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.

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