Friday, December 31, 2010

Happy New Year

Parts of the world are ringing in the New Year already including Taiwan and Hong Kong. It has been a good year for me and for weather, much better on both accounts than 2009. What will 2011 bring? Who knows, as the seemingly endless grab bag of weather continues across Canada and North America. According to Environment Canada, 2010 was the warmest on record for all of Canada including here in Quebec. The wild swings in extreme weather are only expected to worsen a our planet warms up.

Today the freezing rain threat is over here in the south as temperatures have soared above freezing and will stay there right into late Saturday night. North and east of Montreal it remains slippery on highways especially towards Quebec City. Heading west all is well until northern Ontario where heavy snow and freezing rain is expected.

Thank you once again for reading and commenting on the 315 posts this year, and for pushing my hits over 100,000. It is a thrill to talk about the weather with all of you. My warm wishes to all of you for 2011 and please lets take the time to be good to each other. We have the power... Stephen B

Happy New Year!

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Freezing Rain Warning

Environment Canada has issued freezing rain warnings for the overnight and early morning period for extreme eastern Ontario and southwestern Quebec including metro Montreal, Ottawa and Cornwall. A warm front to our west will cross the region overnight. Mild air aloft will produce some very light rain and drizzle that will freeze on contact with below freezing surfaces. The threat for icing will diminish in our region by mid-morning Friday as temperatures warm well above freezing to a forecast high of 4C. Fog may also develop locally overnight reducing visibility at times..

Light precip to start New Year

More water, mud and flooding for California yesterday. (LA Times)

It has been quite a stormy holiday period, just not in southern Quebec. The weather map this morning features that departing monster northeast storm finally moving east of Atlantic Canada. That storm by the way had a low barometric pressure reading near Nantucket similar to that of a Category 3 hurricane at 28.44". Another powerful storm hammered the California coast yesterday with more flooding and mudslides. The storm has now moved into the Rockies with a surge of warm air on the east flank of the storm and bitter cold on the west side. Snow and blowing snow with blizzard conditions are spreading across most of the Rockies and northern plains north into extreme southern Saskatchewan and Manitoba. The snow will spread across the upper Midwest and northwest Ontario today. Further east the threat will be in the form of light freezing drizzle or rain across Ontario and southern Quebec, but it will be very light and brief later New Years Eve. If it becomes a problem and impacts travel I will post that later today or Friday. Today will be cloudy and mild with a flurrie or two. Temperatures will nose above freezing today in our region and remain there into the weekend.

Further south a big warm up will occur melting some of that snow that fell earlier this week. There will also be a threat for severe weather across portions of the southern US to end 2010. Looking ahead the weather will be seasonable and cloudy to start the New Year in Ontario and Quebec with no major storms in sight at this time.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Dirty high pressure

I should have known when I washed my car yesterday on the promise of three or four days of dry weather, that snow would soon follow. I awoke this morning to a flurries and some menacing freezing drizzle that has forced road crews to put sown a layer of salt to combat the black ice. As a result no more clean car. So why the precipitation? Well we are under what is known as a dirty high pressure ridge. Normally temperature cools with altitude. In this case we have a layer of slightly warmer air above the surface (an inversion), that is trapping pollutants and moisture at the surface. Add to that a light flow of moisture from a water source, Atlantic or Great Lakes, and presto cloud cover and very light precipitation. The visibility is down to 6km at Dorval this morning with light snow and freezing drizzle (-5C). It should break up by afternoon but could redevelop tonight. Temperatures will be mild for December right into New Years.

Meanwhile the storm in Atlantic Canada is finally loosening its grip on the region with seas and winds subsiding today. The area was hammered yesterday with heavy rain and snow and strong winds. Widespread power outages were reported and another storm surge caused considerable damage. In New Brunswick alone, the price tag from 4 storms this month is expected to exceed 50 million dollars.

Our attention will now turn to another storm taking shape in the southwest US. It is forecast pass well west of Montreal putting us in mild air with showers on the weekend. However if you are traveling north or east of the city, a period of freezing rain is possible. In northwest Ontario, Manitoba and Saskatchewan, it will be heavy snow, windy and cold. We will have more on that as the day and week move along.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Warming trend to end 2010

While we missed out on the most recent storm, the cold of the past month has allowed the more than 70cm of snow that has fallen on Montreal to remain on the ground and in piles around the city. It will warm up above freezing Saturday with some melting occurring. ValleyWX Pic

Our major northeast snowstorm is now well into Atlantic Canada with seas and winds expected to subside later today. Winds have been fierce in the region with a 104km/h gust at Miscou Island, NB and 152km/h at Grand Etang, NFLD and 165km/h at Wreckhouse, NFLD. Warnings remain in effect today as snow and wind continue. Over 40cm has fallen in Bathurst with more snow expected today across northeast New Brunswick and the Gaspe. This was the fourth storm in a month to cross the area.

The rest of us are in for a breezy and cold day with wind chills in the minus teens and some areas of blowing snow especially across Vermont and New York. We are then expecting a major pattern change towards the weekend with much above normal temperatures into New Years Eve and Day. Expect sunshine until Friday and then a few clouds and showers for the weekend with temperatures up to 4C expected.

It is cold this morning all the way south in Florida with 19F at Tallahassee and 23F at Jacksonville.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Blizzard pounds New England

Satellite image from the NWS shows just how close the clouds and precipitation came to Montreal. The center of the storm can be seem swirling off the coast east of Cape Cod.

