Thursday, March 29, 2012

Typical late March weather

It may seem cold to many, but this is pretty much what late March in Montreal should look and feel like. If anything we are still well ahead of the curve. I can remember may years where piles of melting snow was still all around us. We have also had many notable April snowstorms. It will be a cloudy and damp day again today with some scattered flurries or showers. Skies will slowly clear out tonight as high pressure moves into Ontario and Quebec with a mainly dry and cool start to the weekend. The exception will be south of a line from Kingston through the GTA and into southwest Ontario where low pressure south of the Great Lakes may bring some snow and rain Friday afternoon. If your travels take you that way keep this in mind as enough snow may fall around Hamilton to London to cover the roads. Yesterday snow fell northeast of Montreal in Quebec City and southeast into the Beauce region. As much as 10cm of snow fell in places from southern Quebec into northern Maine and New Hampshire.

In the temperature department we were normal yesterday at around 5C, and that pretty much is what we will see today and Friday. The weekend will be a little milder pushing 10C.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Damp & Chilly

This is why we should not get too excited about 25C in March! A dusting of snow on L'Ile Perrot this morning. (ValleyWX Pic)
 The temperature in Montreal and here on L'Ile Perrot this morning is right at the freezing point. An area of low pressure will move from Lake Superior southeast to northern New York today. It is a rather weak system and moving into some very dry air, but that has not stopped some light snow and rain from occurring in the region this morning. Montreal had a coating of snow overnight, enough to cover the cars, roofs and grassy areas. This is quite a shock to the system after the summer weather of last week. Another area of moisture on radar is moving into Ottawa and Eastern Ontario at this hour and falling in the form of freezing rain. Environment Canada had issued a freezing rain warning for Ottawa and southern and western Quebec including metro Montreal this morning, but it has since expired. As much as 5mm of freezing rain fell locally this morning before temperatures warmed to above freezing. Look for a rather cloudy 24 hours with some showers or flurries and chilly. Another 1-3cm of snow is quite possible overnight tonight especially in the higher elevations of the Townships and Vermont. Skies will clear by Friday with a slow warming trend into the weekend.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012


Don't panic but snow is on the menu for tonight in southern Quebec and eastern Ontario. We had a very cold start to the day with temperatures down to -8C at the airport early this morning, a far cry from the low teens last week at this time. Highs today under bright sunshine should warm nicely to 3 or 4C before falling back to -3C by midnight. A low pressure area is forecast to cross the Great Lakes and then move along the US border on Wednesday. Light precipitation is expected with this track with some light snow starting overnight and mixing with freezing rain and rain by mid morning Wednesday. We are not looking at much in the way of accumulations, but perhaps a dusting to 2cm locally in Montreal and Ottawa. That will be enough to cover the grassy areas and perhaps make the roads a little slick. Remember folks it is still March. A mild and dry weekend is forecast at this time as high pressure move over the area with normal temperatures.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Much colder

Reality has settled back into southern Quebec and Ontario this morning with temperatures in the -2C to -4C range and really not going anywhere today. Gusty northerly winds overnight along with a strong cold front are responsible for the colder air with temperatures over 25 degrees colder than last Monday. Despite the blustery chill today, it will be sunny and dry. The week looks rather mundane with just a few flurries or showers mid week as a weak system skirts along the US border. Otherwise it will be cold to start and gradually warming up by the weekend. The big news today will be the cold with temperatures dropping to -9C in the city tonight and even colder off island. Quite a shock to the system after the record highs of last week.

Winter is taking back March over most of the country with heavy snow and strong winds forecast across southern Saskatchewan late tonight and Tuesday, spreading east into Manitoba. Meanwhile a strong low pressure area is forecast to develop east of Cape Cod and move north towards Atlantic Canada. Heavy snow and strong winds are forecast in New Brunswick, the Gaspe region and portions of Nova Scotia by Tuesday. I will post more on these storms later today including warnings and watches.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Weekend Update

Well it looks like our streak of record warm days will come to an end at 5 here in Montreal. We have an outside shot at today's record high which was 18.6C set in 1979, but it is a long shot with a forecast high at 16C. A weak cold front slipped south of the region late yesterday accompanied by a few light showers and a rumble or two of thunder. Today will be sunny, breezy and dry with temperatures about 10 degrees colder than Thursday, but still 10 above normal. On Thursday Montreal reached 23.9C beating the old record of 15C set in 1946. Hundreds of other records fell all over the area as a matter of fact we had record high temperatures from Saskatchewan clear across the the Atlantic Coast. Locally Kemptville reached 24.5C (16.7 - 1953), and Ottawa 24.9C (15.6 - 1953).

