Monday, May 30, 2011

Warmer & dry

Memorial Day 2011, I took both photos on the Chesapeake Bay Bridge last week.

After what seems like weeks of rain, a better weather picture is unfolding in Quebec, Ontario and New England. Some of the warm air I have been enjoying here in North Carolina is finally moving north. The rain of late has pushed Lake Champlain up to nearly 103 feet with major flooding occurring. Numerous roads remain closed with homes and businesses flooded on both sides of the border. The Richelieu River is rising again as well, as tired residents continue the 6 week long battle to save their property. The good news is high pressure will begin to establish itself over the region with warmer air being drawn north. Skies will clear out early this week and sunshine will prevail for the balance of the week and into next weekend. Temperatures will warm into the upper 20's. In between Montreal and Cape Hatteras where I am, warm and humid air is spreading north. heat advisories are being posted for many middle Atlantic areas, as the first heatwave of the season spreads north.

If you are enjoying your freedom on this Memorial Day, you can thank one of our many service personnel on both sides of the border. As I said to several US Coast Guard employees at the open house at Oregon Inlet on Saturday, thank you so much for what you do.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Strong storms

Environment Canada has posted a severe thunderstorm watch for most of the day across southern Quebec south and east of Montreal. This area will be the focus for strong storms that could produce up to 50mm (2 inches) of rain in a very short period of time. This could result in flash flooding as well as a continued threat of prolonged flooding in the Richelieu River Valley and Lake Champlain basin.

Meanwhile the sun is shinning here on the Outer Banks today and it is 83F at 10am. Some storms are developing over the sound to our west in the warm and humid air. Yesterday one of my favorite beaches, Cape Hatteras light in Buxton was named the Top 5 beach in the US by Dr Beach. You can read all about it HERE. Ironically right about the time they were releasing the top 10 list yesterday, I was enjoying the surf at that location and taking pictures of the famed lighthouse shown above

Friday, May 27, 2011

Wild weather

Heavy rain is adding to the flooding southeast of Montreal in the Richelieu Valley. The record flooding has been ongoing for the last 6 weeks. (Montreal Gazette photo)

While sunshine and warmth continue here on the Outer Banks of North Carolina, wild weather has been occurring across a large area of North America. Severe thunderstorms produced more heavy rain and flooding in Vermont, New York, Quebec and Ontario today. Many regions have had 50 to 100 mm (2-4 inches) of rain and more is likely on Saturday. A frontal boundary along the US border remains the focus for heavy thunderstorms with warm and humid air south of the front and a cold northeast breeze and light rain north of the front in the St. Lawrence Valley. The front will lift north tomorrow with the risk of thunderstorms moving back into the Montreal area. More heavy rain is likely. For a comparison it was 30C and sunny here today on Hatteras Island, while Montreal was 12C with rain.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Vermont tornado

From, an apartment building has its roof torn off by a tornado today in Washington, Vermont.

Tornado watches and warnings are in effect tonight in portions of the region including Vermont and New York. Also thunderstorms continue to develop in Ontario and Quebec along a warm front with some becoming locally severe. The National Weather Service has confirmed that a tornado with 100 mph winds touched down in Washington, Vermont. The storm tore the roof off an apartment building. Storms will continue to flare up this evening. Other severe weather is also occurring in Pennsylvania and New York. Heavy rain has continued flooding in New York and southern Quebec. The storms produced 60-75mm of rain in the Windsor/Detroit region yesterday, but thankfully most of the heavy rain stayed south of Montreal and the Richelieu River flood zone.

Nothing much to report here on Hatteras Island, North Carolina, other than warm and humid weather with a high of 30c (86F) today.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Heavy Rain Warning

The damage across Joplin and other portions of the plains and Midwest is complete. The death toll this season is the worst since 1974. The Red Cross needs our help, use the link on the upper right corner. (CNN)

Low pressure is approaching southern Quebec from the Midwest tonight. It is the same system that has been devastating big portions of the US Midwest and southern plains. Since the weekend tornadoes have killed over 135 and injured thousands from Oklahoma and Arkansas into Missouri and north towards Minnesota.

