Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Freezing Rain Warning...again

This will be my second attempt to write this entry as the first one was eaten by my dog, I mean a cyber gremlin. 

Environment Canada has posted a freezing rain warning once again for southern Quebec and eastern Ontario including the Ottawa Valley. Low pressure over northern Minnesota, will move across the Great Lakes and along the New York/Vermont/Quebec border on Wednesday. Stretching from the low into central New York State is a very slow moving, elongated warm front separating very warm air over southern New York and Ontario to the cold air here in the St. Lawrence Valley. The warm front will slowly lift towards the border and then stall out over the next 36 hours while the low pressure passes just south of Montreal. Snow mixed with freezing rain will affect both Montreal and Ottawa with a general 5-10cm of snow and perhaps 2 to 10mm of freezing rain starting this morning and lasting intermittently until late Wednesday. The greatest risk of freezing rain will be in the valley locations. Temperatures are chilly this morning in Montreal around –10C with a northeast wind, and will very slowly rise to around –2C by Wednesday. South of the front in places like Burlington, Plattsburgh and Toronto temperatures are already near 0C and will soar to around plus 7 or 8C by midday on Wednesday.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Another clipper on the way

From CTV.ca - snow and blowing snow Saturday night in the GTA.

There is so much ice in my neighbourhood this winter. On Friday we had about 7cm of snow followed by 13mm of rain, all that froze up overnight. I live on the shady side of the street so all the rain froze on my driveway as the temperature sat at the 1C mark most of the day. I was left with about 2 to 3 inches of ice, all the salt in the world is not helping, and so goes the winter of 2011-2012. As mentioned last week we have been plagued with system after system bringing warm air into Montreal. On the weekend we had another clipper system move from the Prairies across Ontario and just south of Montreal. The system was moisture starved with just a few flurries and showers for Montreal but around the Great Lakes numerous snow squalls made travel poor at times. Snow squalls developed across southwest Ontario including Toronto on Saturday and into western New York and the southwest St. Lawrence Valley on Sunday. One component of the low that did affect Montreal was the strong winds. Warnings were posted Saturday night for the city and winds gusted to 76km/h at Trudeau just after midnight, and 90km/h at St Hubert. Sunday was breezy but fair.

A new week begins with the same old forecast, another clipper. Today high pressure will dominate the region with sunny skies and seasonable highs around -6C. We are currently at -10C on L'Ile Perrot with a light west wind making it feel about -13C. Clouds will increase tonight as low pressure and associated warm front move towards Ontario and Quebec. Snow should start overnight in Ottawa and early tomorrow in Montreal and continue most of the day with about 5cm to perhaps as much as 10cm north of the city on Tuesday. The precipitation will mix with freezing rain and eventually rain late in the day as temperatures push to the freezing point and well above by Wednesday. Temperatures will be about -5C on Tuesday but as warm as plus 5C (41F) by Wednesday. The whole mess will freeze up again by Groundhog Day Thursday as temperatures tumble back below freezing. Get the salt ready!

Friday, January 27, 2012

Freezing Rain Warning

Top: Plowing the ice and snow off St. Charles in Kirkland this morning. ValleyWX
Radar from 7am this morning, a familiar scene this winter in Montreal with widespread freezing rain.

9am: the warning has now expired for Montreal as it is above freezing at 1C.

It what has become a typical event in Montreal, the snow has changed to freezing rain this morning. Not one storm this winter has been an all snow event for southern Quebec. Each system has either started as snow or ended as snow, but has thrown everything at us in between including thunder. This morning is no exception as deepening low pressure moves along the international border just south of Montreal towards Maine by this evening. A wide swath of precipitation is affecting the city with about 2 to as much as 5cm of snow overnight. The snow has since changed to a steady freezing rain with the mercury edging up to the freezing point. The freezing rain should change to rain shortly south of the St. Lawrence River but stay as frozen precipitation until at least noon north and west of Montreal and especially in the Ottawa Valley. Freezing rain warnings are posted region wide, with as much as 10mm of ice expected. They have forced cancellation of all school buses across eastern Ontario, essentially giving students a snow day. (My daughter will be happy!)

As the system moves to our east strong west to southwest winds will develop and gust to 70km/h. The rain will taper off to a few flurries by late in the day. Temperatures will edge up to plus 3C today before falling back to 0C tonight. Late on Saturday a clipper type system will affect southern and eastern Ontario into southern Quebec with another shot of light snow and gusty winds by late in the day. Temperatures will remain above normal for the weekend.

