Tuesday, July 31, 2012

25th Anniversary of Black Friday

Edmonton Journal on August 1, 1987
It was a weather day nobody in Edmonton, Alberta or Canada will ever forget. On Friday, July 31, 1987 an F-4 tornado ripped through the quiet suburbs and industrial area of east Edmonton, just skirting the heart of the city. It developed around 3pm in unusually hot and humid air near Leduc south of the city and would stay on the ground for over one hour. It obliterated everything in its path with winds of over 300 km/h. The path of destruction varied but was 40km long and up to 0.6 km (1 mile) wide. One of the hardest hit areas was the Evergreen Mobile Home Park where 200 homes were demolished and 12 lives were taken. In all the storm claimed 27 lives, injured over 600 and caused nearly one half billion dollars in damages. It would forever change warning systems in Canada and lead to improved technology and forecasting/warning techniques with Environment Canada. It was the second most deadly weather disaster in Canadian history just behind the Regina cyclone of June 30, 1912 which killed 28.

My memories of that day were disbelief that such a large and powerful tornado could occur so far north and absolute sadness at such a huge loss of life from a weather event. I had until that time believed that F-0 and F-1 were the usual strength of such storms on Canadian soil (with the exception perhaps of southern Ontario). I know better now. The tornado was an eye opener for many in the weather world as well as emergency and disaster management across the country. To this day it has changed the way we forecast these events and deliver warnings to our communities, especially in Alberta.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Warm & humid week ahead

Storm damage in Winnipeg on Sunday evening. (Photo- CBC News Manitoba)
What a beautiful weekend we had. It was a little of a surprise, as the showers and clouds remained draped across southern New England, allowing Montreal and the St. Lawrence Valley to remain in the warm sunshine with highs pushing 30C both days. The trend of warmth and sunshine will continue this week, however it will not be sunny all the time, as we are looking at an increase in humidity and a risk of showers and thunderstorms by Tuesday afternoon. This threat will continue all week with sunshine in the morning and an elevated risk of afternoon and evening showers and storms. Temperatures will be at or slightly above normal with highs between 27C and 30C (80-86F). Nights will be mild at 20C, but cooler off island with a risk of fog and dew.

It remains very dry across a large portion of North America with several regions reporting drought conditions and a section of the Midwest and southern US plains in a severe drought. Montreal is dry as well with only 90.8mm of rain for July. This is close to normal, but most of that fell in three thunderstorms. We only had rain on 8 of the 30 days in July. A watering ban remains in effect for the southwest Quebec communities of Vaudreuil/Soulanges. This includes Hudson, Valleyfield, St Lazarre and her on L'Ile Perrot. Despite this many in my own neighborhood continue to wash their cars and water their lawns. My lawn and car are both very dusty and in the case of my lawn very yellow.

It was Manitoba's turn to have the severe weather on Sunday. Strong storms swept the southern half of the province knocking down trees and utility lines and cutting power to at least 26,000. The storm also tore a roof from an apartment building in the Winnipeg suburb of North Kildonan. No injuries were reported.

Friday, July 27, 2012

A little rain & a little sunshine

The weekend is upon us once again, and just in time, really. The weather this morning has cleared out a little here in Montreal, as we sit under partly cloudy skies and 20C (68F). The humidity remains elevated but down a little from Thursday evening. We are looking at seasonable highs all weekend in the 26C range or very close to 80F. Low pressure passing off the east coast may provide the region with some instability at times over the weekend with perhaps a passing shower or rumble of thunder especially south and east of Montreal. Otherwise look for a decent weekend with more sun than clouds and temperatures right where they should be for late July in Montreal.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Storms stay south

A spectacular photo of lightning striking the CN Tower in Toronto. This was taken early this morning by photographer Richard Gottardo.
(photo via twitter @richardgottardo)
A surface warm front draped across southwest Ontario, central New York and southern New England, will be the focus for a round of severe thunderstorms today. Overnight gusty storms swept across southern Ontario with tremendous displays of lightning across the region. All across southern Quebec and Ontario it is a muggy, humid morning. Montreal was around 22C most of the night but we have settled back to 18C with light rain. We will remain well north of the warm front today and therefore remain cooler around 24C. Toronto should see 28C. Strong storms are forecast to develop along the front and move northeast with the greatest threat for severe weather, hail and tornadoes across southern New York into Pennsylvania and the Ohio Valley. This area has a moderate risk of strong storms. Northern area of New England and southern Quebec will be north of the action with just isolated showers and a rumble of thunder through Friday.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Much needed rain for Ontario & Quebec