The weekend looks unsettled and much cooler as low pressure moves from the Dakotas into the Great Lakes and eventually south of Montreal. There is not much moisture with the system but it will bring cloud cover as well as cooler temperatures and a few showers on Sunday. Temperatures will be 16C today, but only 9C on Saturday and even cooler Sunday around 5C. While temperatures are much colder, this is seasonable for March. Next week it looks like things will warm again to above normal, but not the hot weather of this past week.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Warmest March day on record

Global Warming? Just another March day in Ontario and Quebec.
After reviewing the data from Wednesday, Environment Canada has listed the official high at Trudeau Airport in Montreal at 25.8C or about 78F. This makes it the warmest Montreal March day since record keeping began back in the early 1900's and edges a 67 year old record of 25.6C set in 1945. I would say this spell of warm weather now qualifies as historic. The icing on the spring/summer cake is today as we have already broke the record high of 15C set in 1946, the 5th day in a row. Montreal was still at 17C as the new day started so the record was broken in the wee hours of the morning. With advancing cloud cover today and a few showers and thunderstorms forecast, we should make it to about 22C, still an incredible 17 degrees above the normal high for March 22.

Hundreds of records fell all over Ontario, Quebec and New England yesterday, too many to mention. Some notables were 27C at St. Anicet/Lancaster, 27.4 at Ottawa, and 81F at both Massena, NY and Burlington, Vermont. One of the warmest temperatures in the country was an incredible 28.8C (84F) at Petawawa in Ontario. That destroyed the previous record of 12.2C set in 1976 and was 23 degrees above normal.

Reality will very slowly settle back in this weekend with more normal air moving into the region and temperatures settling down to the single digits for highs and possibly below freezing for lows by Sunday.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Historic heat

By now everybody knows just how lame this past winter was in most of North America, with just a few exceptions. That snow less winter is setting up historic heat to start spring. Montreal broke another long standing temperature record on Tuesday smashing the previous one in the process. The high at Trudeau Airport was 23.5C (I had 25C here on L'Ile Perrot) eclipsing the old one of 13.9 set in 1946. It was part of nearly 200 record highs set across Ontario and Quebec since Monday, and hundreds more across the US. Both Milwaukee, Windsor, ON and Burlington, Vermont hit 80F yesterday, the earliest on record. Toronto set a new daytime high at 21C (19C - 1918), and Ottawa 25.8C (14.6C - 1995). Massena and Cornwall both hit record highs of 79F (26C), while Kemptville was 25.5C.

We will easily smash today's record of 16.7C set in 1946, most likely by noon if not sooner, that is the consolation prize. We are heading for the big prize today, the warmest March day on the books dating back to the 1800's. That temperature was 25.6C set on March 28, 1945. Montreal is forecasting 26C.

All this heat is creating some oddities, such as budding trees and popping tulips, nearly 6 to 8 weeks ahead of schedule. It has also meant a dismal maple season with most trees not producing sap any longer, having done so in some cases for less than a week. Conditions are also starting to dry out rapidly with very little precipitation this winter, and this is increasing the threat for grass and brush fires in some rural locations. We are also experiencing an early bout of smog in some major cities such as here in Montreal and Hamilton. Strong high pressure will give us two more hot days with mild overnights before a cold front snaps us back into reality by Friday and certainly Saturday night when we may see a snowflake or two and below freezing temperatures.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Spring is here