If your travels today take you south or west expect a mix of rain and freezing rain with conditions gradually improving this afternoon. However north and east of Montreal it will be a nasty day with snow and freezing rain and very strong winds causing blowing snow. Travel is not advised towards Quebec City and points north and east. Winter Storm Warnings are in effect for those regions with as much as 25cm forecast for Quebec City.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Winter Storm Warning

This will be brief for the moment with a more detailed update later today. A potent low pressure area is forecast to move out of the Mississippi Valley and across New England on Friday. A large area of precipitation will begin after midnight and last into late Friday across all of southern Quebec. At this time it looks like a snow to freezing rain event with the potential for up to 10cm of snow and 10mm of ice for Montreal and points south, over 15cm of snow north. For this reason weather warnings have been hoisted across the region including southern Quebec and New England. Eastern Ontario has only issued a special weather statement at this time. Snow, sleet and freezing rain will be steady at times and driven around by 40-70km/h winds. Travel will become difficult overnight and early Friday. I will post more later today.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Back to winter...for a day

I guess I need to come to terms with the fact that it is just going to be this kind of a winter. I have never been a fan of the up and down temperature trends, which creates lots of icy, crunchy snow, which is useless to everyone. The sidewalks and residential streets have been in a constant state of slippery since Christmas. Sadly this trend will continue, after yesterday's warm high of 5C at the airport, 6C at my home, the temperature sits at -4C this morning with a very cold northwest wind up to 45km/h. It was a brisk walk this morning with the dog after the spring warmth of Tuesday, wind chill readings are in the minus teens. What melted yesterday has, you guessed it, frozen this morning. Our high for the day has been reached already with temperatures falling to -7C by late afternoon and -13C overnight. Skies will try to clear as weak high pressure nudges in from the west. Skies will remain fair on Thursday before clouds increase ahead of our next storm system on Friday.

Above: Texas has been beyond parched over the past year, but it is finally raining this morning. The problem is too much all at once with flooding reported. This storm will bring us snow by Friday.

Low pressure currently giving flooding rain to parched Texas will lift into the Ohio Valley on Thursday and across New England on Friday. Depending on which computer model you like, the storm will either give snow or rain. Environment Canada has been flip flopping on the forecast for the last 36 hours or so. It is a difficult call as well with so much warm air moving north with the storm. It looks like perhaps a similar event to most storms this winter, a mix of snow and freezing rain to start changing over to rain by Friday here in the south. We will have to wait and see with later model runs as to the type and quantity of precipitation expected here in southern Quebec, but Friday looks unsettled.

Environment Canada has posted a special weather statement regarding this potential storm. You can read it HERE.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Still mild in Montreal

Deep low pressure remains north of the St. Lawrence Valley this morning with mild air in place in Montreal. We are well above normal at 3C this morning and L'Ile Perrot was as warm as 6C overnight (43F). Needless to say lots of melting is occurring, at least in the city. There remains plenty of icy spots around in residential areas and many parking lots. Ice was a problem also this morning north of Montreal across the Laurentians where may schools are closed for the day. The weather will slowly improve today with dropping temperatures to around 0C by days end and perhaps a few flurries or snow showers. Winds will be gusty out of the west, but no real cold air is on the horizon. It will drop to -6C tonight and remain there on Wednesday, but that is normal for late January. The next threat for precipitation will occur overnight Thursday and early Friday.

Above: Storm damage in Alabama on Monday (The Birmingham News)

Yesterday's storm had a nasty cold front that brought a rare January round of severe weather to the southern US. Alabama was particularly hard hit once again with over 200 homes destroyed, 100 injuries and 2 fatalities. Every county in the state is under a disaster declaration for storm damage. The storm that hit Clay, Alabama in the wee hours of the morning was an EF-3 according to the National Weather Service, very strong at any time - let alone at night in January.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Light freezing rain possible

Environment Canada has hoisted freezing rain warnings once again as low pressure and a warm front approach Quebec from the southwest US. The warnings are for up to 5mm of freezing rain but are for areas north of Montreal. The southwest portion of the province along with Montreal is excluded from the advisory but we will have to watch that carefully as the day progresses. The storm is forecast to pass well to our north and west leaving the city in the mild air. The problem will be the light northeast winds, as always, at the surface of the St. Lawrence Valley. This morning for example Montreal is -7C while Burlington, Vermont is -2C. The onset of precipitation should be this afternoon, so hopefully the surface temperatures will have warmed by then.

Regardless of the temperature, most parking lots and sidewalks are icy already so any liquid precipitation on top will only make it more slick. Once the warmer air moves in on gusty southwest winds to 60km/h this evening, the temperature will surge overnight to a mild plus 5C (41F). It will cool only slightly on Tuesday with the passage of a cold front down to the 0C mark. This cold font has lots of energy with it and is producing severe weather and even tornadoes across portions of the lower Mississippi Valley. It is not out of the realm of possibility that we could have a rumble or two of thunder this evening in eastern Ontario and southern Quebec as the front races through. High pressure will build into the region for Wednesday with seasonable highs just below freezing before another storm system brings a chance for light snow by late Thursday.

As mentioned severe weather is moving across the south. Portions of Alabama, Mississippi and Georgia have had severe thunderstorms and tornadoes overnight with damage and injuries reported. A tornado watch remains posted for a portion of the area early this morning. You can view some video of the overnight storms HERE.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Weekend Update

Above & Below: Numerous wild temperature fluctuations this month has slowed snow clearing in the region and created icy roads and sidewalks. (ValleyWX Pic)

Temperatures are falling this morning after the passage of a cold front in the wee hours overnight. We started the night around -3C and are currently at -10C. I don't expect the temperature to warm any today, and it may even fall. Winds are gusty as well producing wind chill values close to -20C in Montreal. That cold front had some nasty snow squalls with it yesterday producing treacherous driving conditions in eastern Ontario. There were numerous accidents with visibility rapidly below 1km at times. The snow accumulated around 5cm in most areas with as much as 15cm south of the border in western New York. However the front went across L' Ile Perrot dry. There were just a few flurries overnight. Such is the case with convective activity, like summer thunderstorms once the source of heat and moisture were taken away (Lake Ontario/daylight) the front fizzled out.