A tornado on Tuesday near Davin, Saskatchewan. (Photo by Kathy Rosenkranz)
Low pressure will travel south of the Great Lakes over the next 36 to 48 hours with a frontal wave affecting the region. We start with lots of sunshine today and warm July highs of 27C (81F), just perfect for the date. Clouds increase this evening along with showers and thunderstorms starting in southern Ontario and spreading eastward. The further southwest you go down the 401, the more rain you will encounter. A good 15-30mm is likely in Ontario, for some locations this will be the most rain all summer. Montreal and southern Quebec can expect the showers by Thursday with perhaps a rumble of thunder. The heavies rain should remain south of the border across central New York and southern Vermont. Showers will persist into Friday with unstable and humid air in place.

It was another active day in Saskatchewan on Tuesday with numerous thunderstorms flaring up in a line from Regina to Assiniboia and east to the Manitoba border. Several tornadoes were confirmed including a well developed storm near Davin, 36km east of Regina.

Environment Canada confirmed yesterday that major tree damage on Monday south of Renfrew and near Mississippi Lake, Ontario was caused by straight line winds in a micro burst reaching speeds of up to 110km/h. Damage was widespread as well as a few injuries. Here in Quebec power remains out to at least 2000 customers with crews being called back from vacation to deal with the storm damage.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Strong storms cool region

NIGHT BECOMES DAY: A flash of lightning illuminates my neighborhood on L'Ile Perrot at 10pm last evening. (ValleyWX Photo)
After sweltering highs in the low to mid 30's on Monday (32C here on L'Ile Perrot) a strong cold front has brought some natural A/C this morning. Strong thunderstorm activity accompanied the front as it moved from northwest to southeast across Ontario & Quebec. The first wave of storms swept east from Ottawa and into Montreal in time for the evening rush hour. This has become a very common trend this summer with traffic slowing to a crawl in heavy blinding rain and gusty winds. After a break a second and more intense line of storms swept the city from end to end at around 10pm. These storms produced vivid, prolonged lightning and strong wind gust close to 100km/h. The lightning began at my home around 9:30pm and lasted nearly two hours. The combination of the two storms brought much needed rain to southern Quebec with 27mm at Trudeau Airport and 41.2mm here on L'Ile Perrot. They also knocked down trees and power lines from Eastern Ontario across the Island of Montreal keeping city firefighters responding to dozens of calls. Also taking a hit was the electrical grid with 10,000 losing power in Ottawa and 80,000 in Quebec including about 20,000 home in metro Montreal. Of that, Hydro Quebec reports about 50 per cent has since been restored. It will be a cooler and drier day today with clouds and sun and just a slight chance of a passing shower. Temperatures will be cooler at 24C (76F).

DAY BECOMES NIGHT: Dark clouds turn 3pm into late evening darkness in Merrickville, Ontario on Monday afternoon. Trees were down and power was out in many eastern Ontario towns. (Photo Maggie LB)
 A wide area of the country was affected by severe weather on Monday. At one point about 7% of the Canadian population was under a tornado watch or warning. Alberta was hard hit with heavy rain and strong winds as well as isolated tornadoes. More tornadoes were also reported in Saskatchewan. More severe weather is likely  today in western Canada, while the threat here in the east has slipped south into southern New England and the Middle Atlantic states.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Severe thunderstorms likley today in Ontario & Quebec

Tornado damage from Saturday near Smeaton, Sask, northeast of Prince Albert. (CJME Website)

In a scenario that has played out frequently in southern Canada this summer, we are looking at the threat for severe weather across a wide area once again today. A strong jet stream over southern Canada and a large dome of hot air and drought conditions over the US is pushing lots of severe weather well north of where it should be and into our regions. The number of tornado warnings this summer in Saskatchewan, all the Prairies, Ontario and southern Quebec is unreal. More tornadoes were reported in Saskatchewan on Saturday with one smashing into a farm and destroying a house in Smeaton. There were reports of large hail and strong winds over 110km/h in southeast Saskatchewan. Meanwhile local thunderstorms produced as much as 80mm of rain near Hamilton with flooding reported. Last eveing isolated strong storms occured in the Ottawa Valley northwest of Montreal.