NEW Record High of 23.3C for Montreal

Spring arrived in the wee hours of the morning at 1:14am EDT. Today will be more like summer with temperatures at levels normally observed in mid May. It is a cool start to the day with temperatures around 3C across the area, still well above the normal low of -5C. Temperatures on warm southwest winds and bright sunshine will soar to record values once again today and tomorrow with highs expected near 24C. The normal high for March 20 is 4C, last year the best we could do was 3C and we were awaiting snow which would dump up to 10cm on southern Quebec. Not the case this year as record warmth has spread across the eastern third of North America with the exception of the immediate coast. Yesterday Montreal reached 20.1C by noon smashing the previous record of 15.7C set in 2010. Today's record is decades old at 13.9C set in 1946, and we will likely break that by noon. It could have been even warmer yesterday, but a back door cold front capped temperatures just after lunch here in Montreal, and produced some rather strong thunderstorms over New York state. In Ottawa the high was 24.8C breaking the 2010 record of 16C.

An AMA web cam showing heavy snow and zero visibility on the Trans Canada near Medicine Hat on Monday afternoon.
Alberta Blizzard
It is not summer everywhere. A strong low pressure area moving north from the Rockies crossed Montana and extreme eastern Alberta yesterday with heavy snow. Up to 25cm fell in southeastern Alberta and extreme Western Saskatchewan. The snow was accompanied bu strong winds of over 70km/h producing blizzard conditions that forced closure of the Trans Canada Highway from Brooks east towards Saskatchewan. The visibility in Medicine Hat was well under 1km for over 7 hours. Power was also knocked out in places as the heavy wet snow brought down lines. The snow is now over northern Saskatchewan.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Hot end to winter

Record crowds turned out in record heat for the annual Montreal St. Patrick's Day parade on Sunday. (The Montreal Gazette)
I have to keep reminding myself repeatedly that is is March, it is March. This is unreal, never before in my 25 plus years of following Montreal weather have I seen it this warm, this early. Montreal soared to 23.1C on Sunday, smashing the record of 14.1C set back in 2010. We joined a long, long list of communities from Manitoba to New Brunswick and Quebec to the Midwest and southern US that also enjoyed record heat. Ottawa reached 25C, obliterating their record of 16C set in 1966. Cornwall and Kemptville also posted record highs yesterday as did Burlington, Vermont at 76F. Keep in mind the normal high temperature for March 18 is a lonely 4C (39F). Montreal this morning is already at 12C, so we should very easily surpass today's record high also set in 2010 at 15.7C. As a matter of fact winter ends today and spring starts tomorrow, but really it will be summer like for the balance of the week with temperatures in the low to mid 20's through Thursday before more "normal" weather arrives by next weekend.

A few stray showers or perhaps a thunderstorm could occur today across Eastern Ontario into upstate New York today, but I think Montreal should remain dry. Cooler overnight temperatures promote the development of fog each morning so be aware of that when driving. Highs on Tuesday should be even warmer around 22C with the possibility of 26C or close to 80F for places like Kemptville and Ottawa by Wednesday.

**Anyone who has a glance at my weather data from here on L'Ile Perrot, I just want to let you know my humidity sensor is stuck at 98%. I am working on fixing it, but for now that data is wrong. Everything else is good.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

The heat is on!

Montreal's Olympic Stadium tower shrouded in dense fog Saturday afternoon. (ValleyWX Pic)
Record high today for Montreal: 23C

Strong high pressure is building into Quebec and the entire east coast finally starting to dry out the damp air mass that has been in place over southern Quebec all week. Yesterday we saw a high of 11C, but only after the dense fog burned off around noon. The fog held on tight in Montreal with near zero visibility most of the morning, slowing traffic and cancelling dozens of flights in and out of Trudeau Airport. Once the fog lifted we were left with a a damp but sunny day. Today is very different with a south wind and much warmer with Montreal already at 9C. We will easily surpass the record high of 14C set in 2010 with a forecast high today at 20C. It should be dry most of the day, but a weak cold front will approach the area tonight with the chance of some showers. The front will leave us with just a slightly cooler Monday at 15C before the front washes out south of the province and the warm air surges back north for the balance of the week. Temperatures will soar to record highs all week, even challenging the warmest Montreal March day on record, 25.6C set on March 28 in 1945. The temperature has a change of reaching 25 or 26C by Wednesday. It would be the earliest such high temperatures on record for the city.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Weekend Update

