Monday, February 28, 2011

Storm exits region

Cleaning the Trans Canada service road in Kirkland, Quebec of a slushy mix of ice pellets, freezing rain and wet snow today. (ValleyWX Pic)

A very fast moving low pressure area rocketed down the St. Lawrence Valley today and is already off the Atlantic coast. The storm brought a quick 5-15cm of snow across the region with several hours of freezing rain especially in eastern Ontario. Ottawa/Gatineau had the most snow between 8-15cm. Most of southern Ontario had between 10-30mm of rain or freezing rain. Winds are gusty this evening with a few flurries, but skies are clearing out and temperatures are dropping. Lows should reach -11C. Tuesday will be sunny and -4C.

Mixed precipitation today

The radar says it all at 8am this morning, with lots of frozen precipitation moving from south to north.

8am Update: Mixed precipitation continues across the region at 8am. It is so variable from one station to the next. Trudeau Airport has 0C with rain while to the east it is snowing in St. Hubert at 1C and just west on L'Ile Perrot it is -4C with freezing rain. Travel is slippery and slow and will be that way all day. I think the snow will eventually take over as the main precip type with 5-10cm in the city and 15-20cm north and west.

6am Update:
Montreal is now up to 1C with light wet snow, good news as snow is better than ice. Meanwhile it is very slippery in Ottawa at -6C with freezing rain. School buses have been cancelled all across Eastern Ontario, so it is a snow day for students.

Precipitation is rapidly spreading north and east into Montreal this morning, as low pressure moves from the Mississippi Valley into upstate New York. The track of the system will be very close to Montreal today with mostly freezing rain and rain from Montreal south and snow north and west of the city. About 25mm of precipitation will fall in various forms over the course of the day. Add to that gusty winds up to 50km/h and it should be an interesting weather day.

This morning the temperature at the airport in Montreal has risen rapidly from -4C to 0C with a southeast wind and light snow. It is -3C here on l'Ile Perrot. The temperature is -6C in Ottawa with light snow and above freezing at 2C in Kingston with rain. As you can see it is a very tricky forecast across the area. Freezing Rain Warnings are in effect for eastern Ontario and southern Quebec. Winter Weather Advisories are posted for northern New York and Vermont. Northwest of Montreal towards Ottawa and into the Gatineau Hills mostly snow will fall with 10-15cm expected.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Freezing Rain Warning

Strong low pressure is rapidly moving across the Midwest from Colorado this evening and will pass very close to Montreal on Monday. Warm air is streaming north with the storm, but cold air remains well in place in our region. A stubborn northeast wind in the St. Lawrence Valley may prevent the warm air from reaching the surface on Monday. Therefore Environment Canada has posted a Freezing Rain Warning for Montreal and southern Quebec. Precipitation will begin overnight in the form of snow and transition to freezing rain by Monday morning and perhaps a period of rain in the afternoon before tapering off to flurries late in the day. Several hours of freezing rain and mixed precipitation is likely especially in the St. Lawrence Valley, along with strong gusty winds up to 50km/h. North of the city in St. Jerome and Lachute, and in the Ottawa Valley it looks like snow will be the main precipitation type. A Winter Storm Warning is in effect in those areas for 15-20cm of snow. Before the transition to freezing rain Montreal may get a quick 5-10cm.

South of the city less than 5cm of snow is expected before the freezing rain and then rain by the noon hour, especially along the US border and into northern New York and Vermont. Further south and west across the lower lakes from Niagara to Windsor, 15-25mm of heavy rain is forecast with some thunderstorms as well. South of the lakes in the Ohio Valley and southern plains, severe weather and flooding is likely with this storm.

Travel will be greatly impacted on Monday morning so plan ahead accordingly. I will update this storm later tonight and very early Monday morning.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

More precipitation on the way

Burlington, Vermont is having one of its snowiest February's ever.
(Glenn Russell, Burlington Free Press)

By now most of you know that Friday's forecast was another complete miss for us weather people. It happens. When you get into the business of trying to predict weather, you develop broad shoulders. So what happened to the storm? Why is it too cold? Why is it too warm? Etc Etc. I have heard it all over my 25 plus years reporting and recording weather. This week was particularly challenging with a bad week at work and a bad week in the weather department.

The system yesterday passed along the New York/Pennsylvania border keeping the bulk of the heavy snow across New York and Vermont. While Montreal had only 3-5cm or about 2 inches, Burlington, Vermont recorded almost 25cm (10"). That snowfall brings Burlington ever so close to the snowiest February on record, a mark that was established at 42.3" in 2008. To date just over 40" has fallen on that city, and with more forecast tonight and Sunday, the record should be surpassed.

Today temperatures are cold across the region with -13C here on L'ile Perrot. It will be dry today with clouds increasing this afternoon and a cold high of -5C. A weak clipper system will giver 2-5cm of snow across the region overnight before some brief clearing on Sunday. That will be the appetizer for a much stronger storm from the southern plains moving towards our region for Monday. At this time the storm will pass very close to Montreal with lots of moisture and milder temperatures. Around one inch of precipitation is expected in the form of a snow/rain mix. Exact quantities and timing of the precipitation are yet to be determined. After the bad stretch of predictions, lets sleep one more night on this one!