This system will push a warm front over the region tomorrow with heavy rain expected across southern Quebec. As much as 50mm (2 inches) is forecast. Naturally the runoff will only add to the severe, record breaking flooding that is occurring on Lake Champlain and the Richelieu River. There is a light at the end of the forecast, much warmer and dry weather is expected by next week. This may be the last in a series of systems that has dropped hundreds of millimetres of rain on New England and Quebec over the last 6 to 8 weeks.

Smoke and haze across the Roanoke Sound in Nags Head, North Carolina. (ValleyWeather)

North Carolina: The weather here on the Outer Banks has been hot. Near record breaking temperatures in the mid 80's have been accompanied by high humidity and some smoke and haze from grass fires burning in the northeast portion of the state. Thunderstorms late yesterday crossed southeast Virginia and the tidewater area with high winds and heavy rain knocking out power and nearly sending a truck into the Chesapeake Bay of the bridge I just crossed Sunday. A storm passed near the Cape Hatteras lighthouse just south of us early this morning, but all we had thankfully was thunder and lightning.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Joplin tornado

Joplin's St John's Regional Medical Center is all but destroyed.

It is really hard for me to get my thoughts around the severe weather this spring across the US. So far nearly 500 tornado fatalities have occurred in 2011 surpassing that of the last 5 years combined along with billions of dollars in damage. The latest outbreak is currently ongoing as a severe weather sweeps across the Midwest and portions of the middle Atlantic and even into southern Ontario. The hardest hit region yesterday was southwest Missouri including devastated Joplin. The death toll is at 116 after and EF-4 twister swept through the city of 50,000. The damage is complete including a hospital, several churches, schools and thousands of homes. More thunderstorms are occurring today hampering rescue and recovery efforts. A few of the storms have drifted into southern Ontario and some may rumble through Montreal with heavy rain and gusty winds overnight.

North Carolina
Here in North Carolina we had a record high yesterday of 83F surpassing the previous 82F set in 1995. It was in the mid 80's today and quite humid, with thunderstorms flaring up in the Piedmont and moving into the coastal area just west of my location here on Hatteras Island. Winds are blowing quite strong off the Atlantic, gusting in the 15-25 mph range. Heavy thunderstorms are producing strong winds and rain in northeast North Carolina and southern Virginia, and they may drift over the Outer Banks overnight. If they do I will have the camera ready. There are even tornado warnings here in North Carolina, northwest of my location.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Montreal to Maryland

Crossing the Delaware Memorial Bridge over the Delaware River under streaming fair weather clouds.(ValleyWX Pic)

Greetings from the Eastern Shore of Maryland on the Delmarva. Heading south for a few days to see some different weather. Today was a decent day up and down the east coast as the rain and storms of Friday finally tapered to a few morning showers and fog earlier today. There was even some thunder in Montreal as I was leaving at 4:30 am. By the time I hit New Jersey the sun was out and by Delaware it was in the low 80's. The week looks good here in the middle Atlantic and southeast.

Montreal was sunny today but it looks like rain and wind will return for Sunday and holiday Monday. Strong south winds, showers and thunderstorms will only add to the flooding along Lake Champlain and the Richelieu River starting tomorrow and well into this upcoming week.

More tomorrow from Virginia and perhaps North Carolina!

Friday, May 20, 2011

A brief break

Some sunshine, warmer and more humid weather slipped into southern Quebec and eastern Ontario yesterday with temperatures hitting 24C. There was plenty of instability and thunderstorms around, but not in the Montreal area. Today we have a better chance of thunder and showers as a front sweeps across southern Quebec late in the day. Fog this morning will make way to sunshine and a warm high of 24C once again. Week old low pressure continues to spin over New York state this morning producing a mild and moist southeast flow of air. The threat for showers will diminish after midnight tonight with sunny skies returning finally on Saturday.

Sunday however the mild southeast flow returns in response to sprawling low pressure in the Midwest. Look for clouds and the threat for showers and thunderstorms on Victoria Day Monday and well into next week.

I am taking the blog on the road for a few days so look for special updates beginning tomorrow night.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Unsettled Weather

That stubborn upper level low (above) continues to meander around the eastern seaboard today. The center has move just a few hundred miles from off the Carolina coast to near Parkerburg, West Virginia this morning. The system is sending waves of showers and thunderstorms across New England this morning and towards southern Quebec. The good news out of all this is the winds are now out of the southeast so the air is much milder. Montreal is at 15C this morning and should reach about 20C today. Friday looks unsettled as well before a splendid Saturday, sunny and warm. More showers are on the way for the second half of the weekend as our wet and cool spring moves on.

