Sunday, March 30, 2008

Midwest flooding this weekend

Freezing rain early....

After a beautiful but chilly weekend here in Kemptville, the stage is set for unsettled weather this week. A storm system will move towards us for the Midwest and bring plenty of moisture with it. We can expect light snow to begin by daybreak Monday and mix with freezing rain before changing to rain by mid-day. it will be very mild into Tuesday before a strong cold front pushes through Ontario late Tuesday. With the low pressure and fronts we can expect over 30mm of precipitation. This is not good for the flood potential in the region. Plenty of snow remains and any new water will only add to the problems. A flood advisory remain posted for the entire Rideau watershed. Pay close attention to all water courses in the region and prepare now for flooding, especially if your area is historically prone to it.

Major flooding continues across the southern states and into the Midwest as seen in the AP photo above. More rain and heavy thunderstorms are forecast this week. meanwhile over a foot of new snow is expected at the head waters of the Mississippi in Minnesota. This will only aggravate the flood potential as well.

Back to Ontario, parts of central province into the Ottawa Valley can expect several hours of freezing rain before the changeover Monday. A freezing rain warning has been posted and includes Smiths Falls. The Monday morning commute could be icy. Afterwards expect mild air and rain.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Warmer weather on the way
Celebrate Earth Hour....
Much warmer weather is on the horizon for Ontario over the next two weeks. This has the Rideau Valley Conservation Authority on high alert. They are predicting moderate to severe flooding across the watershed. According to a press release yesterday they snow pack has decreased slightly but the water content has increased. With the warmer weather, we are also expecting showers late Monday and Tuesday. Check the link for Rideau Valley on the left often for more updates or for a Flood Warning which will be posted if flooding is imminent.

Celebrate Earth Hour thisSaturday, March 29 at 8pm. We are all asked to turn of all electricity and related items and enjoy some candlelight with friends and family. Numerous Canadian cities are taking part including North Grenville and Kemptville. We can reduce our energy consumption by as much as 10% and draw attention to our wasteful ways. Good luck and be safe...more info at this link earth hour

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Tranquil weather week

Good morning everyone and sorry for the days between posts. Easter and a big move at work have occupied my time. Fortunately the weather has been calm and will continue to be that way. We are in a pattern of fast moving west to east weather systems. We can expect the flurries and showers of last night to taper this morning. This will be followed by sunshine until Sunday! Mild weather as well as the March sun will begin to warm us up. We can expect high temperatures close to the normal of about 5C with overnight lows still chilly at -10C. This is good news allowing for the slow thaw to continue. The only chance of precipitation will be late Friday as another clipper slides south of our area. It may just nudge into our region.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Earthquake Rattles Kemptville.....

A 2.8 earthquake rattled the area just after 1:25pm today. It lasted only a few seconds but was felt across the region. Residents have reported the quake to both the Municipal Office and here at the paper.

Check this link for more information

Spring has sprung...

You made it! Spring officially arrived at 1:48am this morning. Great - winter is over and we were greeted by...snow. Over 20mm or so of rain fell across the area yesterday, but changed to wet snow overnight and has tapered off. Only a few flurries are expected today. Temperatures will be below normal for the Easter Weekend, but the weather looks great for anyone travelling.

A few notes this morning - first Happy Easter. Secondly it is becoming more apparent that we are in for flooding this spring, and it could be major. The Rideau Valley Conservation Authority has issued a FLOOD ADVISORY for the region. Click on the link to read the details. If you live along any watercourse in eastern Ontario now is the time to plan. According to the authority there has only been this much water in the snow pack on one other occasion, 1976, and it was a record flood year on the Rideau.