The weekend looks to be much the same way the entire winter has been, variable skies, temperatures, winds and a little snow for good measure. We start today in Montreal with dropping temperatures most of the day down to around -18C or so by midnight. Then it will warm slightly overnight as clouds increase and perhaps a little light snow. Low pressure will move out of the Ohio Valley and into southern New England. I think it will be too far south to give us any appreciable snow. That will be followed by another weak disturbance late Saturday and yest another for Monday. In between look for partly cloudy skies. Temperatures will be cold to start but warm to well above normal again early next week. We could be looking at another snow to rain event Monday with more freezing rain possible.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Quick burst of snow today

Strong winds, over 100km/h, swept Montreal yesterday cutting power ot over 30,000 homes in the metro region. (Radio-Canada)

It is another cold morning in Montreal with -21C here on L'Ile Perrot and -23C at St-Anne-de-Bellevue on the west island. The airport for some reason seems to be in a warmer bubble showing -15C. Arctic high pressure has at least brought us calm winds after yesterday's wind storm. Winds gusted as high as 107km/h in Montreal. Power was out to over 80,000 homes in the province but Hydro Quebec has since restored most of that by last evening with the exception of about 10,000 mostly in metro Montreal. People I spoke with yesterday told me how the wind was so strong it woke them up shaking their homes and moving frozen patio furniture off decks and into yards.

We have another quick moving windy system on the way over the next 12 hours or so, but it will be a very fast and rather weak storm. It will however bring a wind shift and perhaps a few snow showers to the area. Clouds will increase today with temperatures warming to -10C. Some snow shower activity and gusty winds to 50km/h will develop this evening. If you are travelling the 401 to Toronto late today and this evening there could be some brief bursts of heavy snow and blowing snow, especially from Brockville to Trenton.

Accumulations generally will be around 2 or 3cm, but as much as 8-15cm could fall along the northeast shore of Lake Ontario and as far northeast as Brockville along the St. Lawrence Valley. As a matter of fact a Winter Weather Advisory for snow and blowing snow is posted for Jefferson County, NY along Interstate 81, this includes Watertown, New York and the Thousand Islands region. Eastern Ontario and southern Quebec area will see a brief period of snow ending by midnight. Winds will shift back to the northwest overnight up to 40km/h and temperatures will tumble again into the minus teens and staying there on Friday. Windchill values once again will be close to -20C on Friday.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Wild weather ride

The numbers tell it all at Trudeau Airport, wild pressure fall and rise, strong winds and roller coaster temperatures.

What a night that was as strong low pressure passed very close to Montreal. The night started damp and chilly with freezing rain. That was followed by a wind shift to the west and an ever so brief wedge of warm air pushing into southern Quebec. The mercury went from minus 1C at 11pm to plus 4C at 1am (5C at my house) and then the tumble began. That brings us to a few hours later at 7am with a temperature of-10C ( -11C at my house) and wind chill reading in the minus 20's. Add to that fierce winds overnight that kept Montreal fire fighters very busy with downed tree limbs, exploding transformers and dislodged temp parking garages. Winds gusted to 100km/h at Trudeau Airport at 1am and 96km/h at 2am. I recorded a peak gust of 57km/h but I know that my anemometer is way too close to the house. As soon as the weather warms I will be moving it to a new location. The winds have cut power to close to 80,000 homes in Quebec, 12,000 on the Island of Montreal. Numerous schools north of the city are closed today.

Montreal had close to 12mm of precipitation yesterday which translated into about 10cm of snow and ice mixed together and a little rain to end the event. The wind warning has been allowed to expire for southern Quebec, but it will remain blustery and cold all day with a few flurries. Winds will continue in the 30 to 60km/h range most of the day.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

High Wind Warning

Deep low pressure near Kingston tonight is expected to pass near Kemptvile and just north of Montreal in the next few hours. The central pressure was 985mb with this storm and falling and I currently show 987mb here at my home on L'Ile Perrot. Freezing rain is currently falling here, but expect that to briefly change to rain before tapering off to flurries. We had between 5 and 10cm of snow in Montreal today, that combined with the rain is making for very icy roads. Numerous cancellations and delays have been reported at both Trudeau and Ottawa International Airports. As the low pressure passes by Montreal around midnight, strong winds will develop out of the west. A look at observations across southern and eastern Ontario is showing winds gusting to close to 70km/h in Toronto and Kingston and 80km/h along the shoreline of Lake Erie. High wind warnings are in effect for the entire St. Lawrence Valley with winds expected between 50 and 80km/h. They will diminish to 30 to 50km/h on Wednesday. Temperatures are currently at -1C and will briefly go above freezing before dropping down to -10C by morning. Needless to say that combined with the strong winds and the ice and snow will create dangerous driving overnight and early Wednesday.