Here in Montreal we had a warm and humid weekend with highs near 31C and overnight lows well into the 20's. It is already 24C (76F) at my home here on L'Ile Perrot with elevated humidity and dew point readings. A warm day is on tap with temperatures near 32C (90F) region wide. This combined with the humidity will push heat index values to near 40C. The heat will come to an abrupt end this afternoon and evening as a potent cold front settles southeast across the St. Lawrence Valley. There is a risk of strong to severe storms in southern Quebec and from Ottawa southwest towards Toronto beginning late this afternoon and lasting until midnight. Heavy rain, in excess of 30mm, gusty winds and large hail are possible. There is even the risk of an isolated tornado. The threat will slip southeast across the Townships and into northern Vermont and New York by evening.

I will update all watches and warnings for the region today via the Twitter feed on the upper left side of this blog.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Weekend weather update

After a rather active weather week across many areas of the country we can expect a quiet and pleasent weekend. High pressure will continue to build across southern Quebec with sunshine today and most of the weekend along with normal temperatures for July. Highs will range from 25 to 28C with lows generally from 12 to 16C. There is a slight chance of showers and perhaps some thunder late Sunday and again on Monday as the humidity begins to creep up once again. Next week at this time looks warm but not oppressively hot, and dry most of the time. The intense heat will remain south of a front, locked into the US Midwest and deep south.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Ontario & Saskatchewan tornadoes

Environment Canada has confirmed two tornadoes touched down during Tuesday afternoons severe weather outbreak in Ontario and Quebec. The first tornado occurred at 1:45pm east of Cornwall in tiny Seaway community of Summerstown. The storm destroyed several tees and carved an area of damage 30 metres wide by 2km long. It was rated as an F-0 on the Enhanced Fujita Scale with estimated winds of 110km/h. The second tornado occurred around 3:30pm near Athens, Ontario north of Brockville. The storm was much larger at 300 metres wide and travelling 3km on the ground. This storm was estimated at F-1 strength with winds up to 140km/h possible. There have been 5 tornadoes reported in Ontario this season, normally 13 occur. No tornadoes have been confirmed in southern Quebec, however rotation was observed in several storm cells, including the one I photographed over Pointe Claire and numerous tornado warnings were issued.

From Greg Johnson at TornadoHunter.ca, just an awesome picture of one of yesterday's storms. This tornado was captured near Wadena, Saskatchewan.
Yesterday was another wild storm chasing day on the Prairies. Hot and unusually humid air was in place and three more tornadoes were reported. Saskatchewan has had an active year with nearly 2 dozen tornadoes reported. Thankfully there were no injuries reported in this latest outbreak. It remains warm and humid across southeast Saskatchewan today so the threat remains for more storms. Check out storm chaser Greg Johnson at tornadohunter.ca well worth the visit.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Storm Update

A state of emergency was declared in Potsdam, New York after thunderstorms produced widespread power outages and damage on Tuesday.
 (Watertown Daily News)
Tranquil weather is upon us for a few days with typical mid July weather. Look for sunshine and comfortable humidity with high temperatures from 26 to 28C (80-83F) across the region. The same holds true for both Thursday and Friday before we see an increase in humidity again into the weekend and an increased risk of showers and storms. Many areas received a good soaking rain yesterday, in the range of 25mm. It fell way to fast to give any long term relief from the drought, but it was welcome. Montreal recorded close to 37mm, the same as here on L'Ile Perrot. Apparently golf ball size hail fell here on L'Ile Perrot according to CJAD, but it must have been away from my location. No damage was evident here from hail or any other type of severe weather. This was most likely the same cell that produced the funnel cloud over Lac St. Louis. The 4:40pm storm was nasty for sure as it clipped the southwest corner of the Island of Montreal, Ile Perrot and the Vaudreuil/Soulanges area. Hail, between 2 and 5cm in diameter fell from St Anicet eastward towards Huntingdon, southern Quebec's tornado alley. Since I was a kid, and I imagine longer than that, thunderstorms have avoided the city on average and passed through the farming communities between the St. Lawrence River and US border.