11:30am UPDATE: Low pressure is moving northward along the Maine coast and into Nova Scotia at this hour. Warm air on the east side of the storm has pushed temperatures to almost 10C in Halifax with steady rain expected. Meanwhile cold north winds have produced low wind chills and lots of snow and blowing snow on the west side of the storm. Some totals to 11am this morning include a trace at Montreal and Plattsburgh to 2.5" at Burlington and 18" at Wells River, Vermont, with up to 2 feet in New Jersey and metro New York. Airports in Boston, NYC and Newark remain closed.
An area of moderate snow has developed in the Champlain Valley at 11am and has nosed just northward into southern Quebec. It will coat the roads quickly so if you are travelling south of Montreal on Highway 15, I-89 or I-87, keep this in mind. It will taper off this afternoon, but remain very windy and cold with areas of blowing and drifting snow.
Strong low pressure located near Cape Cod continues to produce heavy snow and 40mph winds across much of Vermont and New Hampshire this morning southeast towards the coast. Montreal remained on the western edge of the cloud shield from the storm with high pressure in control. It is blustery and very cold this morning but the region has only had a few flurries. You have to go south of the border towards Burlington before travel problems with snow and low visibilities begin.

The snow has been very heavy across Vermont with reports of over a foot in the southern half of the state. Travel along the east coast is nearly impossible this morning with thousands of flights cancelled. The NFL game between Philadelphia and Minnesota was cancelled last evening due to the storm. Amtrack rail service has also been postponed between New York and Boston. Precipitation will taper off today as the storm moves towards Nova Scotia. Winds however will continue to produce biting cold, blowing snow and a pounding surf across a wide area of New England and eastern Canada. More coastal flooding is forecast in hard hit Atlantic Canada and eastern Quebec. The area has been hammered by several storms this December producing lots of flooding and damage to coastal infrastructure.

I am still digging around for snow totals, but one that impressed me late last night was 18 inches at Cape May, New Jersey, while less than 100 miles away, Philadelphia only had 4 inches. This storm, while being very intense, has a sharp cutoff in the snow as you move west away from the center. While locations in southern Vermont have had close to 20 inches of snow, Swanton on the Canadian border has had a trace.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Montreal remains on edge of blizzard

Travel was poor on I-40 in North Carolina on Christmas Day. (Asheville Chronicle)

A major east coast storm will shut down Holiday travel today from the deep south into Atlantic Canada. Low pressure will deepen rapidly of the Carolina coast and lift to just off Cape Cod by Monday morning. Heavy snow has been falling west of the storm track across the deep south since yesterday. Places like Atlanta and Birmingham had their first white Christmas in decades. The heavy snow across North Carolina has prompted a State of Emergency. Meanwhile a large amount of Blizzard and Winter Storm Warnings are scattered across the middle Atlantic and New England with snow from Virginia Beach north. From 12-20 inches of snow is expected in New York City and Boston. The heavy snow will be accompanied by strong north winds up to 35mph. The heavy snow and wind will spread across Maine and into New Brunswick and Nova Scotia into Monday.

Snow will also fall in our region with the northern extent being near the US border with Vermont. The National Weather Service in Vermont has winter weather advisories posted for northern Vermont with 2-7 inches expected, with Winter Storm Warnings for southern Vermont for 7-14 inches. The snow will edge very close to Montreal but I expect only a few flurries here, with very cold north winds and chilly temperatures. Clouds will be on the increase today with winds becoming northeast and then north from 30-50km/h. If you are travelling south expect poor weather to develop near the US border later today. Travel is not recommended south of Plattsburgh, NY or Burlington this afternoon and tonight (I-87/I-89/I-91). Travel east to Quebec City will become poor later tonight and Monday. Travel to Ontario will not be affected with this storm.

I will update this storm later today.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas

Happy December 25th everybody. Thank you so much for reading all year long. I appreciate it more than I could ever express on this blog. I have been talking about the weather since I was 5, and it is nice to have an audience now!

It is a chilly Christmas in Montreal, we dropped to -14C at the airport but much colder off island as low as -19C. We have very high cirrus clouds today with hazy sunshine and even a flurrie or two around the region. High pressure will remain in control for the next 24 hours before the weather get interesting, at least east and south of Montreal. Strong low pressure is forecast to develop along the southeastern US coast and move north towards New England. Winter Storm Watches have already been hoisted in the region, but there is great discrepancy in the forecast models and so confidence is rather low with the current forecast track. Apparently a recon flight is going to investigate the the weather off the coast later today and with the new information forecasters may be able to nail down a specific path. At this time it appears steadier snow will fall from central Vermont south and east towards the coast as well as Atlantic Canada and eastern Quebec. Any effects here in Montreal and points west into Ontario would only be in the cloud cover late Sunday. I will watch later forecasts and discussions to see if it will affect our weather at all. At this time if you are travelling towards Albany, NYC or Boston expect poor weather on Sunday and Monday.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Dry for Santa

Merry Christmas from ValleyWeather and my best friend Ginger...

It is hard to believe that another December 25th is just a few hours away, this year has sailed by. The weather forecast could not be better for travelling across the region. It was partly sunny and chilly today with temperatures reaching around minus 5C. Under clear skies in southern Quebec we should become quite cold tonight dropping down to the low minus teens. Christmas Day looks sunny with cloudy periods and perhaps a flurrie or two southeast of the city towards the US border. Temperatures will remain seasonable around -5C.