Winter Storm Warning

We have another rather difficult forecast as deepening low pressure over the Great Lakes is forecast to move towards Ottawa and east across southern Quebec today and tonight. A warm front remains draped over the border region keeping warm air to our south and cold air at the surface in the St. Lawrence Valley. This is a very similar setup to last week. What this means weather wise is a whole mix of precipitation ranging from snow to sleet to freezing rain and just some old plain rain, especially south of Montreal toward the US border. The first batch of precip brought a trace of snow to Montreal overnight along with some patchy freezing rain. It was enough to slow the morning commute. The next batch will lift out of southern Ontario and across the region by afternoon. Winter storm warnings are in effect for all of eastern Ontario as well as southern and central Quebec. The mix will accumulate 10-15cm across the southern regions with 15-25cm further north. Ottawa can expect about 20cm with Montreal closer to 10cm. South of the St. Lawrence, rain and mixed precipitation will limit amounts to under 5cm, the same is true for the GTA where temperatures are already well above freezing at 4C, rain with warm highs near 8C is forecast today.

The other factor with this strengthening storm will be an increase in surface winds. Winds are forecast out of the northeast at 20 to 40km/h most of the day here in Montreal, keeping the valley cold enough for snow and freezing rain. They will back to the northwest tonight and increase to between 50 and 80km/h. Temperatures will slowly warm from where they are now at -8C, up to 0C and perhaps a degree or two above overnight and then drop during the day on Wednesday as colder air moves in behind the storm with some flurries as well.

Monday, January 16, 2012

More snow and freezing rain

Reality has settled in across most of Canada today as the cold continues in the east and returns to the west. It was a frigid 24 hours here in Montreal with the mercury bottoming out at -26C on Ile Perrot yesterday morning. As I write we just dropped to -24C. It is "warmer" downtown and at the airport at -18C. Winds are not a factor today as they were most of the day yesterday. They are however expected to pick up once again today as low pressure approaches from the US. Meanwhile it is just plain cold in Alberta and the prairies as a piece of that arctic air affecting Alaska begins to settle south. Edmonton is at -26C this morning, and that is it folks. The temperature will actually stay steady or fall today to lows around -31C. The entire week looks cold.

Here in southern Quebec and Ontario we are looking for an increase in southwest winds today ahead of a storm gathering strength in the US Midwest. This system will move down the St. Lawrence Valley and very near Montreal tomorrow. The best forecast at this time calls for snow to start overnight and accumulate 5 to 10cm in Montreal and Ottawa before changing to freezing rain and eventually rain south of the St. Lawrence on Tuesday. There is still some conflict between computer models on the exact track of the low, and that as we know will affect precipitation type and intensity. If I was a betting man, I would lean towards more snow than rain. In any event all precip will end as a period of snow overnight Tuesday, and it will turn blustery and much colder again. At this time we only have a special weather statement out from Environment Canada. It is likely that some type of warning will be issued for a portion of our region. I will update this as the information become available.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Storm Update

Just some of the 25cm of snow that fell in the last 24 hours here in west end Montreal. (ValleyWX Pic)

At 8pm temperatures have started falling across eastern Ontario and Quebec as low pressure passes directly to our south. The mercury has dropped to -8C in Ottawa and -4C in Montreal. Winter Storm Warnings remain in effect on the US side of the border from upstate New York into Vermont and on our side of the border in the Eastern Townships. Elsewhere they have been allowed to expire.

The storm had a central pressure of 980mb, and I recorded 981mb around 1pm this afternoon here on Ile Perrot. The intense system produced a wide variety of precipitation across the entire region and is still affecting us tonight. Snow has accumulated close to 25cm (10 inches) here in Montreal and it continues to fall. Winds have increased this evening to over 40km/h producing considerable blowing and drifting snow, especially off island. The snow should taper off overnight with totals coming ever so close to 30cm. In one storm we have nearly equalled the snowfall for the entire season. The storm also produced freezing rain with around 10mm of ice here in Montreal and much more to our southwest. The heavy freezing rain in the southern St. Lawrence Valley, combined with the heavy snow today, brought down tree limbs onto power lines. At one point today another 9000 Hydro customers in Brockville were plunged back into the dark. Over 20,000 homes and businesses in eastern Ontario were without power at one point yesterday. Numerous schools and buses were cancelled both days, and air travel was severely impacted today with a number of flight cancellations here at Trudeau Airport. Scores of accidents occurred in both provinces including a fatal collision in south shore Ste. Julie this morning. Roads will remain snow covered and visibility low tonight.

Winter Storm Warning

12:00pm: Strong low pressure continues to slowly move down the St. Lawrence Valley towards Quebec at noon. Both Environment Canada and the National Weather Service have issued Winter Storm Warnings for all of the St Lawrence Valley of eastern Ontario and northern New York. Heavy snow has developed in the area and is falling at the rate of 1 inch per hour. There has even been reports of thunder with the snow. I see no reason why this heavy snow will not move into southwest Quebec this afternoon. Look for steady snow and blowing snow all day with accumulations easily reaching 15cm or more. Temperatures will begin to drop as well on increasing northwest winds. Travel is and will continue to be very poor into the overnight hours.