Friday, February 25, 2011

Storm slides south

Classic comma shaped low pressure area as seen early this morning. The heaviest snow will remain just south of Montreal. (NOAA image)

Winter Storm Warning cancelled for Montreal.
So much for forecaster confidence. This winter has been so difficult in nailing down the track of every single storm. There have been no easy ones. Some have surprised us while most have missed us. We will see how this one plays out, but for the time being the Winter Storm Warning for Montreal has been cancelled. Snowfall will begin around midday but remain below warning criteria with only 5cm expected for the city and much of eastern Ontario. Winter Storm Warnings remain posted for the Eastern Townships, most of New York and New England as well as extreme southern Ontario along the Lake Erie shoreline. In those areas between 15-25cm of new snow is expected. On the US side of the St. Lawrence Valley, a Winter Weather Advisory is in effect for up to 10cm of snow with strong winds from Massena to Clayton. While we may approach advisory snow in the area between Cornwall and Brockville, we don't have that type of warning terminology in Canada. The wind will be strong for all regions, out of the northeast up to 60km/h, so any snow that does fall will be blown around. Travel south into the US will be difficult today.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Winter Storm Warning

A Winter Storm Warning is in effect this morning for all of southern Quebec and northern New York and Vermont. Winter Weather Advisories are now in effect for the St. Lawrence Valley of New York with a Winter Storm Watch for eastern and southern Ontario including Toronto, Kingston, Cornwall and the 401 corridor as well as the regions north and east of Montreal.

We begin this morning with clear and cold weather across the region. Temperatures are very close to -18C in rural areas and around -14C in metro Montreal. It will be sunny this morning, with increasing clouds this afternoon as a trough of low pressure bring a few flurries to the area. The main event will begin overnight in southern Ontario and spread north and east rapidly on Friday. Low pressure is organizing along the Gulf Coast and will begin to rapidly lift into the Ohio Valley. It will pass across New York State on Friday. Snow will become heavy on Friday and accumulate a general 15-25cm (6-10") across all our regions. The trend with this storm has been further north over the last several hours therefor confidence is growing in this forecast. Another big element of this storm, especially here in southern Quebec along the south shore to the US border and along the 401 will be the wind. It will gust up to 80km/h on Friday, capable of producing near zero visibility especially off island. This will be a significant weather event and cancellations will be possible. Adjust your travel plans for Friday if you can. Skies will clear Saturday before the next storm on Monday.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Winter storm possible Friday

The likelihood of a big snow event on Friday is becoming a little clearer this evening. Low pressure over the southern plains is expected to track south of the lower lakes on Friday and lie near Boston by early Saturday. Snow will overspread southern Ontario and southern Quebec as well as New England by Friday morning and persist all day with blowing snow as well. The potential exists for more than 10cm. As of 8pm a Winter Storm Watch is in effect for New York and Vermont, along with a Special Weather Statement posted for Ontario and Quebec. I will update this potential winter storm by 6am tomorrow morning.

Quiet weather for the moment

High pressure remains in control of the weather across southern Quebec and Ontario. Bright sunshine will warm temperatures to -2C to -4C across the region today with another chilly night tonight dropping down to -16C, as it did this morning. Temperatures in our region will warm to near 0C tomorrow and Friday but then lower behind the next storm system over the weekend.

The weather will then become a little more interesting as we end February and head into the weekend. Low pressure over Colorado will take shape and head northeast into the Ohio Valley. The system will bring an increased chance of snow late Friday and into Saturday. The track is still very much in question with the greatest threat for a moderate snowfall from Plattsburgh and Burlington south. That may change with snow and wind affecting Montreal and the St. Lawrence Valley. On the south (warm) side of this storm severe weather is likely in the form of thunderstorms and tornadoes from Mississippi northeast towards the Delmarva area. More information will be posted on this potential storm later today.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Dry week ahead

Detroit (above) and the Upper Midwest were hit hard by the recent storm with over 10 inches in the Motor City and across the river in Windsor. (Detroit Free Press)

Arctic high pressure continues to dominate our weather with a very cold morning across Ontario, Quebec and northern New England. Montreal and Kemptville are both -18C this morning on the way to a daytime highs of -5C. Sunshine will prevail right into Thursday with moderating temperatures. The next threat for precipitation will com late Thursday overnight into Friday as low pressure approaches from Ohio. Snow or rain is forecast for Friday. This will be a perfect time to wash the car and get some of that stubborn salt off it.

I have been writing this blog since 2005 and still amazes me that with all the weather that occurred over that time, the biggest draw remains anything I write about the Montreal Blizzard of 1971. I have many hits and comments on these entries. We are coming up on the 40th anniversary of that storm in early March, so I am searching for some new photos and info on the storm.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Daytona 500 vs Heritage Classic

Trevor Bayne became the youngest driver to win the Daytona 500 yesterday.

Two weather dependant sporting events dominated my Sunday this past weekend. Anybody who knows me is aware I love NASCAR just a little less than the weather. The Daytona 500 was run yesterday with an historic win by 20 year old Trevor Bayne giving the Wood Brothers their 4th Dayton 500 win and Ford Racing their 600th win in NASCAR. The weather was near perfect with sunshine, light winds and temperatures near 80F (27C). Meanwhile far, far away in Calgary, the Heritage Classic, or should I say non classic (as far as Habs fans go) was taking place in much colder weather. Sunshine was the rule in Alberta as well, but the mercury was at -10C with wind chills close to -18C (0F). Calgary beat a disinterested Montreal team 4-0. Given the choice of events, and I love both sports equally, I would take south Florida over Alberta in February!