On another note it appears the risk of a flash melt or thaw continues. Senior Environment Canada Climatologist, David Phillips, has indicated he expects at least 6 more weeks of below normal temperatures and increased snowfall before we begin warming up for what appears to be a warm summer. If this is true the end of winter will be delayed, but when it comes, it will come fast.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Dramatic Rescue on Rideau River by Kemptville Fire Department this afternoon.....KFD firefighters reunited this Beagle with its owner. The dog was trapped on the ice.
Chris Hofley Photo.

Storm Update....6:30pm

Radar shows precipitation is on our doorstep at 6pm. A line of mixed rain and snow is about to overspread eastern Ontario. The system responsible will slide south of our area Wednesday. At this time no warnings have been posted in Ontario. Such is not the case in Quebec where heavy rain warnings for 30-40mm of rain are out for the south including Montreal. North into the Laurentians, it is freezing rain and northeast towards Quebec City, it is heavy snow that is expected to fall, in some cases over 30cm.
Roads may be slippery tonight and early Wednesday in Ottawa and North Grenville. The precipitation should turn to all rain by early morning. Winter Weather Advisories are in effect for the St. Lawrence Valley of New York which makes me expect similar weather on our side of the river as well. The US forecasters are calling for 5-10cm of snow and sleet before changing to rain Wednesday. Regardless of the temperature or precip roads in all regions will be slick tonight and visibility reduced.
Precipitation on the way

Another round of wet and wintry weather is upon us in eastern Ontario. Low pressure over the Midwest will slide down the St. Lawrence Valley late today and tomorrow. Along the storm track we can expect some snow changing to freezing rain and eventually rain overnight tonight in Kemptville. The type and duration of precipitation will be based on how quick the cold air is flushed out of the valley The rain snow mix is already into the GTA and should move into our region this evening. Expect 20-25mm of rain and snow over the next 24 hours. With milder air Wednesday I expect mostly rain. The roads could be slippery tonight and and early Wednesday, especially in the Ottawa Valley.

While no warnings are in place for Ontario, a Winter Weather Advisory is in place for all of northern New York State including Ogdensburg and Watertown. They are forecasting 5-12cm of snow before the changeover to rain tonight.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

At right - more street widening, this time in the Village of Manotick.

The week ahead...

The freezing drizzle and flurries of yesterday and overnight have moved east of Kemptville this morning. The fog has lifted as well, and cooler northwest winds are settling in. There should be some decent sunny breaks today and Monday along with temperatures at or slightly above freezing. Travel conditions will be ideal...

Computer models are doing a much better job now handling the next system. It appears we are in for a round of mild weather and rain Wednesday. Before the warm air works in we may see some mixed precipitation late Tuesday. The storm will develop over the Midwest US and head down the St. Lawrence Valley. As the system makes its way east of the area Thursday slightly cooler air will move in and light snow is expected Thursday and Good Friday and may last into the Easter Weekend. All in all an unsettled week for the last week of Winter 2007/2008.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Quiet weather pattern till....

Yep the end is in sight...the end of the quiet weather that is. Despite it being tranquil this week, it still managed to snow on three mornings and this seemingly endless winter continues. March 15 today and still no sign of spring. The snow piles remain very high. The photo above I took of crews attempting to widen streets in Kemptville yesterday.

A little snow overnight has greased up roads and this will occur again tonight. Tomorrow will be sunny and pleasant as will Monday. Then it gets interesting. A storm will be reorganizing in the central plains and moving northeast. It will pass very close to the St. Lawrence Valley late Tuesday or Wednesday with heavy precipitation and wind. The question is what type and how much, and that has yet to be determined. Either way it will be nasty because any rain now will increase the risk of flooding.

Stay tuned and be safe...

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

The hill at the Kemptville Mall has reached epic proportions...ValleyWX Photo

The same storm that hit Ontario and Quebec hammered western Europe with hurricane force winds Monday. This ship washed ashore in France. AP Photo

A much needed break...
It is still snowing...but lightly. Just a couple of inches this morning across the region. Winds are picking up behind a cold front this afternoon and some blowing snow is occurring. Expect clear skies tonight and then a few more centimetres along a warm front Thursday afternoon. No major storms for the remainder of this week. Milder air is expected on Friday and Saturday, up to 5C which will begin to raise concerns about roofs and flooding.
This past weekends Blizzard continues to claim victims. Here are a few headlines from this week, including today's collapses of a roof in Morin Heights Quebec, trapping three people inside (see below from

From AM 1220 Cornwall...