Tornado damage near Dexter, Michigan on Thursday. ABC News
A warm front remains to the west of Montreal this morning with rain and some thunderstorm activity affecting eastern Ontario and western Quebec. Eventually, and I really hope it is today, that warm front will lift northeast of Montreal and we will enjoy what is looking like a record breaking, sunny weekend. Temperatures continue cool in the St. Lawrence Valley with current readings at 1C, pretty much where it has been all night. Literally thousands of record highs are being broken across the Midwest, Great Lakes and east coast. That warm air will surge into Montreal by Sunday with highs forecast around 20C. I believe places like Kemptville, ON away from the water may see highs push 24 or 25C on Sunday and Monday. If we can hold a backdoor cold front at bay on Monday we will enjoy a warm week next week. We will have to wait and see because at this time of year, temperature forecasts are tricky, heavily influenced by the snow cover to our northeast and the cold waters of the Gulf of St. Lawrence. Time will tell, but in any event it will be a sunny and dry weekend with temperatures well above normal for March, and great weather expected for Sunday's St. Patricks Day parade in Montreal.

This warmth will break many records not only for daytime highs, but also overnight lows, duration of heat, and in many places the warmest readings so early in the season. Remember it is still winter, and no really cold air is on the menu into next week. How unusual is this weather? Well yesterday heavy thunderstorms were moving across Michigan and into southwest Ontario. They produced hail, damaging winds and several tornadoes. Hail was even reported near Ottawa.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

A warm weekend ahead

The forecast for warmer weather is still on for portions of Ontario and Quebec. Strong high pressure near Bermuda is pumping warm air north into the eastern third of North America. Where the forecast becomes problematic is along the periphery of the warm air. The St. Lawrence Valley has been a roadway for cold and damp air from the North Atlantic to stream southwest where it encounters the warm air over southwest Quebec. That has made the temperature forecast very problematic this week. The result was wet snow yesterday in Montreal when we expected showers and temperatures much warmer. The temperature spread has been significant over a very small area with temperatures hovering just above freezing in Montreal yesterday at 2.5C for a high while Toronto reached 18C and Brockville close to 10C. The warm air is having trouble again this morning displacing the cold, dense air across Eastern Ontario and west Quebec. A line of showers and thunderstorms has developed across eastern Ontario and will slowly lift northeast today. There is even some freezing rain and hail being reported this morning in the Ottawa Valley with temperatures at or just below 0C.

Bottom line is we feel it will be a damp and chilly 24 to 36 hours more with some light rain and drizzle at times and even the rumble of thunder in the region. Once the front clears the area by early Saturday look for an unprecedented warm weekend with highs into the 20's by Sunday under sunny skies. The normal high for March 15 is 3C and the normal low -6C.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Fog and (snow) showers

2pm Update: Cool air remains entrenched in the St. Lawrence Valley today with temperatures no better than plus 1 or 2C in Montreal. We also had several hours of wet snow over the city. This while places in southern Ontario from the GTA west towards Windsor are approaching 15 to 20C this afternoon. Even Ottawa is at 7C. It will warm up here by the weekend (fingers crossed). The snow today melted on contact and is now just bout over. 

An upper level low pressure area will slide across eastern Ontario today and into southwestern Quebec. The low will keep cold air trapped at the surface in the St. Lawrence Valley, meaning the warm temperatures that avoided the city yesterday will do so again today. Montreal has dense fog at 7am and a lonely 1C, where we have been stuck since 10pm last evening. We will have a little more company today however as temperatures will be down across eastern Ontario as well. Sowers are occurring also with the system and will spread into Quebec from Ontario today. All Montreal could manage in the low clouds and fog yesterday was 8C, meanwhile Kemptville, ON was 17C. Areas just to the south of my location, as little as 20 minutes away warmed to 16C (60F), while the best I could do here on Ile Perrot was about 7C (45F). Today we are starting off very foggy across the region with visibilities under 1km at Dorval since 3am and as little as 1/2 kilometre at times.