The other story yesterday was the heat with more records falling across Ontario. Officially Montreal was just shy of 30C with cloud cover most of the day capping the temperature. This was not the case in Ontario where Toronto reached 36.8C, Windsor 37.8C, Kingston 33C, and Ottawa a sweltering 34.8C, all records for the day.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Thunderstorms sweep region

Taken through my window is what appears to be rotation in the clouds as a strong thunderstorm passed southwest of Pointe Claire on the West Island of Montreal on Tuesday. ValleyWX Pic
It was quite a stormy day in and around Montreal, particularly south of the city to the US border and beyond. Strong thunderstorms developed this afternoon in the hot tropical air and swept east. The mercury kissed 30C in Montreal before the storms and all the way up to 33C in Ottawa and a record breaking 36C in Toronto.

Major tree damage from afternoon storms in Athens, Ontario, north of Brockille. (The Weather Network)
The first of the storms fired up between Brockville and Ottawa and swept eastward into the St. Lawrence Valley and across the border area through Ormstown and Hemmigford and into New York. A second wave moved southeast across the Seaway and into northern New York. Those storms produced heavy damage in Potsdam, NY cutting power to 16,000 customers and toppling trees. A roof was torn from a downtown business in Potsdam. Southwest of Montreal, tree damage was reported in Summerstown, Ontario and golf ball size hail in St. Anicet. The heaviest of the storms stayed south of the city but we still managed 37mm of rain at my home here on L'Ile Perrot, most of that falling this morning. I have also posted a picture above of what I believed at the time was rotation in the clouds over Kirkland on the West Island of Montreal around 4:40pm. (Sorry for the window glare I was trapped in my office at the time). As it turned out a funnel cloud was spotted shortly after on Lac St Louis and tornado warnings were promptly issued for the South Shore and Richelieu Valley. I will have more damage reports by morning. The threat of severe weather has ended for the region and just a few showes are possible. It will be warm on Wednesday but a lot less humid.

Strong storms likely today

Humidex Advisory: Ontario and southern Quebec. Strong thunderstorms this afternoon.

A sultry air mass remains in place across most of Eastern Canada this morning with temperatures in the 20's and high humidity making it feel rather uncomfortable. A few thunderstorms dumped a decent amount of rain on L'Ile Perrot this morning with nearly 25mm (1 inch) since 6am this morning. The rain is most welcome and much needed but it will leave the atmosphere soaked with moisture and ripe for a strong outbreak of storms this afternoon. The NWS Storm Prediction Center in the US has placed northern New York and the St. Lawrence Valley as well as much of northern New England under a slight risk of severe storms this afternoon. A significant cold front and low pressure area moving into the warm and humid air will produce supercell thunderstorms with strong winds and hail, and even the risk of an isolated tornado. The storms this morning will move off to the southeast to be replaced by sunny breaks and hot temperatures near 30C (86F) in Montreal and into the 30's in Ontario. The cold front will begin advancing into the warm and humid air in Ontario during the afternoon and across southern Quebec, you guessed it, in time for Montreal rush hour.

Watches and Warnings are likely by noon across a large area of eastern Ontario from Kingston to Ottawa and east into Montreal and Quebec. I will tweet and update any warnings or watches all day long.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Montreal - July 14, 1987

Top: Highway 20, one day after the July 14, 1987 storm, and still flooded.
Bottom: The flooded Decarie Expressway northbound lanes.
(Photos: Montreal Gazette)
Update: Monday, July 16 @ 7am: It is a very muggy start to the day in Montreal with temperatures expected to be hot again. Look for highs around 31C with a chance of thunderstorms. On Tuesday it will be even warmer with highs of 32 to 34C before a strong cold front produces heavy thunderstorms late in the day. We will need to follow that closely for the potential development of severe storms in southern Quebec, Ontario, NY and New England.

July 14, 1987: It was 25 years ago on Sunday that a series of strong thunderstorms swept across the Island of Montreal from south to north producing 100mm (4 inches) of rain in under 2 hours. The storms completely overwhelmed the municipal sewer systems flooding major roads and hundreds of homes. The Decarie Expressway flooded under several feet of water as did the St. Remi Tunnel, portions of Highway 20 and the Cote de Liesse highway. Not far from my Verdun home, in the suburb of LaSalle, power poles were leaning on a 45 degree angle, an indication of the powerful winds that accompanied the storms as they swept across the St. Lawrence River. The storm cut power to thousands for over 24 hours and generated nearly $200 million in damages. One fatality occurred when a motorist drowned in his vehicle in the Cote des Neiges district.
I was in Long Sault, Ontario at the time enjoying a camping trip, one of the few vacations I had at that time in my life. It would be the start for me of a stretch of missing all the big weather events in Montreal, that seems to continue today. I was also out of town when the big Ice Storm of 1998 hit and most recently the flooding thunderstorms this past May. It is either a sad irony for a weather geek, or God's way of protecting me!