Storm Update

10am: Freezing rain was falling in Montreal at 10am, but it remains cold at -5C. Even with the heat in my car during the morning commute, the ice was freezing on my windows. Freezing rain will change to snow and become heavy at times late this morning along with areas of blowing snow.

Another wild weather day

Freezing Rain Warning this morning for Montreal and southern Quebec.

More snow and freezing rain fell on Montreal overnight raising our storm total to around 16cm. Some bursts of snow overnight allowed visibility to drop and the snow to accumulate rather quickly. It remains cold in Montreal and the St. Lawrence Valley as compared to regions south of us. A warm front remains draped over the border keeping the warm air at the surface to our south, but allowing it to stream in aloft, thus the freezing rain. This morning Montreal is -6C while Burlington, Vermont and Plattsburgh are above freezing.

Today will feature a deep upper low moving across the region very close to Montreal. Freezing rain warnings have been posted again for southern Quebec, I really thought the weather warning covered it nicely, but they are the experts. In any event, warning or not that storm will pass to our northeast today and drag a potent cold front across the area. If you have any mixed precipitation in your region it will become all snow by noon and it could be heavy at times before tapering off late tonight. A total of 5cm in the Ottawa Valley with up to 15cm along the St. Lawrence River is likely by tonight. Winds will increase out of the northwest and gust to 60km/h creating widespread blowing snow later today and creating dangerous travel.

Temperatures at -5C currently will nudge close to 0C by mid-morning, before dropping rapidly to -15C overnight and staying there on Saturday.

Kingston, ON - Michael Lea The Whig-Standard
Yesterday's storm dumped as much as 15mm of freezing rain between Kingston and Prescott, Ontario and on the US side between Ogdensburg and Watertown, NY. The ice brought down tree branches on power lines, caused numerous accidents along the 401 and at one time cut power to almost 20,000 homes in Ontario. It was a brief reminder of the strength and danger of ice and the 1998 ice storm.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Storm 2 on the way

Snow clearing in Ottawa today (Ottawa Citizen)

Low pressure tonight near Cape Cod was responsible for the largest snowfall of the season here in Montreal. Snow started early this morning and has since tapered off to just a few flurries. Around 10 to 12cm of snow fell on Montreal along with gusty winds up to 50km/h. Roads were snow covered in the metro region and traffic moved very slowly. While a freezing rain warning was posted for Montreal, most of the icy precipitation remained southwest of the city along the southern St. Lawrence Valley. Ice accumulated up to 1/2 inch in places knocking down trees and some power lines from Brockville to Kingston. The ice caused havoc on the roads on both sides of the border with travel not advised for a period in Jefferson, Franklin and St. Lawrence Counties in New York. In Ontario numerous accidents forced the closure of the 401 east of Kingston at Joyceville Road.

At this time a winter weather advisory remains posted for southwest Quebec, northern New York and Vermont excluding the Champlain Valley for more snow, freezing rain and gusty winds starting overnight and lasting until late in the evening on Friday. The second storm, currently over Lake Huron, will slide across southern Quebec on Friday while deepening. Strong winds up to 60km/h from the northwest will cause blowing snow Friday across southern Quebec and usher in much colder air. The temperature will rise to 0C overnight and then fall to -11C by late Friday night. Another 10-15cm of snow is likely across portions of the region with 5-10cm in Montreal and Ottawa. More freezing rain is falling tonight in Ontario including Ottawa, as a result travel remains tricky.

Freezing Rain Warning

Environment Canada has extended freezing rain warnings into southern Quebec including Montreal. A wide band of moderate freezing rain has been affecting the Kingston to Cornwall area and is now moving into our region. The band has a history of rapidly depositing 10 to 15mm of ice. Ice storm warnings are also in effect for the US side of the St. Lawrence Valley. The official statement from the NWS in Burlington can be found HERE. Travel will be very slow in all regions this afternoon. Highway 401 has been closed in sections due to numerous accidents. Also some power outages have been reported in eastern Ontario.

Snow and freezing rain


The forecast seems on track this morning as twin low pressure areas one along the east coast of the US and the other over the Ohio Valley begin to influence our weather. Light snow is spreading north into Montreal at 7am with a mix of snow and freezing rain in the 401 corridor to Kingston and rain southwest of there. Heavier snow is showing on radar south of the border along I-87 between Albany and Plattsburgh and moving north. Snow will mix with sleet and could be steady at times in southern Quebec today with accumulations of 5-10cm. Winds will be gusty out of the northeast at 30 to 50km/h. Winds are already gusting up to 40km/h at Trudeau Airport. Precipitation will taper off this evening to light freezing drizzle as the first storm system lifts northeast into Atlantic Canada. A wedge of warmer air will push temperatures up to 0C overnight in Montreal but they will begin to fall rapidly on Friday to the coldest readings this winter by Sunday morning, around -20C.