The rain of this spring up and down the east coast has taken a toll on the MLB schedule with over 30 games cancelled so far, including Tuesday nights game in Boston (below).

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Slave Lake Fires

While we have been talking about all the rain here in the east, northern Alberta has been tinder dry. A terrible brush fire swept into Slave Lake last weekend. The fires were driven by warm weather and 60km/h winds. The region of Slave Lake has had less than 20mm of precipitation since April 1 and only around 80mm all year. Help has been pouring in from all over the country including here from Quebec. We have sent several helicopters and personnel to help battle the fires. Alberta has announced a financial aid package to help the more than 7000 people forced to evacuate. If you can help please click on the Red Cross logo on the right hand side of the blog.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Relief on the horizon

Flood waters are rising again along the Richelieu River south of Montreal. (Dario Ayala - The Gazette)

It was as miserable, windy and cold a Monday in May as you can have yesterday. The temperature did not move much from an overnight low of 6C to a daytime high of 7C here in Montreal. Winds were steady all day in the 40 to 50km/h range making it feel raw and cold. Oh and the rain, nearly 75mm has fallen across southern Quebec since Saturday with about 57mm in Montreal. The rain has increased flows on rivers and streams across the border regions with New York and Vermont. The Richelieu River is expected to rise between 15-25cm over the next day or so in response to runoff. More flooding is forecast for the rest of this week. The same holds true south of the border along the shores of Lake Champlain.

The cause of this weather is slow moving low pressure trapped in all levels of the atmosphere moving along the east coast. The moisture continues to feed into the region with more wind, drizzle and cold weather expected today. Some relief is in site by the upcoming Victoria Day long weekend with sunshine and warmer weather by Saturday with just the risk of an isolated shower.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Time for the Ark?

The radar image from AcuWeather says it all. A defined boundary is stationary and producing rain over the area. Meanwhile in the bottom right of the image low pressure is moving north with more heavy rain and thunderstorms.

I am not saying we should be building the ark just yet but perhaps drawing up the plans. A stubborn frontal boundary draped just south of the international border continues to be the focus of heavy rain across the St. Lawrence Valley and south into the Townships and northern New York and Vermont. In the last 24 hours between 25-50mm of rain has fallen (1-2 inches) with at least that much on the way. It is not out of the realm of possibility that we could see 100mm by weeks end, perhaps more if we get thunderstorms on Thursday. Another big low developing off the Carolina coast will move north and enhance the moisture over the region. Heavy rain warnings remain in effect today for the region. It is cold as well for mid May with strong northeast winds sending chilly air down the valley. Montreal is only 7C and tomorrow we will do no better than 5C. The normal high for today is 20C.

The rain is not good news for the already swollen Lake Champlain and Richelieu River. Until yesterday levels were slowly receding but that has stopped this morning and they are back on the rise. Lake Champlain at Rouses Point, NY on the Canada/US border is 101.8 feet and expected to rise again to 102.2 feet by Tuesday. There no relief in the rain and showers before Friday.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

More rain & flooding

A stubborn slow moving area of low pressure will slowly lift along the jet stream from the Ohio Valley towards Lake Ontario. This system will meander along a stationary frontal boundary and basically remain over our area all week. The forecast is simple, what you see outside is what you get. Periods of rain have developed and will remain with us right into the middle of the work week. There will be bands of heavier rainfall as moisture surges into the area and even a stray thunderstorm or two today. Already about 15mm of rain has fallen overnight. We are expecting totals by Wednesday to be in the 50-75mm range. This is raising concerns once again across the Lake Champlain and Richelieu River basins. Flooding is still occurring and all this water will act to stabilize the lowering flood waters or even increase flows again into the lake. Flood Watches are in effect region wide this morning across southern Quebec and into New York and Vermont. Heavy rain fall warnings have also been posted for southern Quebec west into the St. Lawrence Valley of eastern Ontario.