The big news will be the heat during the upcoming weekend and into the start of next week. The balance of this week will be mild but rather cloudy with the risk of showers at times and even a thunderstorm late Thursday. By Saturday strong high pressure will move into the region and slowly slide off the east coast. It will pump very warm and dry air from the southwestern US that will send temperatures soaring to record highs for March. Temperatures will likely approach and exceed 20C across eastern Ontario and western Quebec by Sunday and prevail well into next week. Some locations away from water sources may even reach the mid 20's. These temperatures will be well above the average high of 2C and should easily shatter records.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Stubborn cold air in Montreal

As has happened so often this past winter a warm front is unable to scour cold air out of the St. Lawrence Valley in Quebec today. While areas south and west of us are soaring to record highs, Montreal remains cold with a northeast wind and fog. As the above Weather Underground area map from 3pm shows, many areas just to our southwest are near 16C. Burlington, Vermont has another record high with 18C so far. Montreal will remain damp and cool tonight with the warm air staying to our south. Lows will be near 2C and if we are lucky we may see a 9 or 10C on Wednesday under cloudy skies. It is still well above normal but so much colder than surrounding areas. Want warm air? Then just head to the south shore to places like Hemmingford, Lacolle or St. Anicet where it is 15C.

Spring warmth and 1993

Today in Montreal the weather is in stark contrast to that of 1993. We are currently at 5C here on Ile Perrot with a warm front to our west along with some showers and even a rumble of thunder about to move across the city. We just missed a record yesterday, reaching 13C, 2 degrees shy of the 1977 record. Burlington, Vermont broke another record reaching 63F. This warm spell is not over, we will challenge the record high today with a forecast 12C (54F) and the record 12.2C set in 1946. Montreal has watched the snow pack dwindle to just a few dirty piles in a matter of days. There is even some flowers beginning to push through the newly thawed earth. The warm weather is forecast to continue right into next week with no cold air in sight. A little rain today will give way to partial sunshine for Wednesday. The weekend at this time looks glorious with sunny skies and highs around 16C. There is some winter weather around with snow and freezing rain forecast today in Nova Scotia and New Brunswick with perhaps some freezing rain from Quebec City north and east.

An unbelievable storm on radar stretching from Quebec to Cuba on March 13.
 On this day in 1993 a wicked storm known as the March 1993 Super Storm raced up the east coast producing tornadoes, storm surge flooding and heavy rain and snow. The storm left behind damage, death and destruction from Cuba to Atlantic Canada. Montreal was hammered in a 12 hour period receiving between 38 and 45cm of snow in a very short period of time. The storm was accompanied by strong winds and blizzard conditions with biting cold for March. A new record low was set during the storm of -19.3C and again the next morning at -23C.
The aftermath of the storm in Montreal.
The snow closed down highways across New England and even closed the bridges in Montreal for a few hours. Visibility dropped to below 1km for over 12 hours including a 4 hour stretch overnight into Sunday morning with zero visibility at Dorval. A low barometric pressure of 974mb was observed in Montreal during the storm. I do have video as I mentioned yesterday and promise to track it down soon and post it. On Sunday March 14, 1993 the Montreal Gazette could not be delivered by our fleet of trucks to the stores or paper carriers. I worked for them for over 10 years and it was the only morning in my career there that we could not get the papers out. My truck was buried in snow up to the roof on the front of the vehicle parked into the wind. It was an amazing storm.

Monday, March 12, 2012

More record warmth

From the Spring 2012 outlook. Lots of red means lots of warmth for Quebec and eastern Canada.
The only thing that may overshadow the warm and seemingly storm free winter of 2011/2012 may be the warm and storm free spring of 2012. As a matter of fact we may skip spring all together and just jump into summer, as this week will be warm and next week as well. Just how warm? Well I think areas without snow cover and away from the effects of cold water could see highs over 20C by early next week. Montreal had another record high yesterday, the second of this young month, reaching 11.2C beating the old high of 10C set in 1977. Toronto also had a record high at an incredible 17.7C. The normal high for Montreal on March 11 should have been 2C. We are at 2C now for our low. Today will be another sunny day with high temperatures in the low teens, about 10 degrees above normal. A weak disturbance will give some showers tonight and Tuesday, but still very warm at 14C tomorrow. The balance of the week will feature fair weather and warm with highs from 12 to 16C and low from 2 to 4C.