City Officials Concerned About Roofs Due To Snow
March 12, 2008 — The recent dump of snow has officials in Cornwall concerned about area roofs. With nearly 50 centimetres on the ground and more on the way, city employees say there have been some problems with larger buildings that have flat roofs but there are no safety concerns. Some are sagging under the weight of the snow. Chief Building Official Barry Coleman tells AM 1220 News home and business owners should ask for professional help to see if their roof is at risk.

South Dundas Butcher Dies In Weekend Storm
March 12, 2008 — A well-known South Dundas butcher has died after getting lost in Sunday's snowstorm. Police say 52-year-old Neil Spruit of Brinston was found on Monday morning after he failed to return home on Sunday night. Spruit had evidently gone out to help a family member with an all-terrain vehicle. Police say his six-wheel A-T-V became stuck. Spruit was found less than two kilometers from his house. He was taken to hospital in Winchester where he was pronounced dead. An autopsy shows he died from hypothermia. Spruit had owned Neil's Butcher Block for roughly two decades.

Snow Causes Roof Problems At Cornwall Wal-Mart
March 11, 2008 — The roof at Cornwall's Wal-Mart is feeling the effects of the snow dump. Management says the roof has bowed about an inch near the check out area. Some electrical housing poles have also bent. Assistant Manager Rick Payette tells AM 1220 News the store remains open and there are no safety concerns. (Hear audio clip below) A construction crew is removing the snow and lightening the load.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Van Buren St in Kemptville...

Blizzard takes rightful
place in memory bank...

I have many special storms that I recall as I talk about the weather. The March 7-9 storm of 2008 will take its appropriate place on that list. What can you say about a storm that dumps 52cm on Ottawa, 39 of which fell in about 18 hours, one that dumps 45cm of snow on the Seaway including Cornwal with 15cm of ice in 7 hours and thunder and lightning. Add to that fierce winds of over 80km/h, hours of zero visibility, stranded drivers and power outages and you have a memorable storm. The only saving grace was it occurred on a weekend. Kemptville seemed to fare the same as the rest of the region. I have been able to measure in several spots and there seems to be about 13-15 inches of snow (32-38cm) on average. It is piled high everywhere. Begs the question will it all melt at once!

Sunday, March 09, 2008

Storm Update
Ottawa 50cm, Montreal 40cm, Cornwall 45cm...

Unreal...Incredible...this was a storm for the record books, well forecasted from start to finish. The storm was caused by low pressure sliding down the St. Lawrence Valley. For that reason the hardest hit areas were from Ottawa to Kingston and northeast towards Quebec City. Many roads were closed last night in eastern Ontario and especially along the south shore of Montreal. Drivers were rescued by snowmobile in many cases. The wind was fierce with gusts to 82km/h at Montreal, 100km/h along the South Shore, 58km/h in Ottawa and 85km/h at Cornwal. Thunder was reported with the snow in Cornwall. The lowest pressure with the storm was around 986mb a formidable storm for sure. I was amazed by the duration of near zero visibility, 12 hours at Dorval in Montreal with less than 0.6km. It was even less across the southern part of the valley, close to zero. Transport Quebec and Provincial Police on both sides of the border were forced to close roads. They had no choice travel was impossible. Hundreds of cars were abandoned on area roads.

In addition over 84,000 clients were left without power in Quebec. Conditions will slowly improve today, but roads remain snow covered and blowing snow is a problem. The biggest storm of the year has also created chaos at airports in Montreal, Toronto and Ottawa. Call ahead - but the first flight since late yesterday afternoon left Montreal at 8:30am this morning.

