Friday, April 06, 2012

Weekend Update - AB snow

Edmonton and portions of Alberta were hit by a big snowstorm on Thursday. (Edmonton Sun)
Of Note: A Red Flag Warning is in effect for all of upstate New York and most of Vermont. Gusty north winds and very low relative humidity combined with a very dry spring and lack of snow cover has created a high fire danger. Now we don't have similar warnings on this side of the border but keep in mind the same conditions exist. We are very dry and any outdoor burning is not advised in eastern Ontario and southern Quebec.

The weather has become active again for portions of Canada. First we had a big storm slide north across Alberta on Thursday. The system dumped a heavy wet snow on Edmonton with 10cm at the airport but as much as 25cm in portions of the city. Calgary had 10cm. Visibility was very poor most of the day and numerous power outages were reported as wires came down under the weight of the snow.

This morning another strong storm is moving from Montana north into Saskatchewan by later today. The deepening low pressure area will give heavy snow and increasing north winds to Montana and southern Saskatchewan. Snow will accumulate between 15 and 30cm locally with winds gusting to 70km/h producing poor travel. The National Weather Service in Glasgow, Montana has issued a Blizzard Warning for this afternoon and tonight and is advising against travel overnight. Winter Storm Warnings are in effect for Moose Jaw and southwest Saskatchewan.

Meanwhile the weather in Montreal and southern Quebec will be controlled by advancing high pressure that will provide a sunny but chilly Good Friday. Later today, low pressure will be gathering steam along the east coast near the Outer Banks of North Carolina. This storm will move north and then west into eastern Quebec by Sunday. A maritime block is preventing this system from moving northeast and it may actually back (retrograde) into Quebec by Monday. We could see an increase in winds and cloud cover by late Sunday along with some showers of flurries to start next week.

If you think Montreal is immune to big April snowstorms, think again. There have been many but one that stands out for me was between April 3-6, 1975. Montreal had a massive winter storm (primarily on April 3rd) with 33cm of snow, winds gusting to 87km/h and visibility of under 1km for nearly 15 hours. The pressure bottomed out at 983mb as this big storm swept from the US Midwest across the Ohio Valley and into southern Quebec.

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