We are coming up to the anniversary of the March Superstorm of 1993. I hope to track down some video I shot during that storm when Montreal received 43cm of snow in about 12 hours on a Saturday night.

Friday, March 09, 2012

Much colder

Don't forget to Spring Forward this weekend with Daylight Savings Time at 2am Sunday morning. That means one less hour of the weekend, why do we not do this at 4pm on Friday at work?

After yesterday's record high in Montreal, we wake to ice and snow on L'Ile Perrot. ValleyWX
What a difference 24 hours can make. That was one potent cold front that swept southern Quebec and Ontario last evening with plenty of moisture, gusty winds and plummeting temperatures. Montreal reached a record high of 13C (55F) yesterday at around 11am. It beat the old record of 10.8C set in 2000. By late afternoon a steady rain had developed along with increasing westerly winds pushing 60km/h. Temperatures fell from 11C at 6pm to 6C at 7pm and 0C by midnight. The rain changed to a brief period of heavy wet snow that coated everything and iced up the roads. Depending where you are in the metro-region you saw between 3 and 5cm of snow overnight. That leaves us at -5C this morning with windchill values as cold as -10C and icy roads. All this in 24 hours or less. Now be prepared to go the other way because that is just what we will do this weekend. A warm front will approach the region on Saturday with highs near the freezing point, and all the way up to 9C on Sunday. No appreciable precipitation is in the forecast at this time with perhaps just a few flurries overnight and Saturday. Next week looks to be very mild with well above normal temperatures.

Other records broken yesterday included 61F at Montpelier and Burlington, Vermont and 61F at Massena/Cornwall. The warm temperatures have created some flooding concerns in upstate New York with a flood advisory posted for Clinton County, New York including the Village of Champlain. Melting ice is jamming on the Great Chazy River near Perry Mills and creating high river levels and minor flooding.

Thursday, March 08, 2012

Record Warmth

You can almost hear the snow melting, and what we are left with is mounds of snirt, a nasty combination of once pure white snow mixed with everything hidden by winter and sprinkled with road grime, salt and sand.

What a change in weather this week, from Monday's -17C mroning lows to yesterdays record tying high of 11.7C here in Montreal at Trudeau Airport. Montreal had actually one of the colder readings yesterday with the winds blowing in off frozen Lake St. Louis and keeping the temperature down just slightly. South of the city here on L'Ile Perrot I reached 15C at 5pm, while St Anicet beat their record high reaching 15C (11/1994). Other notable highs yesterday were Toronto at 16.7C (16.7/1987) and Ottawa at 11.7C (11.1/1974). The normal high for Montreal for March 8 is 0C. Keep in mind on this date in the winter of 1970/1971 Montreal still had 100cm of snow on the ground, actual depth not piled up, those were feet high and would not melt until well into the summer that year.

Today will be another warm day for Montreal, the temperature has already been as high as 10C at the airport but has since settled down to 8C and currently I am showing 12C. The record for today of 10.8C set in 2000 should easily be surpassed. It will be the last warm day in this current spell as a strong cold front is over central Ontario this morning and will approach southern Quebec this evening. In advance of the front we will have a cloudy day with very warm temperatures and gusty southwest winds. Those winds never made it to the surface in Montreal yesterday but they should today reaching speeds of 60km/h by noon. Showers, some rather heavy, will develop late this afternoon and taper to flurries overnight as the temperature plunges from record highs down to nearly -5C by morning. Needless to say any water accumulation and light snowfall will freeze on roads so travel with great caution overnight and Friday morning. Friday will be partly cloudy, breezy and much cooler at 1C with flurries at times.

You have to love spring, if you don't like the weather just wait a few hours!

Tuesday, March 06, 2012

A taste of spring

A sad and surreal sight on Monday as snow covers tornado damage in Kentucky.
Warm weather is on our doorstep here in southern Quebec. We had another cold start to the day with temperatures close to -18C in many areas. The bright March sun quickly made it feel much better and we are sitting at -4C here on L'Ile Perrot at 5pm. Despite the cold start to the day I even noticed a little bit of melting in my back yard this morning. There will be lots more of that over the next 24 to 48 hours as high pressure moves off the east coast and sets of a mild southerly flow of air. Temperatures will rise slowly overnight and on Wednesday soar to plus 10C or 11C. A few flurries will accompany the warm air overnight as it streams into the region.