On Sunday a winter storm moved across the Midwest and remained south of the Great Lakes. A narrow band of heavy snow affected southwest Ontario with 28cm in Windsor and 17cm in London. Meanwhile a weak front produced a dry, fluffy 1-2cm in Montreal overnight. Skies have since cleared and it is breezy and cold. It will be sunny today through Wednesday, but cold with temperatures at -10C today and -18C tonight and between -3 and -6C during the rest of the week. The next chance for precipitation will come in the form of snow or a wintry mix by late Thursday.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Record high for Montreal

11.00pm Update: The arctic cold front crossed Lìle Perrot around 10:30pm with very strong winds and snow. The temperature has dropped to 0C from 4C. As the front approached Trudeau Airport winds gusted to 91km/h at 10:52pm. Snow squalls will continue across the southern portion of the province until midnight with scattered flurries and dropping temperatures afterwards overnight. A snow squall watch has been posted by Environment Canada from Montreal south and east to the US border. Roads will become snow covered and slippery with lowered visibility as well.

Montreal set a new record high for February 18 today reaching 9C and surpassing the previous high of 8.5C set in 1981. All that is about to come to an end as a strong cold front is just west of the city. It passed through Ottawa with some snow and winds gusting to 80km/h during the last hour. The front will move through Montreal between 11pm and midnight along with some brief but intense snow squalls. Visibility will lower rapidly along with dropping temperatures and gusty winds. Temperatures will drop to -6C from the 4C reading at this hour. Winds will remain gusty along with flurries and some blowing snow. Any water on area roads will freeze up so drive with caution.

Colder weather returns

Lot's of puddles and potholes with fog and drizzle
this morning in Montreal at 3C.

We are very mild this morning in Montreal at plus 3C with rain. Ottawa is at 7C and Toronto at 10C after establishing a new record high yesterday at 11.3C. A warm front is in the process of lifting north of Montreal with the showers this morning coming to an end and some partial sunshine developing. Yesterday Montreal soared to plus 7C with plenty of sunshine and light winds. Any freezing rain was confined to the area well north and east of Montreal towards Quebec City. The cold air in the valley was pushed out quickly as the northeast wind subsided.

The warm air will push temperatures close to record values today across the entire region. Montreal may eclipse the previous record of 8.5C set in 1981, with portions of the Champlain Valley and eastern Ontario easily going over 10C and perhaps as high as 15C in Vermont The warmth and melting will be short lived so enjoy it. Already this morning a strong cold front is prompting wind warnings across southern Ontario and upstate New York. Winds will increase out of the southwest from 50-70km/h as the cold front approaches. Temperatures will begin to drop in Ontario today and Quebec overnight. The cold air will also produce some snow flurries and squalls overnight with a couple of centimetres possible. Temperatures will plummet from near 10C today down to -6C by Saturday morning. Anything melting today will freeze rapidly tonight, and trust me there are some big puddles and potholes out there.

Saturday will be windy and cold with some partial sunshine. Sunday will start off fair before clouds increase from the southwest in the afternoon. Snow will develop late Sunday night and continue into Monday. It will be breezy and even colder as winter returns. We could see snow in the 5-15cm range, but it is early in the forecast and the exact track of this low pressure takes it anywhere from just south of our region to well south of New England. We will just have to wait and see, but it will be colder that is certain.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Brief warming trend

As I expected, the warm air located just to our south is having a difficult time moving into the St. Lawrence Valley. Toronto reached plus 5C yesterday while Montreal remained chilly at -4C with that ever persistent northeast wind and a deep snow pack keeping temperatures down. The key to today's forecast is simply this, can the approaching warm front to our southwest move the cold air out of Montreal? All bets are yes at this time with a forecast high of plus 1C by late today. With precipitation beginning this evening in the form of showers, there may be enough cold air at the surface for freezing rain from Montreal north and east towards Quebec City within the valley. It should be short lived in metro Montreal.

Look for rising temperatures overnight on strong southwest winds to 50km/h. Temperatures will rise all the way up to plus 7 to 12C across southern Quebec, eastern Ontario and northern New England on Friday. Rapid snow melt will likely cause some ponding of water on roadways and also area lakes and rivers may begin to rise. Ice conditions will become unstable and less than ideal over the next 48 hours, so perhaps staying off the rivers is not a bad idea.

By late Friday an approaching cold front will bring the threat of showers which will gradually change to snow flurries with dropping temperatures to well below freezing by Saturday morning. Winds will increase out of the northwest from 40-60km/h and it will be a cold day around -5C. Some snow is possible Sunday but more on that later.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

February thaw

It was another very cold night across southern Quebec and portions of eastern Ontario. Montreal dipped to -15C, Ottawa -13C and Sherbrooke -24C. Skies are cloudy this morning and there are some snow showers around eastern Ontario that may drift into southern Quebec. The big warming trend is still on track, but will be a few hours late. With the clouds and extensive snow cover, the temperature will only rise to around -1C today, still a big improvement over yesterday.