Strong low pressure is forecast to develop along the Carolina coast on Sunday and remain well offshore. While forecasters are expecting a decent snowfall for coastal southern New England and the Maratimes, it appears just clouds and light snow will work west into Vermont with only cloud cover for Quebec, Ontario and New York. Our fair weather is expected to last well into next week along with warming temperatures by New Years Eve.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

White Christmas

Steady snow continues to fall this morning across the Champlain and St. Lawrence Valley's. A burst of snow developed across the region late overnight and has put down a quick 5-10cm of snow across the city and southwest towards Cornwall, as well as upstate New York and Vermont. Visibility has been lowered to under a few kilometres in places and roads are snow covered or slushy in many locations.

The snow will taper off this morning from east to west followed by clearing skies. The entire Holiday period looks sunny and chilly with no precipitation in the region and ideal travel conditions.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

SNOW then clear for Christmas

Our white Christmas is guaranteed here in southern Quebec and most of Ontario as well as Northern New England. We will freshen up the snow pack today with about 5-8cm of snow region wide with the exception of eastern Ontario which will see less. The much anticipated snow has been slow to arrive, in the forecast since late Sunday. Expect a plume of moisture from a coastal storm in Atlantic Canada to spread west into southern Quebec this afternoon. Snow will begin after lunch and taper off by midnight with around 5cm in the city and slightly more east of the city in Sherbrooke and Quebec City. This morning a little light freezing drizzle is being reported in the St. Lawrence Valley of New York and Ontario with some slick spots on area roads. Once the snow ends tomorrow high pressure will build in and control the weather right through the holiday weekend with ideal travel conditions.

The same can't be said for the US where a powerful Pacific storm has produced nearly 200 inches of snow in portions of the Sierra Nevada mountains in California and Nevada with up to 20 inches of rain in the lower elevations. Today the rain continues with strong thunderstorms and another 2-4 inches of rain expected in Southern California. That storm will lift over the Rockies and produce snow and rain across the central portion of the country and into the southeast through Christmas weekend. it may threaten the east coast by early next week, but it appears at this time that is will stay well east of Montreal.

Meanwhile Air Canada resumed flights to London yesterday, nearly 5 days after a snowstorm shut down air and road travel in large parts of Europe.

Our snow is being generated by a strong coastal storm that has been pounding regions of Nova Scotia, PEI, New Brunswick and Eastern Quebec. Winds have gusted over 100km/h and a large and powerful storm surge has produced high waves and tides and widespread. Storm Surge Warnings remain in effect for most coastal regions surrounding the Gulf of St. Lawrence. These conditions will persist into Thursday.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Winter Solstice

Welcome to the first day of Winter 2010-2011. Winter arrived late last night across the country, although most of us have probably had enough of the snow and cold already. The good news is that the days will now begin to get longer. The official start of the season began at 6:38 pm EST. For the first time in over three centuries, the first day of winter coincided with the full Cold Moon and a lunar eclipse. The eclipse by all accounts was spectacular where you could see it. Sadly in Montreal, low clouds and flurries prevented us from viewing it, that, and the fact I was asleep by 10pm last night! The eclipse began around 1:33am EST and ended by 3:53am EST. The last time such an event occured with the winter solstice was in 1632 according to NASA.

A major storm over the Atlantic southeast of Nova Scotia will begin to slowly influence the weather in southern Quebec today. Some light snow can be expected over the next 24 hours, with gusty north winds. Look for the best chance of snow from late this afternoon into tomorrow morning, with about 5cm expected. Temperatures will be mild, close to the freezing point. Beyond that it looks like fair weather through the Christmas period with the next chance of snow late Sunday.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Freezing fog

Ice fog over the St. Lawrence River near Dorion on Sunday. ValleyWX Pic

Low level moisture and a light northeast flow in the St. Lawrence Valley have produced dense freezing fog over most of the region this morning. The fog extends south into the Champlain Valley and has put a layer of thin ice and frost on everything including roadways. An advisory was posted until 7am for this condition in the Champlain Valley, and this is affecting routes such as the 20/401/40/417 and south along I-87 and I-89. The fog has lowered visibility as well under 1km and the airport in Montreal since 10pm last evening and even lower off island. Conditions will slowly improve this morning, with partly cloudy skies for the day and a trend to increasing cloudiness by evening. It is a chilly start to the say region wide with temperatures around -8C.

There is so much weather going on, it is difficult to find a place to start. Lets look east of us into Atlantic Canada again. The same scenario that has delivered the last two big storms to that area will unfortunately do the same this week. High pressure stalled over Greenland will again force low pressure of off Cape Hatteras to take an unusual path across Nova Scotia and into Quebec as opposed to moving out to sea. This will produce very heavy rain again with flooding quite likely in Nova Scotia and the Gaspe, with heavy wet snow inland over western New Brunswick. Up to 60mm of rain is forecast with very strong winds to 100km/h and a strong storm surge producing coastal flooding and erosion.

This same storm will push a warm front west towards Montreal with light snow expected to fall Tuesday into Wednesday. At this time 5-10cm is not out of the question. Winds should be light and temperatures mild with this upcoming snow. The good news for the rest of the Christmas period through Sunday, at least in southern Quebec and eastern Ontario, is that high pressure should dominate with seasonable temperatures and dry conditions, ideal for travelling.

I could never cover the situation in Europe with as much detail or expertise as my weather friend Mark Vogan. His blog is linked on my page year round, but here is a link to update you on the terrible, historic winter weather that is gripping much of Europe. The weather has stalled holiday travel, and that has had a ripple affect on air travel around the globe. Read his blog HERE .