Warm temperatures are expected up and down the east coast including tornado ravaged Kentucky which could use the good weather to help with clean up and recovery efforts. Winds are forecast to increase out of the southwest in the St. Lawrence Valley and gust as high as 70km/h on Wednesday. Another warm day is on tap for Thursday before a cold front brings us some showers and cooler temperatures later in the day. Friday at this point looks more seasonable with perhaps a few flurries or showers.

Winter weather is holding on in Newfoundland tonight as a blizzard bears down on St. John's and the eastern portion of the province. The heavy snow is just about to start along the coast as low pressure moves just offshore. Up to 30cm of snow is expected, accompanied by strong winds approaching hurricane force in coastal communities. Inland snow and blowing snow is forecast with 10-20cm and 100km/h wind gusts.

Monday, March 05, 2012

Big warm-up this week

It is a very cold Monday morning across southern Quebec. I am rather surprised at just how cold it is here at my home on L'Ile Perrot, I am currently showing -17C with a windchill of -23C. Skies cleared out overnight allowing for a rapid drop in temperatures. Most areas of southern Quebec and eastern Ontario still have snow cover so this helps generate the colder readings. We are in for a major warming trend this week that will see big time melting of the snow pack with spring definitely in the air. Temperatures will be chilly today no better than -8C. We are looking at another cold night tonight around -15C for lows in the area. Tuesday will be much milder with temperatures beginning a sharp rise on southwest winds that will see highs near 0C and all the way up to plus 10 or 11C (50 to 52F) on Wednesday and Thursday. A few showers are possible later in the week, but otherwise no major precipitation is forecast at this time. While in normal winters I would still believe we have a snowfall or two left to go this early in March, this year has been so strange, this could likely be it for winter 2011/2012.

Sunday, March 04, 2012

Thoughts on tornadoes & the blizzard of 1971

What more can you say about the violent storms in the Midwest and south, the damage leaves you struggling for words.
Winds have abated this morning across the Montreal area after reaching speeds of as high as 90km/h in Montreal and over 100km/h in eastern Ontario. Power was out to thousands in Ontario, but little damage was reported in our region. The storm was deadly and widespread with traffic accidents in snow and wind and tornadoes claiming dozens of lives from Quebec south into Kentucky, Illinois, Indiana and Alabama. I was looking at pictures from the Appalachian town of West Liberty, Kentucky. The images leave you without words. The damage is complete, from small trailer homes that you would expect to be destroyed in an EF-3 storm all the way up to solid brick buildings that have stood for many decades. There is no structure left untouched and the town will have to be rebuilt. Of the 34 deaths from Friday's outbreak, 17 occurred in Kentucky, 1 in West Liberty.

The cold front responsible for all the tornadoes, 97 in all, is well off the east coast this morning leaving in its wake clearing skies and much colder temperatures. To add to the misery some portions of the disaster area will see 2 to 3 inches of snow tonight.

Blizzard of 1971...

I have posted two more images from the vault at Radio Canada. They are of the famous Montreal blizzard of March 3rd and 4th, 1971. Close to 50cm of snow fell driven around by near hurricane force winds up to 111km/h. This is what started it all for me in weather. Read more about it from my previous blog post HERE.

Saturday, March 03, 2012

High Wind Warning

There is lots to talk about this morning so I will start with a high wind warning in effect for the entire St. Lawrence Valley. Winds have already gusted to 59km/h here at Trudeau Airport and they will continue to increase as a strong cold front approaches the region. Winds will come out of the southwest and gust to 90km/h by the noon hour in Montreal. Winds in Ontario have peaked at 107km/h at St. Catherines, 96km/h at Long Point on Lake Erie, 91km/h at Toronto and 86km/h at Cobourg.

This morning we are seeing more convection developing along the cold front just west of our region. Look for a few showers to accompany the front as it crosses Montreal. We may even have a rumble of thunder, as that was quite common in Ontario last night. The main energy of the low pressure will swing through Quebec later today with some light snow developing tonight along with blowing snow and lasting into Sunday. Up to 5cm may fall over Quebec. Winds will be the big story with this storm. Warnings are in effect across the area from Quebec City all the way to Windsor, Ontario and south into northern New York.