More details later today with my pictures as well.

Saturday, March 08, 2008

Montreal's South Shore...

Massive winter storm underway
Blizzard conditions in Montreal

Incredible...that is how I describe this storm from my vantage point on Montreal's South Shore adjacent to Highway 15. Winds are howling at 75km/h, higher in gusts. They could gust to 100km/h tonight. Travel all along the St. Lawrence Valley is nearly impossible tonight. Snow is falling at several centimetres an hour with 30cm down in Ottawa already. Travel along the 401 is not recommended. Sleet is mixing in with even thunder reported. Look for 30-50cm over all areas by the time in ends around daybreak.

This is a dangerous storm with numerous accidents reported. Do not travel tonight unless it is an emergency......Wind Warnings have also been issue...winds may cause power outages tonight. In New England flooding is occurring in the south with ice and snow in the north.

Friday, March 07, 2008

Very dangerous storm on the way

Sorry for the delay on the update....I am on the road for some storm chasing....The latest winter storm is on our doorstep this evening with wet snow beginning over Ottawa and the St. Lawrence. The snow will increase in intensity through the night and become very heavy by Saturday afternoon and evening. Intense low pressure over Alabama will move north and pass just south of the St. Lawrence Valley. Montreal and Ottawa as well as the St. Lawrence Valley will be hit with 30-40cm of snow. Most of the heavy snow will fall from 2pm Saturday to early Sunday morning. Snow could fall at several centimetres an hour and with winds from 50-70km/h travel may become impossible along the 401, 416, 417 and 40/20 in Quebec. Thunder may also occur with the snow.

Winter Storm Warnings have been posted for all regions Ontario, Quebec, NY. The storm will come to an end rapidly on Sunday. This is a very dangerous storm cancel all travel plans from noon Saturday.
Storm Update....

Here is the latest this morning on our pending winter storm. First let me say that in an effort to simplify things to the general public, Environment Canada just complicates things more. Their terminology and criteria for issuing warnings and watches seems to change with each storm. I admire the forecasters there, believe me, it is just the policy that confuses me! Just my opinion. I like to be consistent from start to finish rather than confuse people.

So with that said here is my take on the upcoming storm. First expect a Winter Storm Warning to be posted at some time today for Ontario and Quebec (not sure why they are waiting for this). Keep in mind they are already in effect for most of upstate New York, if you are travelling in that direction. Snow will spread well ahead of the main area of low pressure developing over the Gulf States and reach our region late this afternoon. It will be light and wet with this first batch and accumulate 5-10cm by daybreak on Saturday. Conditions should improve for a few hours Saturday morning before the main area of low pressure slides by to our southeast. This second shot of precipitation will be heavy at times with strong north and northeast winds to 70km/h or higher blowing it around. Travel will quickly deteriorate Saturday. Travel may become dangerous to impossible Saturday night especially in the St. Lawrence Valley and 416 corridor.

Whew! By the time it all ends Sunday morning look for 20-30cm in general with isolated pockets of over 40cm from Cornwall to Montreal and around the Niagara area. The next update will be around NOON.

Of Note: Quebec March break ends while Ontario March break begins...add a snowstorm and the airports should be a zoo!

• Ottawa parking ban in the central part of the city for snow removal. ALL cars must be off city street, watch your parking today.

• Several counties, including Leeds & Grenville appear to be out of salt. Plowing and spreading of abrasives will continue, but don't expect black top until the sun melts it on county roads. Adjust your speed...