Friday, December 17, 2010

Weekend Update

The light snow of the last week or so will take a breather today as the sun makes an attempt to break through the clouds. Winds have also lightened up, but it will still be cold with high temperatures around -8C. More light snow will develop tonight with just a coating expected. The weekend looks seasonable with cloudy skies an light winds. Temperatures will be in the -3C to 5C range for daytime highs and chilly below -10C at night.

On Monday a potent storm system is expected to develop along off the Carolina coast and perhaps affect out region. Low pressure in northern Quebec will also provide some energy and potential snow. It is very early to determine track and type of precipitation but the potential exists for some snow Monday and early next week. A similar situation is possible as well closer to Christmas. I will update the blog as often as possible up to Christmas, as I can appreciate that many people are traveling. I wish I had better news for the Gaspe region, but it looks like more precipitation for that region next week. The region has already had 360mm of precipitation this month including 102mm on the 14th and 111mm on the 15th. Major flooding continues across the Gaspe.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

More light snow

Another 5cm or so of fluffy light snow that accumulated overnight across the region slowed traffic once again this morning in Montreal. The culprit today was snow removal operations of the more than 50cm that has fallen in the last week. Speaking of slow traffic I left the hockey game last night at the Bell Centre only to get trapped behind snow plows all the way home. Over 1 hour to the West Island.

This morning that same low pressure area continues to meander west into central Quebec. Light snow will continue for the next 24 hours or so with another 2cm expected. Meanwhile astonishing amounts of rain have fallen on the warm side of the storm across eastern Quebec and Atlantic Canada. The Gaspe region is under a state of emergency after 230mm of rain fell in 72 hours. The flooding is historical in places with homes and businesses under water and evacuations ordered. It should slowly dry out today but a new problem may develop as colder air moves into the region and freezes everything up.

Lake effect snow continues across Ontario and it will spread east along the St. Lawrence River today. Look for snow from Cornwall southwest towards Kingston along the 401 and south into St. Lawrence County, New York. From 5-25cm may fall locally in the region today with strong winds and blowing snow. Warnings are in effect for St. Lawrence, Franklin, Oswego and Jefferson Counties. This will affect travel on I-81.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Highway 402 remains closed - more snow for Montreal

The onslaught of winter weather continues from coast to coast in Canada. Starting in Atlantic Canada, a fierce coastal storm produced heavy flooding rain and strong winds yesterday. Winds gusted over 100km/h in Nova Scotia with numerous trees down, damage to homes and thousands without power. Thanks to that famous Greenland high pressure that is blocking the eastward movement of storms, that system is moving west into Quebec this morning with steady snow approaching Quebec City. That snow will reach Montreal this afternoon and continue tonight with gusty northwest winds producing blowing snow. A good 5-10cm can be expected from Montreal to Burlington, VT and northeast to Quebec City. Lesser amounts are expected in eastern Ontario with less than 5cm in Ottawa and Kemptville.

In Ontario lake effect snow continues to be a problem in the southwest and areas adjacent to Lake Huron. Over 50cm has piled up in the region west of London, driven by 70km/h winds producing blizzard conditions. OPP are still trying to reopen the 402 between Sarnia and London. They rescued nearly 230 motorists yesterday with the help of the Canadian Armed Forces and two helicopters from CFB Trenton. The task now is to remove the 200 trucks and 150 cars that have been left abandoned as a resilt of the storm. Some drivers were trapped nearly 24 hours in their vehicles.

Out west it is bitterly cold across Manitoba, and a Pacific air mass moving into Alberta and Saskatchewan has produced widespread freezing rain and icy roads.

There...that's is it for today. By the way the best city to be in in North America today, Dallas, Texas, plus 25C (77F) and sunny.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

More snow on the way

More heavy snow in Montreal today. It is 15 degrees colder than yesterday morning at this time with lots of ice around. ValleyWX pic

Lots to talk about this morning as an upper level low continues to spin just southeast of Montreal. Moderate snow is falling across eastern Ontario and into western Quebec. Traffic is crawling again this morning in metro Montreal with nearly 2 dozen accidents reported. Between 7 and 10cm of snow fell overnight and it continues this morning. It will taper slightly this afternoon. Winds will remain strong out of the northwest from 20-40km/h and with cold temperatures below -10C lots of snow is blowing around. Atlantic moisture will be drawn into the system overnight with a period of enhanced snowfall Wednesday. Winds will increase as well to 60km/h with lots of blowing and drifting snow Wednesday. Conservative estimates are for around 5-10cm but that could easily go beyond warning criteria of 15cm. The same holds true for upstate New York and Vermont with a little less in eastern Ontario.

Speaking of Ontario, more heavy lake effect snow and 70km/h winds have shut down the 402 between London and Sarina trapping more than 350 drivers in their cars. The heavy snow will continue today with slight improvement by late Wednesday. OPP on snowmobiles and quads have been bringing the stranded drivers provisions. So far everybody is safe.

One last note on this busy Tuesday, the arctic air has plunged all the way into the deep south with hard freezes in Florida and Georgia. It is -2C in Orlando this morning and -9C in Atlanta. The south will slowly begin to warm later today and tomorrow.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Snow and much colder

At 10pm snow continues to fall across the St. Lawrence Valley and in Montreal. Radar is showing a wide area of snow moving from south to north across the region as low pressure lifts north. Gusty northwest winds are causing blowing snow locally with very icy roads as well. The temperature has dropped to -8C with wind chills in the minus teens. Snow will continue across the region overnight with 5-10cm total accumulation by the mid-day Tuesday. It will remain breezy and cold Tuesday with temperatures near -8 or -9C.