Tonight and Thursday warm air will begin streaming north from the southern US. Look for temperatures to rise through the day on Thursday and into Friday. Showers are possible over that period with perhaps some steady rain late Thursday. A pocket of freezing rain is not out of the question in the normally colder valley's and north of Montreal late Thursday. Friday will be cloudy but very warm with gusty south winds and highs up to an incredible plus 10C (50F). It is time to clear out the rain gutters, mine are under about three feet of snow!

A cold front will mover across the region early Saturday and return us back to reality with highs no better than -4C. Look for a chance of measurable snow early next week, just to keep us all grounded. Winter still has about a month or so to go.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Arctic chill - February thaw

Just some of the 60cm plus of snow that has fallen on the city this month is piled high in many parking lots.

The temperature has dropped to -19C this morning in Montreal after nosing above the freezing mark to 1C yesterday. As promised a strong cold front went through the city around 8pm last evening with temperatures rapidly dropping. Roads iced up quickly and numerous major accidents were reported in the metro area and across the southern half of the province. Over 15cm of snow fell on Montreal yesterday, with just a brief period of rain around the noon hour. Several hours of freezing rain were also observed at the airport.

After a sunny and cold day today we will begin a major warming trend that will send temperatures soaring to plus 2C Wednesday and plus 8C Thursday with some light rain before cooler air works into the region Friday night and Saturday with some snow showers.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Roller coaster ride

11am UPDATE: A Flash Freeze Warning has been posted for most of Ontario including Kemptville, Ottawa and Cornwall. A strong cold front will rapidly drop temperatures from well above freezing to -10C starting around noon and reaching Montreal by early evening. Any rain will change to snow with rapidly dropping temperatures, strong southwest to northwest winds, blowing snow and icy roads. It will drop to -18C overnight. Travel with care this afternoon or adjust your plans. Warnings may be extended into Quebec later today.

Stubborn temperatures below freezing on the island of Montreal at 8am have allowed for the falling rain to freeze on contact on all surfaces. Roads and sidewalks are very icy. The freezing rain should change to rain my mid morning and snow this afternoon. It will be a messy drive today with rapidly changing road conditions.

The temperature will be the big weather story this week with big jumps and falls anticipated. This morning low pressure near Ottawa is expected to slide along the international border and well east of the region by late today. This morning temperatures are all over the place across the region. Montreal Trudeau Airport is currently -4C with freezing rain and a northeast wind. South of the city St. Hubert is all the way up to plus 3C with light rain. Meanwhile up Highway 20 in Quebec City it is -7C with snow. Down the 401 in Cornwall they are plus 1C. Overnight over 10cm of heavy wet snow fell on the city making for a messy commute. That puts the snowfall for Montreal for February near 60cm, or double that of January with half the month to go.

So now the roller coaster ride begins. We may nudge above the freezing mark for a few hours this morning, but it will be short lived. A strong and breezy cold front is moving across Ontario this morning with gusty winds over 90km/h, a burst of steady snow and rapidly dropping temperatures. Despite highs in southern Quebec and the Ottawa Valley of plus 1 to 3C today, the temperature will plummet tonight to -18C with wind chills near -30C. Tuesday will be a cold day with the mercury struggling to reach -10C. After that from Wednesday to Friday a major warming trend will bring the warmest air of 2011 into the region. Highs could approach plus 8 to 10C across southern Quebec, Ontario and New England, assuming we can chase this arctic air out of the valley. Skies will be partly cloudy with an increase in clouds by Friday, and rain possible. The rain will change to a period of snow late Friday into early Saturday as another cold front allows the temperature to take a dive.

It will be quite a ride from winter to spring and back to winter this week. Keep this in mind while travelling as the weather will be changeable with lots of icy surfaces around.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Potent Clipper

Blowing snow along Vermont State Highway 2 in the Lake Champlain Islands on Saturday. ValleyWX Pic

9pm UPDATE: Just a brief update this evening. Snow is still falling here in southern Quebec with between 5-10cm on the ground. Temperatures are still chilly in Montreal having dropped from -3C around 4pm to -7C at 8pm. This is likely because of the northeast wind in the St. Lawrence Valley. West of us it has warmed above freezing across eastern Ontario with Ottawa at 1C and light rain. Radar is showing snow across southern Quebec and into extreme eastern Ontario. The snow should mix with light rain in Montreal overnight as temperatures rise to 0C.

Most Alberta Clippers this year have been moisture starved and on the weak side, however we have a potent one tonight crossing northern Ontario moving southeast towards Montreal by Monday morning. This storm, fueled by cold arctic air to the north and a strengthening flow of moist air from the south, is producing a swath of heavy snow along and north of its track across Ontario and Quebec. Between 10-20cm of fresh snow is expected from Montreal north and east of the city with lesser amounts from Montreal south and very little snow in northern New York and Vermont. Steady snow is falling in Montreal at 5pm with low visibilities and snow covered roads. Heavy Snow Warnings are in effect for the regions north of Montreal including the Laurentians and Quebec City. The snow tonight will be accompanied by rising temperatures, so there is a risk of a messy mix of rain and snow in Montreal. On Monday temperatures will begin to drop late in the day with gusty northwest winds and snow squalls possible. There could be blowing and drifting snow again especially off island to the south and west of the city. It will be very cold Monday night and Tuesday before a major warming trend Wednesday.