Temperatures were very warm yesterday under hazy sunshine, reaching 25C in Montreal, one of the warmest days this year. Today is a very different story as we are currently only 11C. Temperatures will stay chilly into the middle of next week. As strong northeast winds develop Monday, from 30-50km/h, we may even drop into the single digits for highs, perhaps 5 to 8C a full 10-15 degrees below normal. It will only clear out and slowly warm up by next Friday.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

More rain on the way

Flooding in southern Manitoba.

The good news is we can expect sunshine today and a part of Friday. Temperatures will warm to 20C across the region. The bad news is another heavy rain event is on the way. A very complex weather pattern will set up from this weekend well into next week. A "backdoor" cold front will move southeast from Atlantic Canada on Friday, pin wheeling around low pressure over the Atlantic. A round of showers and thunderstorms is possible late Friday into Saturday before a slight break in the weather. Beginning Sunday and lasting well into next week several areas of low pressure will pump large amounts of moisture into New England and southern Quebec from the Atlantic. Look for rain to develop Sunday and continue perhaps into next Wednesday. While it is too early to tell amounts, it is certain;y likely that we will see 25mm (1 inch) and perhaps as much as 75mm. This is not good news for the flood ravaged Richelieu Valley and Lake Champlain basin. Interests on both sides of the border should closely monitor the forecast.

Meanwhile flooding continues in southern Manitoba along the Assiniboine River as well as severe flooding south of the border along the Mississippi River. Flooding is occurring from Memphis south with the record crest expected to arrive in New Orleans sometime in the next week to 10 days.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Lake Champlain dropping

( Emily McManamy - Burlington Free Press)

The record flood of 2011 is beginning to ease across southern Quebec and northern New York and Vermont. After reaching a record flood of 103.27 feet at Burlington, Vermont over the weekend, the lake is expected to begin dropping by more than and inch a day. The flooding along the Richelieu in southern Quebec as already begun to slowly fall. Damage is quite extensive in the region with thousands of homes flooded and roads washed out. The army remains in place on both sides of the border helping residents sandbag and clean up debris.

The weather is finally cooperating with sunshine and dry weather. Winds are a little gusty out of the northeast keeping temperatures chilly and driving some of the water onto east facing shorelines. The wind is being generated by a large coastal low that is moving towards Nova Scotia. The system is sending chilly winds down the St. Lawrence Valley with rain affecting eastern Quebec and clouds moving west towards our eastern regions. High pressure should keep the sunshine in place and gradually warm temperatures through the balance of the week. High temperatures will be in the upper teens today but the wind will make it feel a little colder. The same holds true for Wednesday. Overnight lows will be chilly down in the low single digits.

Friday, May 06, 2011

Weekend Update

The rain has finally stopped in southern Quebec after a week long event. Most regions received between 40 and 100mm of rain. The runoff, combined with snow melt has produced a record flood on Lake Champlain with readings at 103.2 feet and expected to rise by another 2 to 4 inches before a slow decline begins and the flood eases. The good news is that except for a shower or two in the next 24 hours, we should start a period of warm and dry weather right into next week. This will allow home owners and soldiers the opportunity to begin the clean up across the region. The hard hit Richelieu Valley south of Montreal has seen some of the worst flooding ever. Thousands of homes have been inundated with numerous evacuations. Several roads are closed. The same holds true south of the border in New York and Vermont along the shores of Lake Champlain. The lake is in uncharted territory, never being this high dating back to the 1800's. Lakefront property, roads and docks are submerged.

Major flooding is also occurring across the Midwest with the Mississippi and all of its tributaries in major flood stage.

The weekend will be partly cloudy with a slight risk of a shower late Saturday, and temperatures moderating into the teens finally.
Happy Mother's Day!

Lake Champlain flood information HERE.
Quebec flood information HERE.

Thursday, May 05, 2011

Armed Forces help flood victims

(Photo: QMI Agency)

Heavy rain, between 40-70mm has fallen in southern Quebec in the last couple of days pushing the already swollen Richelieu River further over its banks. Major flooding is occurring south of the city and along the Lake Champlain shore. The Quebec Government has called in the Canadian Armed Forced to help pump basements, set up sandbags and evacuate residents. So far 2800 homes along the Richelieu have been evacuated. Since April 1, over 150mm of rain has fallen on southern Quebec. In Burlington a heavy and rapid snow melt along with 9 inches of rain since April 1 has pushed Lake Champlain to a record flood. The lake continues to rise and is now at 103 feet. The record flood has moved north into Quebec. More rain is forecast today through Friday.