Much colder

Snow pours through the roof of the Metrodome in Minneapolis after a blizzard hit the upper Midwest Saturday. (FOX)

8:51 AM Update: The cold front is moving through the Montreal area at this hour and rain has already changed to snow. We will rapidly drop to -5C by mid afternoon. Roads will become slippery with dropping temperatures and falling snow across the entire region.

The pressure in Montreal dropped as low as 985mb with this current storm system as it passed very close to the city overnight. The system will lift into central Quebec this morning with a strong cold front passing across the city this morning. Winds will increase out of the west and temperatures will drop rapidly below freezing. In Ontario the temperature in Kemptville has dropped from 0C at 3am to -6C by 7am. The temperature is 3C at 8am in Montreal but will begin dropping shortly and reach -8C by Tuesday morning. The same is true all along the 401 corridor as deep arctic air moves into the area. Rain has changed to snow and roads are very slippery. Closer to the lakes, the snow machine will crank up with a major lake effect snow event forecast for western New York and central Ontario into Wednesday. Meanwhile snow on the back edge of the departing storm will give Montreal and most of New York and Vermont anywhere from 5-15cm over the next 24 hours. The snow will be enhanced by wrap around moisture from the Atlantic. The National Weather Service has posted a Winter Weather Advisory for upstate New York and Vermont. Falling temperatures, gusty winds and snow will make travel poor by late afternoon today.

Yesterday Montreal recorded 22.2 mm of precipitation with 7cm of that being snow. The same storm dumped heavy snow on the Midwest including 17 inches in Minneapolis. The weight of the snow caused a large tear in the roof of the Metrodome (see above) forcing cancellation of the Giants and Vikings NFL game. The game will be played in Detroit this evening. Snow and strong winds caused travel delays from Illinois east to New York and southwest Ontario on Sunday.

Cold air has poured into the deep south with Atlanta at -4C (21F) this morning, much colder than Quebec, and snow as far south as northern Georgia.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Storm Update

Icy roads greeted travellers in Montreal this afternoon. It has since warmed above freezing, and rain is falling.

Freezing rain warnings have expired in the Montreal area as the temperature has risen well above freezing to 3C as of 9pm. It is a warm 11C in Burlington, Vermont with rain as well. Montreal had between 5-7 cm of snow and sleet before the changeover to freezing rain and rain.

A dry slot had worked its way into the Montreal region during the last few hours but radar is showing moderate rain just south of the border in the Champlain Valley moving north. Meanwhile the balance of the province is under rain and snow warnings with strong winds expected as well. Low pressure near Toronto tonight will move down the St. Lawrence Valley and then north into central Quebec. Snow and blowing snow will fall north and west of the track with mostly rain south and east of the track. Rain is changing to snow across Ontario tonight with rapidly dropping temperatures. The colder air and snow will move across eastern Ontario including Ottawa and Kemptville overnight with a flash freeze, and eventually into Quebec by late afternoon Monday. Look for snow showers and colder weather for the balance of the week.

Freezing Rain Warning

11am Update: Freezing rain warnings remain in effect for the region. Snow began around 8am and is still falling here in Ile Perrot. I would say close to 5cm has accumulated. It was mixed for a period with sleet and freezing rain, but since has gone back to steady snow. The temperature here is -1C so the snow is quite wet in nature. Temperatures are close to if not above freezing to our south and east so expect precipitation to become rain as the afternoon moves on. Roads will remain slippery.

Morning image of the large winter storm over Ohio moving into the St. Lawrence Valley. (NOAA)

Sorry for the delay folks in updating this current storm, it was a busy Saturday ending with the trimming of the tree!

A large winter storm over the Great Lakes this morning will pass close to Montreal overnight and then north into central Quebec. A wide variety of weather is on our doorstep. Most forecasts are in agreement now with a warmer solution for the region, as a result Freezing Rain Warnings are in effect for Montreal, Ottawa and Kemptville. Virtually all of Quebec and a large portion of Ontario is under some sort of warning. Basically north and west of the storm snow and blowing snow are expected with 15-25cm total. Along the storm track through the St. Lawrence and lower Ottawa Valley's, precipitation will start as snow very early this morning and then transition through a wintry mix of sleet and freezing rain and eventually rain overnight then back to snow early Monday. South and east of the storm, a mostly rain event, with flooding rains possible in portions of New England and Eastern Quebec into Atlantic Canada. With a strong southeast flow in those regions, Atlantic moisture could produce up to 80mm of rain in the Gaspe, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia. Meanwhile the central and western Great Lakes are experiencing blizzard conditions as frigid air pours in west of the storm. That cold air will arrive in our region by late Monday. Light snow and squalls will contiue the rest of the week.

Winds will be an issue as well gusting 40-60km/h in our region from the northeast and eventually southwest today and tonight. Meanwhile across the Adirondacks and Green Mountains, they could easily gust over 100km/h. This has prompted wind warnings for those regions.