Unbelievable damage from Harrisburg, Illinois on Friday (
Deadly Tornadoes
Strong low pressure is moving east from the Great Lakes this morning. What more can you say about this deepening area of low pressure, it has been deadly, catastrophic and unprecedented for early March. Nearly 100 tornadoes were spawned yesterday from Ohio to Alabama. Especially hard hit were Illinois, Indiana and Kentucky. Winds of up to 180mph accompanied some of the storms. One twister in Harrisburg, Illinois virtually levelled the town killing 6. The death toll is sitting at 31 this morning, and close to 50 from the week of storms. The number of tornadoes yesterday exceeds the normal monthly total in the US for March. The images of destruction are hard to understand and grasp and I get it, I understand weather, and yet the severity of these storms even surprises me.

Friday, March 02, 2012

Stormy Saturday

Cleaning up last weeks storm.
While we close the books on this latest winter storm, we will rapidly welcome the next one close on its heels. Montreal received about 15cm of snow at the airport yesterday with a little more perhaps closer to 18cm here off island to the south. Winds were quite gusty last evening with blowing snow and snow covered roads, but nothing we could not deal with in March.

Plowing the Trans Canada service road in Kirkland on Thursday. (ValleyWX Pic)
That storm slowly filled over the region last evening while a second low pressure area developed off the east coast and moved out to sea, brushing Atlantic Canada. Our next weather maker is a strong developing low over the southern plains that is forecast to move towards the Great Lakes and into central Quebec on Saturday. This storm will have warmer air than its predecessor so we are looking at snow this evening changing to rain before morning. Temperatures will be around 0C today but rise to plus 4C on Saturday. We are looking at about 2-5cm of snow here in Montreal followed by a few millimetres of rain. The big component with this storm will be a potent cold front that will generate thunderstorms from southern Ontario southward into the Gulf states. Some of the storms will be severe today from Kentucky and Ohio south with the risk of large hail, damaging winds and long track tornadoes. As the cold front approaches our region Saturday very strong southwest winds will develop up to 70km/h with some gusts approaching 90km/h in the St. Lawrence Valley. Wind warnings mat be needed for a portion of the area on Saturday. Sunday will be much calmer with cloudy skies and a few flurries, but a little cooler at -3C.

I will post an update on this winter storm later this morning.

Thursday, March 01, 2012

Deadly tornadoes & a little snow

Our current weather system has been a little bit of a bust on the snow side so far. While is is snowing in Montreal and forecast to do so the balance of the day, I think the heaviest precipitation, what little of it there is, will remain south of metro Montreal. The storm center is currently over the Great Lakes and moving east. It will try to regain a little of its former self today but I think snow totals will be under the original forecast. Looking at the radar this morning we have some light snow over southern Quebec with another batch mixed with some freezing rain over Ontario and upstate New York. Winds have been creating a little blowing snow in places but nothing extreme. Environment Canada has lowered the winter storm warning to a snowfall warning (this is the equivalent of a winter weather advisory in the US). Storm totals will end up somewhere between 10 and 15cm by late today. Here in L'Ile Perrot we sit at -5C with about 4cm on the ground overnight.

EF-4 tornado damage in Harrisburg, Illinois (Reuters Photo)

The real deadly aspect of this storm was the severe weather that occurred yesterday along the trailing cold front. I was amazed by the strength of the pre-dawn twisters that swept through Missouri and into Kansas, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky and Ohio. At one point a tornado watch was in effect clear up to northern Ohio along the Lake Erie shore. It is only February people and we witnessed quite likely an EF-4 tornado yesterday in Harrisburg, Illinois. The damage is extensive in Harrisburg with 6 deaths reported in that state and a total of 12 so far. Damage was widespread with homes and businesses destroyed. The storms are a little weaker today but still potent with the threat shifting into the southeast including Alabama and Georgia.

There was even thunder and lightning reported at multiple locations across Southwest Ontario last night including Sarnia, London and Windsor.