Meanwhile the main low pressure center over the Great Lakes will moves east overnight and across southern Quebec and New England on Friday. It will bring strong winds and falling temperatures with a mix of rain and snow. When all is said and done between the two systems it looks like 15cm of snow will have fallen in Montreal and Ottawa along with some liquid precipitation in the form of freezing rain or rain across extreme southern Quebec. It will be clear and cold for the weekend into Monday before another storm brings us a chance of snow on Tuesday.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Storm update

Two storms are moving into our region with snow and freezing rain. NOAA Image

A series of low pressure areas will affect southern Quebec and Ontario beginning overnight and lasting through Friday evening. Snow will arrive in southern Quebec by the end of the morning commute and will last until late in the day. It will mix at times with sleet or freezing rain especially southwest of the city towards the Ontario border. Gusty northeast winds will keep temperatures rather chilly in Montreal and blow around any snow that falls. At this point it looks like a general 5-10cm (2-4 inch) snowfall for Montreal and points south and east with up to 15cm south of the border in Vermont. Southwest of Montreal across eastern Ontario freezing rain will mix in and dominate the precipitation type from about Prescott towards Kingston. A substantial amount of ice may accumulate in those regions. Temperatures will remain steady around -10C tonight in Montreal. Roads will become snow covered and icy on Thursday, and winds will reduce visibility at times. Currently no warnings are in effect for Montreal but freezing rain warnings have been posted for Ontario from east of the GTA to Leeds and Grenville County. South of the border a winter weather advisory is in effect for Vermont and New York.

That deals with low pressure one. A second more intense system will move from Ohio down the St. Lawrence Valley on Friday passing very close to Montreal. We are looking at a decent amount of precipitation likely requiring warnings. That system will usher in very cold air changing any mixed precipitation to snow in Ontario and Quebec along with strong winds and dropping temperatures.

First winter storm?

We have used today's headline more than once this winter, but it appears we may be heading for some true winter weather. As mentioned yesterday, up to this point in the season, the largest single snow event has been around 8cm for Montreal. We are looking at at least that into Thursday evening. We will start with sunny skies today and cold temperatures as arctic high pressure crests over the region. Ile Perrot is -14C this morning with a light northerly breeze making it feel more like -18C. Clouds will be on the increase late today as a complex area of low pressure approaches Ontario and Quebec from the south and west. By Friday morning we may be dealing with at least three separate area of low pressure. They will combine to bring us two separate precipitation events over a 48 hour period. Snow will overspread the area from south to north on Thursday with highest amount, up to 10cm along the US border, closer to 5cm by Thursday evening for Montreal. The snow will be accompanied by a brisk northeast breeze causing some blowing snow. A break in the action late Thursday before a second round of more significant snow affects the entire region on Friday. Amounts are a little hard to pinpoint at this time, but at least 10cm should fall in Quebec and eastern Ontario and perhaps more. At this time the only warnings in place are south of the border across New England and New York for a mix of snow and freezing rain Thursday. I expect warnings or advisories will be needed for a portion of Ontario and Quebec by later today or Thursday.

Basically in short look for snow covered roads beginning Thursday and lasting through Friday in all our regions along with gusty winds and blowing snow. Further south and west freezing rain will mix in, with just plain rain for Toronto. On Friday it will snow in all areas. Temperatures will drop Friday with likely the coldest night of the winter on Saturday night. Looking ahead more of the same type of weather is expected for week, just in case you thought winter was over, or never coming! This is very much a developing weather event with lots of uncertainty so watch for updates here and via twitter.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Record highs, 18 feet of snow

Roads were decent at the time but that did not stop this truck from sliding off I-94 in Monticello, Minnesota and into a creek. (KARE)

There is weather going on across North America, even if ours continues to be rather quiet for January. Yesterday heavy rain and thunderstorms produced flash flooding and isolated tornadoes across southeast Texas and western Louisiana. The storms produced a record rainfall of between 4 and 5 inches across the Houston metro area. meanwhile on the backside of the storm in  Midland, Texas, 7 inches of snow fell bring their seasonal total to over 19 inches, which by the way is more than Buffalo, New York and Montreal.

More impressive snows have been falling across southern coastal Alaska including the small fishing village of Cordova, where 18 feet has fallen since Christmas Day (SEE Image below and click on map). A state of emergency is now in effect and the National Guard has been mobilized to help clear the roads and remove snow from the roofs of buildings. The weight of the snow has already collapsed some buildings. While all this was taking place the mercury continued its impressive show across western Canada. Nearly 30 record highs were set yesterday across Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta including 7.8C at Edmonton International, 10.3C downtown Edmonton, 8.8C at Assiniboia, SK, the third record this month, and 13.2C at Maple Creek, SK. A cooling trend is on the way but still above normal.

In Montreal, a weak clipper system has given us some mixed rain and snow overnight and rather mild temperatures. I am showing 1C here on Ile Perrot at 7am and that will be our high today. Temperatures will slowly drop under clearing skies today with increasing northwest winds. It will be chilly tonight, especially in areas with snow cover with lows in the city down to -16C. Wednesday will be sunny with increasing clouds and northeast winds by late in the day. That will set the stage for a complex low pressure area with onc center over the Gulf Sates and the other approaching us from the Great Lakes. The two will send enough moisture into the St. Lawrence Valley to produce a period of steady snow on Thursday and Friday. The timing and quantity is still up in the air at this point, but it will be enough to shovel, and could exceed 10cm, which would make it the biggest snowfall this season. I will update the potential snow event late today.