This morning radar is showing precipitation advancing into our region rapidly. With temperatures well below freezing still in eastern Ontario and southern Quebec, expect the precip to be frozen. Roads like the 20 and 401 will ice quickly. I will update this weather situation by mid morning today.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Weekend Update

Computer models are beginning to handle a little better the upcoming storm this weekend, but just a little better. Type and quantity of precipitation are still up in the air for Montreal and the valley. Today was a cold start dipping to -17C before "warming" to -15C. Temperatures will continue to warm right through the day and night up to Saturday's high of -1C. A weak Alberta Clipper will past north of the region producing just flurries, really just flurries this time and gusty southeast winds.

Our bigger storm will begin to take shape Saturday over the Midwest US and move towards the Great Lakes while rapidly deepening. It will pass very close to Montreal Sunday with secondary development possible along the east coast. Plenty of variables have to be sorted out, but it looks like a decent rain/snow event with lots of wind. It will not be until later today or even Saturday morning before we can determine the exact timing of the snow/rain and just how much. The storm will continue into Monday with colder temperatures and all precipitation back to snow. Travel will be impacted all over Ontario, Quebec, New England and New York Sunday and Monday so plan your travels accordingly. This forecast applies to Montreal and points north and west. South and east of the city, it will be a different story with much warmer temperatures and lots of rain and perhaps some freezing rain.

Stay tuned!

Thursday, December 09, 2010

More snow by the weekend

Heavy snow has closed down London, Ontario. Canadian Press photo.

The next storm is on the horizon, but first one more comment on this last storm. To show you how difficult a forecast it was, Montreal received 32cm at the airport or about 13" with perhaps a little more in the off island suburbs. Meanwhile Plattsburgh, NY, less than 1 hour to our south had nothing. Parts of Vermont had nearly 75cm of snow while the greater Burlington region had less than 15cm. This storm in the most simple explanation possible moved the wrong way and produced wind and snow where it would normally have not and produced rain where they usually receive snow.

Now I wish the next system would behave, but computer models are having trouble with this one as well. There has been no consistency from run to run. It appears snow will start late Saturday in Ontario and spread north and east into Quebec. This system will have warmer air so the threat for ice and rain exists as well. It is too early to pinpoint amounts and type of precipitation, but it looks significant for Montreal, Ottawa and the entire St. Lawrence Valley. Behind it all, early next week, the coldest air of the season will pour into the region with flurries and gusty winds.

Cold morning

Just a quick entry this morning before I leave for work, I will update the blog by 9am this morning. The snow is finally over in Montreal. We recorded between 30-40cm across the region. It is the coldest morning of the season at -12C here on L'ile Perrot. Today will be breezy and cold with a few breaks and a high of -8C.

Meanwhile the snow is still falling in a narrow band south of Lake Huron towards Lake Erie. London, Ontario has had 60-80cm since Saturday while the tiny town of Lucan not far from Georgian Bay has recorded an astonishing 177cm since the lake event began. The snow should slowly taper today giving them a chance to dig out.

There is another major storm heading for Ontario and Quebec this weekend. I will post more about that shortly.

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Not an exact science

Low pressure continues to lift into northern Quebec tonight as the snow has eased in the Montreal area. Radar shows more snow showers along a cold front over eastern Ontario swinging towards Montreal. Another 2-5cm will fall overnight before this latest storm is over. That will bring storm totals to above 30cm across the region. Not bad for a 2-4cm forecast.

Lets talk about the forecast. As the title says, weather forecasting is not an exact science. Lots of variables have to come together at any given time for storms to occur. I would never make any excuses, but lots of Montrealers are upset over the recent missed forecast. Readers of my blog will notice that I mentioned this possibility as early as last Friday. When we are dealing with coastal systems the difference of 100 miles can mean a storm or nothing. With Great Lakes systems often for Montreal just a few kilometres can mean snow instead of rain or freezing rain. This was a difficult forecast from the start. Computer models are not very good at handling odd weather situations. Low pressure moving from Bermuda to Maine and then northwest towards James Bay is one of those moments. It was the perfect track for a windy, snowy event in Montreal and southwest Quebec. Where Environment Canada dropped the ball was not realizing just how quickly the snow was moving towards Montreal and just how hard it was falling. Looking at radar and observations yesterday morning it was obvious heavy snow was heading for the city. Oddly they issued a warning at 11:30am this morning, pretty much when the event was over.

We can expect a break in the weather for a day or two before the next big storm takes aim at the northeast, Ontario and Quebec by this weekend into Monday.

NEW warning issued for more snow

This is what it is like at 1:30pm in Pointe Claire. The snow and wind continue with 25cm on the ground officially. More in places and drifts three feet high. ValleyWX

This is from Environment Canada during the last hour. Better late than not at all I guess! So far between 20 and 30cm in on the ground. Winds continue over 50km/h with blowing snow and poor travel.

Metro Montréal - Laval
11:35 AM EST Tuesday 07 December 2010
Snowfall Warning
Bands of heavy snow will bring 10 to 15 cm of snow to these areas through this evening.

An intense low pressure system over Lake St-Jean continues to track northwestward and will lie east of James Bay by the end of the day. Bands of intense snow are developing near the St Lawrence River and are moving southeastward. These bands will generate another 15 cm through this evening between Montréal and Québec City. In the Eastern Townships, the snow will continue throughout the night.

Strong winds are already affecting Northwestern Québec and will become high from Waskaganish to Wemindji tonight. These winds mixed with snow will produce widespread blowing snow or blizzard conditions over these areas today. Blizzard conditions will continue over coastal areas of James Bay on Wednesday.