Wednesday, May 04, 2011

Rain & cold

Stubborn low pressure over northern New York this morning continues to provide damp, rainy weather across the St. Lawrence Valley and into eastern Ontario. Major flooding continues on Lake Champlain and in the Richelieu Valley with more than 2000 homes and businesses flooded. Numerous roads are closed in Vermont and New York. Some evacuations have been ordered. The flooding is the worst the region has seen in decades. Yesterday nearly 25mm of rain fell on the area with closer to 40mm southwest of Montreal. The heavy rain prompted flood warnings on both sides of the International border. Hardest hit areas included the Richelieu around St. Jean as well as northern Clinton, Franklin and St. Lawrence Counties in New York. The news is not good as far as the forecast goes. The frontal boundary to our south will continue to be the focus of rainfall right into Friday with another 25mm expected, bringing weekly totals between 50-75mm (2-3 inches). Temperatures will be cold as well staying in the single digits today around 8C and even colder Thursday around 5C. There is even a risk of wet snow across the higher elevations around the region. Skies will not begin to clear much before Saturday.

Tuesday, May 03, 2011

Heavy rain...again

Another heavy rain warning is in effect for southern Quebec. Low pressure over the mid Mississippi Valley is moving along a stationary front draped just to the south of Montreal, bringing with it abundant moisture. Rain has been falling since noon and it should fall for the next 24 hours. Some of the rain will be quite heavy, especially overnight. Forecast amounts are expected in the 25 to 75mm (1-3 inch) range when all is said and done. Sadly the heaviest rain will fall south of the St. Lawrence Valley and into northern New York and Vermont. The last thing this area needs is more rain. Lake Champlain is already at a record 102.9 feet with severe flooding and this rain will only increase the risk. Flood warnings and advisories remain posted for Lake Champlain and the Richelieu Valley as well as all northern New York and Vermont counties.

Monday, May 02, 2011

Prairie snowstorm

Southern Manitoba yesterday. CTV News

While Quebec and Ontario were enjoying a sunny and warm weekend, strong low pressure was lifting across the northern plains and into Manitoba. The storm borough strong cold northerly winds over 80km/h and heavy snow to western Manitoba and extreme eastern Saskatchewan. The result was a spring blizzard that closed highways and led to hundreds of accidents claiming 5 lives. Over 20cm of snow blanketed the Trans Canada corridor west of Winnipeg towards eastern Saskatchewan. Police were forced to close the highway for several hours.

Today is election day here in Canada. The weather from coast to coast looks decent with the exception of the southern Prairies where cool winds and snow covered roads may slow travel. The other rough area is the far north in Quebec where blizzard warnings are in effect. Otherwise it is a pretty seasonable day across the country. In Montreal some light showers are forecast, but it will be mild at 18C. Look for low pressure in the southern US to lift towards New England mid week and bring us more heavy rain by late Tuesday. Some regions may see 25-50mm of rainfall which will only add to the severe flooding across Lake Champlain and the Richelieu Valley. Flood warnings remain posted in those areas.

It is a good day to be living in North America - get out and vote today!

Sunday, May 01, 2011

Record Lake Champlain flooding

Lake Champlain is approaching 103 feet, a record flood for the "5th Great Lake" The flood waters have spilled over the shoreline and inundated homes and business along both sides of the lake in Vermont and New York as well as northward along the Richelieu River into southern Quebec. Numerous communities including Plattsburgh, Burlington and St Jean are under states of emergency. A flood warning remains posted for the lake - with a brief break today under sunny skies and light winds, but it remains in serious flood stage. The flood waters are not expected to recede significantly anytime soon with a heavy snow pack still in the mountains and fast flowing streams and rivers moving large quantities of water into the lake. To compound the situation, heavy rain and thunderstorms have been occurring on a regular basis for the last two weeks with nearly 100mm in some locations. More rain is forecast this week.
St Albans Bay, Vermont (WCAX News) Top photo is from CTV News

Several roads are closed around the shoreline of the lake as well as ferry service being interrupted on the Essex to Charlotte Vermont route. So far the efforts of department of transportation workers to keep the Burlington-Port Kent route as well as the Grand Isle-Plattsburgh route open have been successful. This is being monitored on a day to day basis.