Monday, January 09, 2012

Winter returns?

More ice than snow this winter in Montreal. Saturday crews salted and sanded all day. ValleyWX pic

Winter will slowly start to make a return across most of the country over the next two weeks. Those of you who have been experiencing record highs, such as Alberta, will begin to cool down as early as this week. Here in Montreal, it hasn't exactly been shorts and sandals weather, but it has been an easy winter so far. It looks like colder air and the likelihood a few more storms will greet us starting next week. In the near term a few weak weather systems will bring southern Quebec light snow and seasonable temperatures through Wednesday. The nights will be chilly with the days rather mild near the freezing point. On Thursday, a stronger low pressure will approach Quebec from the southern US and bring with it another surge of moisture and mild air. We may be looking at mixed precipitation for both Thursday and Friday. By the weekend temperatures will cool down noticeably and skies will clear out.

Just how warm has this winter been? Here in Montreal our December was one of the warmest on record with and average temperature of -2.6C. The normal is -6.3C. We have had only about 35cm of snow this winter, most of it falling in small amounts, the biggest storm being 8cm back on November 23. Yesterday to add to the hundreds of record highs established in the past week across the country, six more were broken in Alberta and one in Saskatchewan. The warmest, Whitecourt, Alberta, reached 10.8C breaking a record (9.4C) that had held since 1943.

Sunday, January 08, 2012

Pattern changes on the way

While it was mild in Ontario and New York yesterday, between 1 and 3mm of freezing rain occurred here in Quebec including my home in L'ile Perrot.

That was one stubborn cold air mass that would not yield to the warm front this weekend here in southern Quebec. While areas in Ontario and across the border in New York and Vermont reached well into the single digits above freezing, Montreal remained well below for most of Saturday only touching 0C just after midnight last night here on L'ile Perrot. Most of the day the city endured light freezing rain mixed with snow which iced sidewalks and roads and prompted warnings from Environment Canada. The warm front stalled just south of the St. Lawrence Valley having a difficult time scouring out the cold air at the surface. The warm front finally passed across the Island of Montreal late last night but the warm air was short lived as the cold front quickly raced across the valley. Meanwhile in southern Ontario temperatures warmed to between plus 6 and 8C.

We have a major pattern change in our future that will usher in colder air and the possibility of some decent snowfalls during the last two weeks of January. Up to this point, the winter has been rather tame with low snowfall totals (less than 35cm in Montreal) and frequent intrusions of warm air from the southern US. The true arctic air has been pinched off across northern Canada. Some of that cold air will finally filter into the eastern third of North America and combine with a more active storm track from the southwest US and along the eastern seaboard. We may see some active weather as early as this Thursday but until then temperatures will be rather mild with just a chance of some light snow or flurries late Monday. I will have more on the potential storm this week in tomorrow mornings entry.

Thursday, January 05, 2012

Record prairie warmth

As we sit at a cold -13C this evening on Ile Perrot some of the warmest weather ever for January is occurring across the northern plains from Minnesota into the Dakotas and north in the Prairie provinces. Here is a list of the record warmth today in Saskatchewan. I use to live in Gravelbourg, Saskatchewan, and the nearest official reporting station to my old home is Assiniboia which has now had consecutive record highs.

Assiniboia arpt         8.8      6.0      1990   
Broadview               7.7      4.5      1984 
Elbow cs                6.3      5.7      2001
Estevan arpt           10.1      5.6      1984
Leader arpt             9.3      7.5      1990
Rosetown east           6.3      4.4      1963
Saskatoon arpt          5.9      5.0      1906
Watrous east            7.1      5.0      1963
Weyburn                 9.7      5.5      1984
Wynyard                 6.5      4.4      2008
Yorkton arpt            5.0      4.5      1984

Alberta warmth

Calgary Herald photo of grass fires in southern Alberta yesterday.

While Montreal slowly warmed to -5C overnight it was another record warm 24 hours across western Canada. Over a dozen temperature records were broken across the three Prairie provinces yesterday including 16.4C at Maple Creek, SK smashing the old record of 11C set in 1984. Assiniboia SK was 8.3C (7.4 in 2008), Calgary 15.3C (12.2 in 1914) and Edmonton 11.7C (8.9 in 1947). Strong winds blasted the region all day gusting to 109km at Pincher Creek. The winds knocked out power, toppled trucks on area highways and fanned two big grass fires. One near Nanton, Alberta, 90km south of Calgary, required dozens of firefighters to control and destroyed several buildings. More warm weather is forecast today with only a slight cool down into the weekend.

The warm air is part of a rapid west to east zonal flow that has kept the threat of major storms down across most of North America. As a result of this weather pattern, Montreal has periodic light precipitation and frequent temperature fluctuations. Such was the case over the last 24 hours as the mercury rose from lows on Wednesday morning of -20C here in the city up to -4C overnight and finally leveling off at -7C this morning. Light snow, no more than 1 or 2cm fell overnight, just enough to make roads slick. A second cold front will generate a few snow flurries today followed by some clearing and steady temperatures around -5C. Another clipper system will affect the province on Friday with up to 5cm of snow and warming temperatures to near freezing. It will warm more on Saturday with temperatures above 0C and light snow or even rain.