Storm continues

Above: more gridlock in Montreal this morning.
Below, starting the clean up. ValleyWX Pic

Low pressure is lifting into central Quebec this morning as cold northerly winds and snow fall in Montreal. Over 15cm has fallen at the airport with over 25cm at my home on L' Ile Perrot. I live at the top of an escarpment, so when the winds are out of the west we usually see enhanced snowfall. This time was no different with winds gusting to 60km/h and easily 25cm of snow on my driveway this morning with two foot drifts.

The wind is gusting to 50km/h with visibilities less than 1km in southern Quebec. It is cold as well with temperatures at -6C. The snow and blowing snow will continue today with a storm total of 20-30cm across southern Quebec. Travel is very slow at best with all highways snow covered and icy and visibilities very poor especially outside of the metro area. Numerous accidents have been reported including a fatal collision on the south shore last evening.

Snow is also falling in eastern Ontario. Heavy lake effect snow is still falling in southwest Ontario with 114cm reported at Lucan near London since Saturday. The snow and wind will slowly diminish by this evening and overnight as the storm moves into northern Quebec. Wednesday will be cloudy with flurries and breaks and a lot calmer, clean up day before the next storm poised to affect the region by the weekend.

Monday, December 06, 2010

Near blizzard conditions

10pm Update: At 10pm radar continues to show a nearly stationary band of moderate snow over the island of Montreal. Over 20cm has fallen since mid-afternoon here on Ile Perrot with winds gusting over 55km/h. Temperatures remain cold and travel is not advised in southern Quebec and eastern Ontario tonight. Snow extends all along the 401 and 20 from Kingston to Quebec City and roads are icy and snow covered. Visibility in southern Quebec in most cases is less than 2km. Snow and blowing snow are also occurring in Vermont and New York. Winter Storm Warnings are in effect there with 4-8 inches expected near Lake Champlain and 8-16 inches in the Green Mountains and Adirondacks. Avoid travel tonight on area highways.

St Charles Blvd in Kirkland during the start of rush hour tonight. ValleyWX

They say timing is everything. I just arrived home from work at 8:30pm. I left work at 5:30pm. Montreal traffic was nearly at a standstill as near blizzard conditions developed late this afternoon. Heavy snow and blowing snow have already snarled traffic and delayed commuter trains by up to 2 hours tonight. When I arrived home on L'Ile Perrot, trusty yardstick in hand, I measured 20cm in my driveway. Environment Canada was expecting 2-4cm but they have changed that to 10-15cm. Radar is showing a nearly steady band of snow over the western tip of the island of Montreal. Low pressure is backing into Quebec at this hour from the Atlantic with copious moisture. If you read my blog at all in the last week you knew this was a possibility. Too bad Transport Quebec does not read my blog. Very little plowing and salting has been done.

As of 8pm the temperature at Dorval had dropped to -5C at the airport with a windchill of -14C. Winds were gusting to 52km/h with a pressure down to 988mb and it was snowing. The visibility was under 1km. I will update the weather again within the next hour or two.

Blustery week ahead

5pm Update: The snow became much steadier in Montreal around 2pm today as low pressure moved from Maine into eastern Quebec. Winds have increased, the pressure is dropping and visibility is down to 1km at the airport. A few centimetres are down on the ground, and snow and blowing snow will continue overnight with 5-10cm expected. No warnings are in effect in southern Quebec, but they are for Vermont and New York. Regardless, the roads are snow covered, visibility is poor, and travel in and around Montreal has become very difficult.

High pressure near Greenland continues to block weather systems from moving east across Canada. The result is low pressure moving inland across Maine and into Quebec today. Heavy rain, strong winds to 100km/h and coastal flooding are affecting Nova Scotia. Meanwhile west of the storm center cold northwest winds are keeping temperatures below freezing with snow developing. Radar this morning is showing snow moving west through the St. Lawrence Valley. It is already snowing in Quebec City with heavy snow expected shortly. Winter Storm Warnings are in effect with 15-25cm expected. Winds will increase to 50km/h causing blowing snow and low wind chills. The snow will move into Montreal after lunch but will be light with only 5cm expected.

Meanwhile well west of the low across Ontario snow has been falling south of Lake Huron all weekend. The heavy snow bands have worked there way south right into the GTA and along the 401. Some regions near Collingwood and the Bruce Peninsula have had over 40cm of snow. Strong winds are producing dangerous travel along the 400, 401 and 402. In Eastern Ontario a steady stream of light snow has been falling from Ottawa south along the 416 and towards Brockville. A few centimeters have fallen from the first storm. It appears limited moisture from the second storm will make it into this part of Ontario with only flurries expected.

It will be windy and cold today and Tuesday with temperatures around -2C. The temperature is -7C this morning in off island and -4C at the airport with a gusty northwest wind.

Sunday, December 05, 2010

Cold and snowy

We have a difficult weather scenario setting up early on this Sunday morning. Lets start with yesterday, it was a chilly, breezy and in some locations in southern Quebec, snowy Saturday. We have a blocking area of high pressure located over the far north Atlantic. This is steering weather back west into eastern Canada, and blocking any southern or western systems from moving east. We call this retrograding when low pressure acts against natures "rules" and moves the wrong way. Low pressure one was fairly week and produced that light snow yesterday. This morning we have a brisk northwest flow of cold air pouring into the region. I had -7C this morning with a gusty wind. It will remain cold today struggling to reach -4C with an increasing wind to 40km/h. These winds will turn on the snow machine around the Great Lakes with heavy snow forecast southeast of Lake Huron all the way down to the shores of Lake Erie and Ontario including portions of the GTA and Highways 400 and 401.