I was in Vermont on the weekend and despite the gusty winds and blowing snow, very little new snow was falling. The same is occurring with this system as most of the snow remains north of the international border.

On Saturday in southern Quebec, around 5cm of new snow fell early, driven around by strong south winds. I was driving along the south shore early Saturday morning on the new section of Highway 30. The blowing snow made roads slippery and visibilities low. As I headed south on Highway 15 towards Champlain, New York, the snow tapered off until the roads were completely dry at the border with no snow falling at all.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Weekend Update

Icy overpasses and bridges yesterday morning and this morning have caused
numerous accidents in and around Montreal. Slow down!

A rather unstable weather pattern is upon us, but it is zonal, west to east, so it should limit any big storms or really cold air. It will result in rapid changes in the weather over the next week. Skies will clear out this morning after some overnight flurries, just enough to make roads icy. Clouds will increase once again tonight in advance of two clipper systems this weekend. The first will bring a general light snow to the area overnight and into Saturday morning. I don't think much more than a centimetre or two will fall (perhaps 5cm in the Laurentians). Winds will turn out of the southwest and become gusty up to 50km/h causing blowing snow in open areas. We will see a few breaks in the clouds late Saturday before the next low moves in mid Sunday into Monday morning. This system will have a little more moisture and give perhaps 5cm locally to the area. It will be followed rapidly late Monday by a brief shot of cold air before a big warming trend late next week that will see temperatures go above freezing. Temperatures will be around -3C for highs this weekend and -10C overnight. Monday night lows could drop to -20C before the warming trend starts.

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

Blowing Snow

Salina, Kansas yesterday. AP photo

It was really cold last night in Montreal. I was surprised just how chilly it was while cleaning my driveway last evening. When I left the house yesterday morning, it was -4C. Last night we dipped to -17C with a windchill of -27C jut before midnight. The cold air poured in behind a strong cold front that swept the valley around 8am. The temperature has since risen to -9C in response to another approaching cold front, and will drop again later today. That front will have limited moisture, but very gusty southwest winds in the St. Lawrence Valley with 60km/h not out of the question. The winds are producing blowing snow, especially in open areas. Yesterday another 5cm of snow fell with another 5cm possible over the next 24 hours. There may be a burst or two of steady snow. If you are travelling the 401 to Toronto you may encounter some heavier snow before Kingston to near Trenton off Lake Ontario.

The balance of the week will be unsettled with seasonable temperatures around -5C during the day and -12C at night. Just a few flurries are possible. The next threat for snow will be late Sunday from a weak Clipper system. Next week will be much milder.

This morning another windy snowstorm is moving across the southern plains. Overnight about 4 inches fell in Oklahoma City with upwards of a foot along the Kansas border.

Tuesday, February 08, 2011

Slippery morning commute

Either the snowplow operators are tired or the winter budget ran out overnight. Montreal streets are snow covered this morning with very little in the way of plowing or salting. It took me about 20 minutes just to get out of my own neighbourhood this morning. We certainly received the low end of the forecast expectations with about 5cm overnight. Add that to the 4cm yesterday and the close to 20cm on Sunday, and the piles are getting rather high.

This mornings messy commute is being complicated by dropping temperatures in the region and an increasing northwest wind. The temperature has lowered from 0C just after midnight to -7C at 8am. It is already -15C in both Toronto and Ottawa. Roads have turned to ice with a layer of snow on top. The snow will taper off this morning with another 2 or perhaps 3cm expected. Skies will be partly cloudy for the balance of the day and tonight with steady temperatures. On Wednesday an arctic front will move across the valley with increasing southwest winds backing to the northwest between 30-60 km/h causing blowing and drifting snow in open areas. A few snow squalls may develop along the front with a couple of quick centimetres possible. Keep this in mind if travelling across the region. The same forecast holds true for eastern Ontario. Northern New England had between 3-6 inches of snow overnight.

The balance of the week looks cooler and unsettled with flurries, but no big storms in sight at this time. Another storm is affecting north Texas and Dallas today. We will have to keep a close on eye on where this one heads next.

Monday, February 07, 2011

Another day - another snowfall

Burlington, Vermont has received over 70 inches of snow this winter including another 10 over the weekend. Burlington Free Press Photo - Glenn Russell

I always believe mother nature has a way of balancing out the weather over the course of a year or even a season. We are feeling that balance right now as we are generously re-payed for our lack of snow in January. Another couple of centimeters fell overnight after the 15-25cm surprise that hit overnight Saturday. This brings the total snowfall for February 1st to 6th to over 40cm (only 30cm fell the entire month of January). Yesterday was as spectacular as Saturday, sunny and very mild at 1C. It was an odd weekend with the heavy wet snow sandwiched between the two near perfect winter days. You could have almost slept through the storm.