Thursday, March 06, 2008


Winter Storm Watch....Posted for Ontario
A possible record breaking snowstorm is on the horizon for Eastern Ontario and Quebec. Low pressure organizing over Texas will race along the spine of the Appalachians while intensifying to a 988mb low (barometric pressure). The March 3-4, 1971 east coast blizzard had a 966mb pressure reading by comparison and dumped 60cm on the area. This will place the current storm is some very close company.
I expect snow to begin across North Grenville and here in Kemptville late tomorrow afternoon and continue into Saturday. It is not outside of the realm of possibility that 50cm could be on the ground by late Saturday with lesser amounts to the north and west. A mix of precipitation is possible over New York state. The upper Ottawa Valley may see a little less snowfall along with the GTA. It is still in the formative stages so some deviations in the path of the storm may occur changing the type and quantity of precipitation.
Travel may become impossible Saturday in heavy snow and blowing snow. Another update will be posted by 11pm this evening.
The next storm...

It has become almost routine this winter, storm after storm. For years this region has been either on the edge of storms or in warm air, so we received rain, not this season. The winter of 2007/2008 has dropped more snow on eastern Ontario and the Ottawa Valley than most places in Canada including the Maritimes. Yesterday storm totals were 24cm for Smiths Falls, 28cm for Ottawa and 32cm for Montreal. Most places have approached or are within striking range of their snowiest winters. I estimated Kemptville had close to 25cm of precipitation about half of that sleet. Roads were the poorest I have seen them all winter yesterday in North Grenville. The sleet was like ball bearings to drive on. I helped push out at lest 4 those 20 year old traction aides of mine!

Now onto the next storm. After a break today we can expect snow and strong northeast winds to redevelop late Friday ahead of low pressure developing in Texas. This storm is expected to ride up the spine of the Appalachians and pass east of our region. This would place Kemptville, Ottawa and Montreal in the area for the biggest snows again. While the forecast is still difficult because the storm has yet to develop, paths such as this usually bring 20-30cm of snow. Winds will be very strong again with this storm in the 50-60km/h range causing blowing and drifting snow. The worse day will be Saturday, so plan your weekend accordingly. I will update this blog at around 4pm today.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

12:45 Storm Update

Ottawa has reported over 25cm of snow in the last 12 hours and it is still snowing. This now has become the second snowiest winter on record in Ottawa at 350cm with 441 the record set in 1970-71. Snow is still falling in Kemptville and will for several hours with blowing snow. Kemptville has had over 20cm of snow and ice pellets.

Above right is a photo by reporter Chris Hofley of another driver going too fast for the conditions and ditching it on the 416 northbound in Ottawa South. The photo below I took this morning of snow clearing operations at the Kemptville Mall. The pile on the right is now several stories high now with little place left to put more snow.

Another major storm is on the way for Saturday...stay tuned for that.
Accu Weather Image of current storm over New York State Storm Update 6:30AM...
10-15cm to date

WINTER STORM WARNING in effect...Patient is the operative word on the roads today. School buses have been cancelled once again in Leeds/Grenville and all off Eastern Ontario, as another major storm is over Ontario and Quebec. Here in Kemptville the snow started after midnight and changed to heavy sleet around 2am. This type of precipitation continues to fall mixed with snow. Around 10-15cm has fallen in most areas so far. The sleet is being driven by strong northeast winds with the storm. Both my automated anemometer and the one at Ag Canada are down so all I can do is estimate at this point until I get outside with my hand held wind gauge. Weather offices around Kemptville including Ottawa and Ogdensburg, NY have been in the 50-60km/h range with Montreal gusting to 71km/h. This is different from other storms this year for Kemptville where winds speeds have been down. It has been very gusty and has produced blowing snow and drifting snow. Radar returns continue to show the precipitation streaming north and it will continue to do so well into the afternoon before tapering off.

Whew! Beyond that...well rumors are for a powerful Nor'Easter (east coast US storm) on Saturday with a track that brings eastern Ontario the biggest snow and winds with any type of storm. The track reminds me of the March 15, 1993 Superstorm. But, it is early, lets deal with this one update mid-afternoon today with pics I hope!

Tuesday, March 04, 2008


Winter Storm Warning...