The cold air will only deepen on Monday as another stronger storm approaches form the Atlantic and is drawn into Quebec. This storm will produce snow and blowing snow with winds increasing to 60km/h over southern Quebec including Montreal. Quantities of snow are difficult at this time to predict. Winter Storm Watches are in effect for portions of the St. Lawrence Valley north and east of Montreal where 15cm or more is expected. So far Montreal is forecasting 5cm as we will be on the western edge of the precipitation. It will be windy and chilly right into Tuesday. Any snow that does fall will be blown around. Travel could become a challenge for Monday and Tuesday. Eastern Ontario including Ottawa and Kemptville will be windy and cold with flurries, sandwiched between the system snow in Quebec and lake effect in Ontario.

I will update this potential storm as the day progresses.

Friday, December 03, 2010

Snow this weekend

New York State Police tend to drivers stranded on the Thruway near Buffalo. NBC News

A word to the wise when traveling at this time of year. If it looks wet, treat it as ice, and always check the forecast and listen to the warnings before leaving on any trip, cancel it if necessary. This advice comes on the heels of numerous accidents in Montreal this morning because of black ice, or driver indifference, your choice of wording and the 13 miles of New York State Thruway closed south of Buffalo after a much anticipated and well forecasted lake snow event trapped drivers. Both created massive traffic jams and in the Buffalo case stranded drivers all night. Some situations are unavoidable, but as far as black ice goes, it is sunrise in December, expect black ice on elevated surfaces.

Our weather will become difficult to predict this weekend as high pressure over the Atlantic blocks the movement of weather systems to the east. Low pressure will retrograde into Maine and eastern Quebec and send deep Atlantic moisture into our region. Snow showers and gusty winds will prevail all weekend with some areas seeing a significant amount of snow, especially across the higher terrain. It is quite possible that over 5cm may fall in Montreal, but it depends on how far inland the moisture moves. These conditions will persist into next week with another low pressure backing into our region. It does not appear that the pattern will break until late next week. Meanwhile lake effect snow that has deposited nearly 2 feet south of Buffalo will continue to weaken today before possibly starting up again over the weekend. Lake effect snow warnings are in effect for the regions south of Buffalo as well as Jefferson, Lewis and Oswego Counties off Lake Ontario. Warnings are also in effect for the regions in Ontario bordering Georgian Bay and Lake Huron for upwards of 15cm of snow.

Across our region today and over the weekend expect temperatures to be with a degree of two of the freezing point for highs and lows.

Thursday, December 02, 2010

Lake Effect Snow

A strong band of lake effect snow has dumped nearly 2 feet of the white stuff on Buffalo's southern suburbs since mid day yesterday. The snow is all part of the same low pressure and cold front the produced damaging winds in Vermont and New York and flooding rains across the northeast, Ontario and Quebec. In Montreal 51.4mm of rain fell over a 36 hour period with a few snowflakes to end the precipitation last night. Kemptville had 35.7mm. The front was heralded by strong winds that gusted over 50mph in Vermont causing major property damage and knocking down trees and power lines. Peak winds in southern Quebec were around 85km/h in Vaudreuil. Flooding has been reported along the Ausable River in northern New York. The front drooped the temperature from a balmy 12C in Montreal last evening to 1C in just a few hours.

South of the Great Lakes heavy snow fell from Buffalo south for a few miles in a narrow lake effect snow band. The band dropped 1-2 inches of snow per hour along with strong winds, thunder and lightning. State Police were forced to close I-90 south of Buffalo stranding hundreds of drivers overnight. They became buried in the falling and drifting snow and had to be rescued. The nature of lake snows was so evident last night with no snow in Buffalo's northern suburbs, 2-4 inches at the airport and 16-22'' in the south towns, all this is only a 5 mile span!

Above right: Motorists trapped on the New York Thruway ( I-90) south of Buffalo as heavy lake snow piles up around them late last night.

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Colder weather on the way

Storm damage north of Atlanta late yesterday.

A very slow moving cold front is pressing across Ontario and New York this morning and should pass through Montreal by this evening. Very heavy rain is falling along the front and will continue in Montreal most of the day before changing to a period of wet snow after midnight and then tapering off by morning. Nearly 20mm of rain has fallen in the city with an additional 25-50mm possible today followed by 2-4cm of snow, especially north of the city. Winds are increasing as well and will continue to do so out of the southwest from 50-70km/h. The temperature is very mild this morning near 10C, but it will begin to fall by afternoon and drop below freezing overnight. It is already near freezing west of Toronto with wet snow this morning.

Last evening an American Airlines Boeing 737 from Dallas to Montreal slid off the runway at Trudeau Airport. Nobody was injured in the 8pm accident, and the cause is yet to be determined, but it was breezy and raining steadily at the time.

The rain is part of a large storm system that has been producing late season severe weather across the southern US. Several tornadoes were reported yesterday including one in the northwest suburbs of Atlanta. This morning tornado watches are in effect from Georgia to Delaware. Further north flood watches and warnings are in effect with 2-4 inches of rain expected. As the storm swings east cold air is pouring into the region with lake effect snow expected to start up late today south of Buffalo and Watertown across the Tug Hill. Over 1 foot of fresh snow could fall by late Thursday affecting travel on I-90 and I-81.

Low pressure is expected to stall east of the region for the next few days with cloudy, cool weather forecast and an increasing change of snow here in southern Quebec.