storm have been within a few degrees of 0C. The official high at Trudeau Airport on Wednesday was 0.2C with a low of -0.8C, not much range. Typically coastal lows pass very quickly on the way to Atlantic Canada but not this one. It has lingered over New England now for 48 hours and will continue to do so well into Friday before weakening. The result has been lots of Atlantic moisture being transported inland as far west as Toronto this morning. Light snow will continue into Friday before ending with perhaps another 5cm for Montreal. The weekend at this time looks fair and mild for the big cleanup.

Rainfall has exceeded 100mm (4 inches) across portions of New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and PEI, while heavy snow and freezing rain knocked out power to over 20,000 Hydro Quebec customers, mostly in the Quebec City and the Eastern Townships. Winds around Quebec City and the lower St. Lawrence were as high as 100km/h on Wednesday. Numerous flights in and out of Trudeau Airport were either delayed or cancelled. The roads were terrible during the evening commute with a number of major accidents and even the closer of Highway 20 east of Quebec City due to whiteout conditions.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Long duration storm for Quebec, NY & Ontario

Around 10cm of wet snow fell on L'Ile Perrot overnight. More on the way this afternoon. (ValleyWX)
 Low pressure this afternoon is located over southern New York State. The system continues to send moisture across New England and into New York, Ontario and Quebec. Around 10cm (4 inches) of very dense heavy wet snow has fallen in Montreal and west into eastern Ontario with areas of freezing rain across the Townships. Quebec City has had 8cm of snow. Winter Storm Warnings and Snowfall Warnings remain in effect across the region. Another surge of moisture should arrive in Montreal by this afternoon with an additional 10-15cm (4-6") forecast into Thursday morning. Strong winds are also occurring today with gusts to 60km/h in Montreal.

Green Mountain Power crews in Vermont are keeping busy after heavy snow brought down trees on power lines. Over 35,000 customers were without power overnight. (NECN)
 Hydro Quebec is reporting nearly 10,000 customers without power due to the storm across the province, while Green Mountain Power in Vermont has nearly 17,000 blacked out. This number in Vermont is down from a high of 35,000 overnight. It may take days to restore all the power in Vermont, depending on how this next batch of moisture plays out. Roads are in good shape right now in metro Montreal, mostly slushy with the temperature stuck at 0C (32F) since 3am this morning. That may change as more snow arrives later this afternoon.

Tuesday, December 09, 2014

Snowfall Warning posted for Montreal & Cornwall

Visible Satellite image of low pressure near New York City this afternoon. (NWS NYC)
 Southern Quebec will be affected by a major east coast storm over the next 36 hours. Low pressure near New York City will slowly meander across New England through Thursday. The storm has been pounding coastal areas with flooding from North Carolina to New England today. Inland heavy rain and freezing rain is falling along the coastal plain with snow over the Green Mountains and Adirondacks. The snow has reached the St. Lawrence Valley and will fall steadily into late Wednesday. Montreal is looking at 20-30cm of snow, the first big storm of the season, therefore a snowfall warning is now in effect for the city and suburbs. Traffic is already crawling along area highways tonight.

Very poor travel across Vermont today. (via twitter Fox44)
Heavy snow is also forecast across eastern Ontario where warnings have been posted for Cornwall and points east. Winds will be strong along the St. Lawrence Valley from 50-70km/h with higher gusts possible, especially near Quebec City. Travel will be poor Wednesday into Thursday. Temperatures will be near the freezing point for the storm so the snow will be wet and very heavy. Winter Storm warnings are also in effect fro northern New York, Vermont, Quebec City and the Eastern Townships. Environment Canada recommends postponing unnecessary travel on Wednesday for points south and east of Montreal.

Major storm to impact Quebec

NCDOT photo of the Atlantic Ocean rushing onto North Carolina Highway 12 on the Outer Banks Monday. The flooding was caused by a strong Nor'Easter heading for New England and Quebec. Gale force winds, coastal flooding and heavy snow and rain will occur along the track of the storm. Strong winds and snow for Montreal.
Winter Storm Warning: Vermont, NY as well as Quebec City, Beauce and Townships.
Winter Weather Advisory: St. Lawrence Valley.
Special Weather Statement: Metro Montreal and Ottawa.

Low pressure this morning just east of Virginia Beach will move northeast towards New York City while deepening today. A plume of moisture associated with this system will overspread New England today and into southern Quebec and eastern Ontario tonight. Temperature profiles will be critical but it looks like mainly snow for Montreal and Ottawa with perhaps a mix across other portions of the province. This morning Montreal is cloudy and -5C. The temperature has fallen 5 degrees in the last hour after a wind shift form southeast to northeast. Northeast winds will increase all day becoming strong 50-70km/h by tonight and as high as 110km/h in Quebec City.

Light snow will develop this evening and continue throughout Wednesday in Montreal with 10-15cm (4-6 inches) likely for the city and perhaps 20cm (8 inches) outside the metro areas. As much as 30cm (1 foot) is possible in Quebec City and across the Beauce and Eastern Townships. There will be blowing snow as well reducing visibility in the St. Lawrence Valley. Travel will be slow across a wide area of eastern Ontario, southern Quebec and the northeast US late tonight and Wednesday. Light snow will continue into Thursday for Montreal with additional accumulations likely. Temperatures during the storm will be around 0C (32F) for highs and -4C (25F) for lows. The storm will slowly weaken as it meanders around New England before being swept into the Atlantic by Saturday.

Monday, December 08, 2014

Atlantic Coast storm to impact Quebec & Ontario

Just one computer model depicting a major storm near New York City by early Wednesday morning. This scenario produces heavy wet snow over the St. Lawrence Valley.

A rather complex weather scenario is setting up this week with the potential to dump heavy wet snow on the St. Lawrence Valley from Brockville to Quebec City. Cold high pressure is in place this morning with some of the chilliest readings so far this season. Temperatures range from -11 to -15C on the island of Montreal, but as cold as -18C north of the city. Look for sunshine with increasing clouds today and a cold high of -8C. Those clouds will thicken on Tuesday in response to low pressure organizing off the US eastern seaboard. This system will deepen into a major storm with strong winds and heavy precipitation for all of New England, New York eastern Ontario, Quebec and Atlantic Canada. It has been a difficult scenario for the computer models to handle, and lots of uncertainty remains as to the type and location of the heaviest precipitation. Right now it looks like mostly wet snow for eastern Ontario and a rain snow mix for southern Quebec with perhaps a prolonged period of freezing rain.

The initial push of moisture will arrive by late Tuesday, I am hopeful after the evening commute for Montreal. That will result in a few centimetres of wet snow with highs near 0C (32F). The snow will continue overnight into Wednesday morning with the possibility of over 10cm by Wednesday morning. I don't think Wednesday will be a good driving day in Montreal and Ottawa as well as the Quebec City to Brockville corridor. Heading south the same situation will prevail with 15-30cm (6-12 inches) of wet snow possible over northern Vermont and New York. Winds will become very strong out of the northeast in Montreal gusting in excess of 50km/h by late Tuesday. Looking ahead the system will be in no hurry to move away lingering along the coast near New York City and continuing to pump moisture into our region. Light snow or a wintry mix may last well into Thursday or Friday.

Warnings will likely be required for a portion of our region later today. I will post those as soon as they are available. Plan your week accordingly as travel will be rather difficult at times.