The much talked about winter storm is almost upon us. Snow and freezing rain has moved into extreme southern Ontario near Windsor and will rapidly spread north and east overnight. A swath of 10-15cm of snow with gusty northeast winds will occur from Detroit to Ottawa. South of that line and especially in the St. Lawrence Valley of Ontario and NY freezing rain will mix in with the snow for several hours. There is the potential of 15mm or more of ice in these region leading to significant ice build up on trees and power lines. To put things in perspective - close to 100mm fell during the 1998 Ice Storm. This is no where as bad but still a significant storm nonetheless. All precipitation should taper by late tomorrow. In Montreal expect all snow with 15-30cm forecast. Travel will be extremely difficult along all area highways beginning tonight into late tomorrow.

Big Winter Storm upon us...

After reading several forecast discussions from National Weather Service offices in New York and reviewing our forecast this morning I am confident of one thing, we are getting a storm tonight. Now the tricky part what type of precipitation will occur?

The scenario is like this, a cold front is in the process of passing through our region this morning. In fact we are down to 2C here in Kemptville after yesterdays remarkable high of 10C. Ah the sound of running water and warm sun made it feel like spring was really here, albeit for just a few hours. The front is expected to stall through central New York. Along this front a moisture latent storm will move northeast and pass just south of the St. Lawrence Valley on Wednesday. Temperatures are very critical with this storm, and it is looking more and more likely that a significant freezing rain event will occur in the St. Lawrence Valley.

If I was a betting man, look for snow to begin this evening from Kemptville south and change to freezing rain overnight. It will remain as all snow north and west of this area including the Ottawa Valley. In all areas winds will become strong overnight gusting to 60km/h. For all areas close to 25mm of liquid will fall....this will be 15-25cm of snow or 15-25mm of ice. So you see...I was not joking it is a storm and a difficult forecast. One thing is certain it will not be a good day for any travel tomorrow across the entire northeast and Ontario and Quebec.

Winter Storm Watch: Ontario (these will be updated to Freezing Rain or snow warnings later today).
Winter Storm Warning: Montreal, Vermont and New York for snow, blowing snow and ice.

Monday, March 03, 2008

Icy commute - buses cancelled

It is another snow day across Eastern Ontario as school buses have been cancelled in all boards for about the 8th time this school year dating back to November. The news is good for the balance of the day as the freezing rain that has been falling since about 4am, is just about over. A light coating of ice has made roads tricky. It should become partly sunny and mild today behind the warm front with temperatures approaching 5C.

Beyond today a major winter storm will approach our area for late Tuesday and Wednesday. A new Winter Storm Watch has been posted for western and central New York state and this will be expanded to include all regions by late today or tomorrow.

The set up is like this, but keep in mind it remains a very difficult forecast, a cold front will slide across our area later today and stall south of our region tonight. Low pressure is developing over Texas and will lift along the front. The moisture latent storm will bring heavy snow and ice to all areas. The timing and type of precipitation is yet to be determined.

Sunday, March 02, 2008

Stormy week ahead

Several low pressure areas will bring a difficult weather week to Ontario and Quebec. The forecast is very complicated at best. Here is what it looks like at the moment. Low pressure over Lake Superior will slide east towards the Great Lakes today and bring a round of freezing rain and showers to the area overnight and into Monday morning. The precipitation should become spotty in the afternoon Monday. it will be icy for the morning commute in Ottawa and Montreal so plan accordingly.

After this system winds down and moves southeast the cold front will stall just south of the St. Lawrence Valley. A more potent storm with widespread precipitation will move northeast into the region along this front by late Tuesday. This storm has the potential to bring heavy freezing rain and snow to the area into Wednesday. The exact details of this storm are sketchy at the moment but it will be a difficult travel week till Thursday. Behind the system much colder air will settle in by the end of the week.

Stay tuned...I will update the blog frequently as more information becomes available.