The clean up is underway this morning. I noticed several municipalities on the island of Montreal rapidly moving snowbanks out of the way and widening streets in anticipation of the next snowfall. Winter weather advisories are in effect today for Vermont and Northern New York once again. Low pressure and an associated arctic boundary are forecast to approach the region over the next 24 hours. Snow will develop tonight and taper off late Tuesday. The snow will be light but we can't rule out a burst of moderate snow, especially along the arctic front late Tuesday. It will become windy and much colder by Wednesday with temperatures below normal for a few days with lows in the minus teens and highs around -6C. The snowfall over the next 24 hours in the Montreal area could approach 15cm.

Sunday, February 06, 2011


40cm has fallen since February 1.

That was one crazy snowfall last night. Yesterday was likely the nicest day of 2011 so far, sunny and 1C. It was glorious up until about 8:30pm when the wheels fell off. Low pressure moved about 100km closer to Montreal than the original forecast, that was enough to dump very heavy wet snow across southern Quebec. The snow started around 8:30pm, dropping the temperature from 1C to -4C and tapered off after 3am. In that short time frame we had 20cm here on L'Ile Perrot for the second snowstorm of the week. So after only 30cm for the entire month of January, we are now over 40cm here at my home for February 1-6. We are not done either.

So last night travel was horrible in the heavy wet snow with winds gusting to 40km/h. Highways were very difficult to negotiate especially south of the city. In addition to the snow, thunder and lightning was reported across the south shore into the Townships.

Today there will be a break between systems as partly sunny skies and mild weather prevail. Low pressure once again will move just south of Montreal with another 5-10cm forecast during Monday and perhaps a little more on Tuesday. It will then turn colder for the balance of the week.

Saturday, February 05, 2011

Snow update

10:45PM Update: What a wild weather night in southern Quebec as a surprise snowstorm is underway. Heavy snow has been falling in Montreal for about 2 hours. I just measured 7.5cm here on L'Ile Perrot since 8pm. The snow is being blown around by northeast winds that are gusting to 40km/h. Warnings have now been extended west to include the south shore of Montreal and the Richelieu Valley. There have even been reports of thunder and lightning with the snow over northern Vermont into southern Quebec. Scattered power outages have also been reported in Vermont from the heavy wet snow. Travel is very difficult with snow covered roads and reduced visibility. Snow will taper off by daybreak with at least 10cm in Montreal and 15-20cm elsewhere across southern Quebec. Deepening low pressure is located in southern Vermont tonight moving east. This storm was expected to remain along the coast but took an inland track accounting for the heavy snow in the St. Lawrence Valley and southern Quebec.

After a very mild day today with a high of 1C in Montreal and bright sunshine, the snow has started in the last hour. Radar is showing heavy snow just to our south with Plattsburgh at 29F with heavy snow. The snow will increase in coverage and intensity shortly across southern Quebec with near 10cm expected in the Montreal region and up to 15cm in the Townships. Winter storm warnings are in effect for Vermont and New York for 10-20cm of snow. Snowfall warnings are in effect for portions of southern Ontario with winter weather advisories in effect for the St. Lawrence Valley of New York.The snow will taper off by sunrise. Roads have rapidly become snow covered and visibility has lowered to under 2km in Montreal and under 1km off island. If you can stay in tonight across the area, do so, much safer watching hockey on TV than driving in this.

Surprise snow on the way

From the Groundhog Day storm, 17" or 43cm of snow on my back deck.

Well this is the kind of winter it has been with the GEM and Canadian and European Models. I wish they were in swimsuits but sadly these are computer weather forecast models. They have been having a really difficult time predicting winter storms and only came into agreement with this storm 18 hours before the start time of the event. (I think the swimsuit models would have done a better job). This was my point with this past weeks big storm, every once in awhile you have to look out the window, observe which way the wind is blowing, look at the clouds and barometer and make your own decision.

Well this brings me to Saturday morning, and that winter storm that affected Dallas and much of the Gulf Coast yesterday. It is now expected to take a more northwest path which will bring the snow into northern New York, Vermont as well as southern Quebec and eastern Ontario. Low pressure currently over Kentucky is forecast to move across southeast New York state overnight. The forecast is now calling for am quick 5-10cm of snow for Montreal and the 401 corridor to Kingston beginning late this afternoon and ending by daybreak Sunday. Further south and east more snow will fall with Heavy Snow Warnings for the Townships for up to 15cm. South of the border Winter Storm Warnings are now in effect for most of Vermont from Burlington south as well as New York Sate south of Plattsburgh. Look for 6-10" in the warning area. North of there to the Canadian border including Plattsburgh, winter weather advisories are in effect for 2-5" of snow.

Warnings are also in place across winter weary Atlantic Canada where another 15-30cm could fall on Sunday. Two more weather systems are expected to bring Montreal and the region snow next week. More on that later, lets shovel this one out of the way first. Now off to remove the 2 feet of snow from my back deck. Pictures later!

I will update this weather event later this morning. Adjust your travel plans accordingly, especially into New England.

Friday, February 04, 2011

Superbowl Weather

Superbowl home Dallas/Fort Worth this moring.