The only region that reported any major stormy weather this week was Newfoundland where a coastal low dumped up to 40cm of snow on the province with winds gusting over 100km per hour and a peak Wreckhouse wind of 135km per hour on Wednesday.

Wednesday, January 04, 2012

Light snow - milder

It is another very cold start to the day across southern Quebec and eastern Ontario with temperatures down near -20C and a light breeze making it feel even colder. Actual temperatures overnight bottomed out at -20C here on Ile Perrot, -24C in Ottawa and -25C in St Jovite. The day will start sunny as arctic high pressure crests over the region. Clouds will be on the increase after noon as an advancing very weak cold front will cross the region tonight with a chance of some light snow. This will not be a storm with very limited moisture expect 2cm in the city with perhaps 5cm in the hills north of Montreal (1 - 2 inches). It will warm up today to -7C and continue to warm overnight to around -4C. Thursday and early Friday we will be between systems with a mix of clouds and sun before the next low pressure area, a clipper from out west passes near Montreal on Saturday. This system will have a little more moisture with it so look for a general 5cm (2 inches) snowfall across southern Quebec and temperatures warming to near 0C. No big storms are on the horizon through at least mid month.

It has been warm in western Canada. A few of record highs were broken on Monday across Saskatchewan including 6C at Assiniboia. Yesterday Alberta got into the act with record highs set in Medicine Hat at 11C. Calgary was warm as well with a high near 10C and overnight lows above freezing. Today the city is forecasting 13C with not a drop of snow around. More warm weather is expected into the weekend and early next week.

Tuesday, January 03, 2012

Cold but dry day

Arctic air and snow created icy roads and numerous accidents across the Great Lakes and Appalachians on Monday.

A surge of arctic air is reaching across southern Canada this morning and all the way down to the Gulf States. Along the leading edge of the system snow squalls broke out across the region yesterday with heavy snow reported in many locals in Quebec and Ontario as well as Vermont/NY. Thankfully the snow spared Montreal and the usual traffic nightmare that results. In any event we are cold this morning, with -14C here on Ile Perrot and a brisk northwest wind making it feel like -19C. As the cold air deepens, the mercury will not budge today under mostly sunny skies. Lows tonight will be a very cold -20C. Then we are in for a period of unsettled, but fairly mundane weather. Several weak frontal systems will bounce the temperature from above to below normal into the weekend along with a chance for very light amounts of snow. At the most we may see an inch or two combined from the frontal boundaries, with very little storm activity on the weather map.

The cold air sweeping across the Great Lakes produced intense snow squalls yesterday in southwestern Ontario. The heaviest bands off Georgian Bay affected London, Ontario with 30cm of snow as of early this morning. More snow, perhaps another 15cm could fall today. The heavy snow is also affecting western New York, northern Pennsylvania and Ohio as well as portions of Michigan and Indiana. Light snow and freezing rain iced highways across the Appalachians, and frost and freeze warnings are in effect for most of northern and central Florida this morning. As of 7am it was -1C (30F) in Jacksonville, 4C (41F) in Melbourne, 2C (36F) at Daytona Beach and the warm spot Miami at 12C (54F).

Monday, January 02, 2012

Lake effect snow machine

After a very mild start to 2012 across the eastern third of North America, the coldest air of the winter so far is on our doorstep. Happy New Year everyone, we started the year with a very mild high of plus 6C (43F) in Montreal with some light rain yesterday. The winds have picked up in the region this morning after the passage a cold front overnight and are gusting out of the southwest to 50km/h. It remains above freezing this morning with a current reading here on Ile Perrot of 2C (36F).

Strong low pressure moving across central Quebec is trailing a second front across eastern Ontario sweeping into the northern US. This front has very cold air and strong northwest winds associated with it. We are currently at our high for the day, with temperatures dropping all day long. The arctic front should approach the city around midday with a brief burst of heavy snow and very windy weather. Roads will likely ice up quickly so be prepared. The temperature will tumble throughout the day and night and settle in around -15C on Tuesday. Strong northwest winds up to 60km/h will drop windchill values into the -20's.


Those same winds will be blowing across the Great Lakes creating the perfect conditions for lake effect snow. It is already snowing around Lake Huron and Georgian Bay this morning as well as western New York near Buffalo and Watertown. The heavy lake effect snow will intensify today with widespread blowing snow and near blizzard conditions along portions of Interstate 81 from the Canadian border to Syracuse as well as Interstate 90 southwest of Buffalo. Warnings are in place and travel is not advised in those regions. Total snow amounts in the warned areas could be in the 10 to 20 inch (25-50cm) range. Elsewhere outside of the snow belts a general 1 to 2 inches (3-5cm) is expected. Across the Tug Hill south of Watertown over 2 feet is quite possible. Thunder and lightning will accompany the most intense squalls.

Yesterday, strong winds along the Lake Erie and Ontario shoreline produced flooding as well as power failures. Peak wind gusts across western New York and southwest Ontario were over 100km/h (60mph).