The frigid cold and endless snow of winter 2010/2011 continues this morning across the southern Plains including North Texas and Dallas. The Superbowl is scheduled for Sunday afternoon between the Packers and Steelers and well getting there may be difficult today, the weather looks good for Sunday. This morning Dallas is only 20F with 6 inches of snow on the ground, a new record for the city. They join a long list of North American cities with lots of snow cover stretching from Canada all the way south to the Gulf of Mexico. Houston is only 28F and Lake Charles 32F both with freezing rain. The freezing rain stretches across Louisiana where it is accompanied by thunder into Mississippi and Arkansas. Low pressure in the Gulf and plenty of cold air to the north is creating this situation. The storm is forecast to move to near Delaware overnight and off the New England coast on Saturday night. The forecast for Dallas for the Superbowl is clear skies and cool at 45F (7C). Go Packers.

With this track Montreal and most of northern New England will see just a light dusting of snow late Saturday. This morning weak low pressure is traveling to our north and producing a gusty southwest wind here in the St. Lawrence Valley. The temperature is relatively mild at -6C but the wind is making it feel colder. That breeze will also make travel interesting off island in open space with plenty of drifting snow across roadways. Saturday will be partly cloudy with perhaps a little light snow late in the day. Sunday will be sunny and seasonable. Next week looks very active with our next snow forecast for Monday and Tuesday. This system will produce a moderate snowfall of perhaps 10cm. Beyond that we may have a larger system later in the week but it is still early in the game, and forecast models have not been reliable at all the winter.

I have been using old skills to predict what comes our way, so far they are working much better than the modern technology. Speaking of which here is a wrap up of the most recent storm. Montreal had officially 19cm at the airport with 20-25cm across the south shore (I measured 22cm on L'Ile Perrot). Further southeast 25-30cm fell across the region from the Richelieu Valley south into the Townships and on into the US. State side 14" fell at Burlington with 13" at Plattsburgh and the winner locally goes to Peru, New York in the Adirondacks with 20".

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

Storm tapering off

Above & Below: Some typical scenes in Montreal today. ValleyWX pictures.

Snow is slowly tapering off in Montreal tonight after a rather stormy day. I measured around 20cm in my front driveway with drifts of a couple of feet around the backside of the house. Strong winds and heavy snow played havoc with road and air travel into the afternoon with more than 80 flights cancelled at Trudeau Airport and numerous highways in the region closed. Several major accidents were reported including one on Highway 20 on the South Shore near St. Julie. That accident involved 70 vehicles including 30 trucks and several buses. Three injuries were reported. There were scores of other accidents around the region closing Highway 15 on the south shore as well as the 640 on the north shore. The storm is now pulling off the New England coast and heading across the Maritimes. In its wake hundreds of thousands are without power in the US and it will likely take days to sort out the more than 10,000 cancelled flights.

The storm brought the third largest snowfall to Chicago with nearly 20 inches. Despite dire predictions only 13-17cm fell on Toronto as the storm wobbled to the north slightly and dry air worked into the city. The Montreal region had 15cm across the north shore and Laval with 20-25cm from the island of Montreal across the south shore to the US border. The entire 401 corridor from Kingston northeast to the Quebec border had between 20-30cm of snow. Travel remains poor tonight south and east of the city in snow and blowing snow.

Storm Update

Hymus at 1pm today in Kirkland, QC. ValleyWX Pic

1:30pm UPDATE:
The SQ and OPP are asking you to travel only if you have today especially in the rural areas. Snow and blowing snow is creating very dangerous travel. In Quebec there have been numerous multi-car pile ups involving hundreds of cars. Highways 640, 10, 15 and 20 are closed in places as a result. Travel only if you have to. My best guesstimate out at lunch is that about 15cm is down. There is a brief lull on radar to our west but then several hours of more steady snow. Expect another 10-15cm today into this evening.

Highway 15 south is closed at Candiac because of a serious accident with Highway 10 west closed at km 37 because of a pile up. Travel is very poor and not recommend off island.

Oh by the way this was issued finally by Environment Canada.

10:52 AM EST Wednesday 02 February 2011
Winter storm warning for
Metro Montréal - Laval issued

15 to 25 centimetres of snow and nil visibilities in blowing snow will affect these areas today.

A strong low pressure system currently South of the Great Lakes will track over New England today. Snow and blowing snow will affect the southern part of the province over the next few hours. The most affected areas will remain those closest to the United States. Significant snowfall combined with strong winds will give very low visibilities in blowing snow. Snow will taper off beginning tonight.

Winter Storm Warning

Blowing snow in Montreal this morning

10am UPDATE: A 10am visibility is under 0.5km in heavy snow and blowing snow on Montreal’s West Island. Radar is showing bands of heavy accumulating snow moving across the region and onto the island from the southwest. Look for the snow to continue through the lunch hour and into the afternoon. Visibility is poor in northeast winds over 50km/h. Travel off island is not advised.

Radar is showing steady snow - light to heavy at times stretching across eastern Ontario and into southern Quebec. Rush hour is a nightmare in Montreal with lines of cars and trucks on area highways, slippery roads and low visibility. Numerous accidents have been reported and at least one near miss (thanks to the idiot who turned into me on the Trans Canada service road). The snow will continue all day with 10-25cm expected over the region, the higher amounts along the US border. Winds are increasing out of the northeast to 50km/h at Montreal at 8am. They will gust up to 70km/h producing considerable blowing and drifting snow, especially off island. Many schools were closed south of Montreal including the Townships. Thousands of flights have been canceled at area airports including Trudeau in Montreal. The word today is call ahead. Road travel off island to the south and west is not advisable with heavy snow falling across New England and New York as well.

The storm developed a pronounced dry slot that has limited the snow in the Toronto region. They are expecting only 15cm. Radar is showing this well this morning with little snow falling in the GTA at this time.

Oh and guess who was "overshadowed" by the thing he must rely on the most - Punxsutawney Phil. This storm has limited the attention the furry forecaster usually receives. He did not see his shadow because of this storm, so I guess that means an early Spring. Time will tell.

Snowstorm Update

Here is a brief update on the Winter Storm affecting Ontario and Quebec. Visibility is already down to 2km here in Montreal with snow and blowing snow. Winds are gusting northeast at 41km/h at the airport. Across eastern Ontario heavy snow has been accompanied by thunder in some locations. School buses have been cancelled and road travel is poor. Look for a general 15-25cm across the area with northeast winds between 30-50km/h. There was a peak gust overnight at Long Point, Ontario to 117km/h.

I will have a more complete update by 8:30am.

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

Warnings issued for southern Quebec

I-44 in Oklahoma today. The National Guard was called out to rescue trapped drivers. Just two days ago the mercury was at 75F, today they dropped down to 9F with over 1 foot of snow and 60mph winds.

A major winter storm over the Midwest US tonight continues to push snow northeast into Ontario. At 8pm the snow had moved into the Detroit/Windsor area and was advancing up the 401 corridor towards the GTA. Heavy snow and strong winds will overspread the entire region and arrive in Montreal just in time for the morning rush hour. Winter Storm Warnings are in effect for all of southern Ontario into eastern Ontario as well as extreme southern Quebec including L'Ile Perrot where I live, but not Montreal island. Really we are splitting hairs, because the gusty northeast winds in the valley will reach speeds of 60km/h and produce near zero visibilities region wide including the Montreal metro region tomorrow, warning or not. Travel will become very poor overnight with the bulk of the snow, upwards of 15-20cm falling on Montreal during the daylight hours Wednesday. Near blizzard conditions are expected in Toronto and most of the 401 corridor overnight. The OPP are advising you to stay home if you can.

I was looking at some of the observations from the southern plains and Midwest. Winds were gusting over 60 mph in some locals with blinding snow and even thunder across Missouri. South of the snow it has been freezing rain in a swath from the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex north and east towards New York City. The ice could accumulate more than 1/2 inch bringing down power lines and trees. This is a very dangerous storm and travel is not advised out of the city to the south or west tomorrow.

Storm Update

The snow amount expected for Montreal has been increased to 10-15cm by Environment Canada. The very dangerous winter storm is moving from Oklahoma northeast towards Lake Michigan at this hour and will then slide east across New York state. Blizzard and Winter Storm Warnings remain posted across the region as far east as the Quebec border. Snow and blowing snow has Oklahoma City down to zero visibility. Travel will become impossible across the upper Midwest this afternoon and tonight. The snow and blowing snow will move into Ontario overnight and reach Quebec on Wednesday morning.

If you want to see just how bad it is expected to be in Chicago, read this WARNING from the National Weather Service.

How much SNOW?

8am Update: I just want to update the forecast snow totals for the region. Depending who you read or listen too, the amounts vary greatly. Montreal will be right on the heavy snow line. Here are the forecast amounts from various sources.

Environment Canada: 5-10cm
The Weather Network: 10-15cm
Meteo-Media: 15-20cm
AccuWeather: 20-30cm

You decide!

Massive Winter Storm

AccuWeather Radar
I am not sure where to begin on this first day of February so lets just start close to home. This is a developing weather event, so I expect the amounts of forecast snow for Montreal to change by the end of the day. Low pressure continues to organize over the southern plain states. Meanwhile energy out ahead of the main storm is producing a swath of light snow across the lower lakes and into New York state. The radar image above shows this event well with the two areas of precipitation. Today Montreal and the region will see some of that light snow, but it will not amount to more than a few centimetres. The main action will arrive overnight and Wednesday. At this time expect snow and blowing snow to develop by daybreak tomorrow and last all day. The snow will be steady in Montreal, but the heaviest snow will remain south of the city. The official forecast is for 10cm in Montreal with 10-15cm across eastern Ontario and 20cm plus across the border in New York. The snow will be accompanied by strong northeast winds in Montreal to 50km/h and biting cold with wind chill in the minus 20's. At this time I am awaiting the updated warnings but it looks like Winter Storm Warnings for southern Ontario, where Toronto could see 30cm and New England/New York, with a Winter Storm Watch for eastern Ontario including the National Capital Region and Cornwall. Southern Quebec at this time has no warnings, surprisingly not even a watch. Rest assured it will be a nasty travel day everywhere tomorrow. This is an intense low pressure area with snowfall rates of an inch an hour and even thunder and lightning with the snow not out of the question in the warned areas.

This storm is far reaching with a swath of heavy snow into Chicago and south of that an ice event that could last more than 12 hours with a half inch of ice. This would be disabling for central Indiana east into Pennsylvania. We will see major travel delays across the eastern half of the Continent today into Thursday. Already hundreds of flights have been cancelled ahead of the storm.

I will update this story as often as I can today.