Trucks sit submerged on the Decarie northbound just past Jean Talon.
(Montreal Gazette)
Back to 2012 - watering & outdoor burning ban
 After another record high on Saturday in Montreal at 33.3C, the city was a little cooler today at 31C (88F), however the humidity was quite high. We received about 11mm of much needed rain in an afternoon thunderstorm that swept the western portion of the city. The rain was accompanied by thunder and gusty winds. It remains cloudy still in the city and very humid with a muggy 24C at 9pm. Look for warm overnight lows tonight around 22C (72F) in Montreal, and another hot and humid day Monday pushing into the low 30's with high humidity readings. Despite the rain, water levels remain critical and outdoor fire bans and watering bans are in effect in most regions including here on L'Ile Perrot and across Vaudreuil/Soulanges County. There are at least 20 forest fires burning in the province and it remains very dry across the southern half of  Quebec and into eastern Ontario.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Level 2 drought

Lac St. Louis off the northern tip of L'Ile Perrot is nearly a foot below where it should be. Beach and rocks are exposed where water once was. ValleyWX Photo
I was writing yesterday about how critical the lack of rainfall is becoming across the region. Well today a Level 2 Drought (see below) is being declared by the Rideau Valley Conservation Authority, the first in over 10 years. This will include the entire Ottawa River watershed which stretches across the National Capital Region and communities on both sides of the border across Eastern Ontario and Western Quebec. Several Quebec communities draw water from the river including Rigaud, Pincourt and a large part of the municipality of Vaudreuil/Dorion.

In Vaudreuil/Dorion a ban on any outdoor use of water has been declared and residents are expected to reduce consumption by at least 20%. The Ottawa River is at a 10 year low which is prompting officials in the municipality to reduce outflow by up to 50%. Stiff fines are being imposed, up to $500 for violators. The ban includes washing your car and especially watering the lawn (I have seen so many violators already). The restrictions may be extended to other communities including Ile Perrot if rain does not come soon. A ban on any outdoor fires is also in effect for Vaudreuil/Dorion. Firefighters across eastern Ontario and western Quebec have been responding to brush fires, as the tinder dry grass burns easily.

How bad is it? Ottawa has just come off its warmest and driest 12 months in that cities history. Now we are in the middle of a week long period of hot weather with no rain, and this is expected to last well into next week with just a risk of isolated showers. Temperatures will hit at least 30C everyday into next Thursday. Since June 8th, Ottawa has recorded only 19.6mm of rain, or 20 per cent of their normal.

From the Ottawa Citizen, crews battle a brush fire in 33C heat yesterday near Richmond Road.
Here are three levels of drought in Ontario’s low water response plan.
Level 1 Benchmark: Precipitation level over three months or 18 months falls below 80 per cent of average.
Response: Voluntary 10 per cent reduction in water use among all sectors

Level 2 Benchmark: Precipitation level over one month, three months or 18 months falls to between 60 and 40 per cent of average following a confirmed Level 1 or Level 3 drought.
Response: Further voluntary 10 per cent water use reduction (20 per cent total)

Level 3 Benchmark: Precipitation level over one month, three months or 18 months falls below 40 per cent of average, following a confirmed Level 2 drought.
Response: Actions move from largely voluntary compliance to regulatory control.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Warm and very dry

This message now appears on the municipal website for Vaudreuil and Dorion.
Water levels are way down across the Thousand Islands and the St. Lawrence River, making recreational boating a little more dangerous.
The weather continues to warm up this week but the evenings have been very pleasant. We managed a couple of 28C days in Montreal over the last two, but that will change beginning today as the heat and humidity slowly creep up into the weekend. High temperatures should hit 30C today and well into the 30's for the weekend and into next week. Any chances of rain will be very minimal as the extremely dry weather continues across Ontario and Quebec. I took a look at the rainfall for the past three months and it is not far from normal in Montreal. In May Trudeau Airport measured 91.8mm just a little above normal, 73.6mm in June (normal 83.1), and so far a dismal 21.0mm for July, with the normal being 91.3mm for the entire month. Most of that rain fell in one storm as did most of the rain in May. Add to that the scorching record high temperatures and a real water problem is beginning to evolve across the Great Lakes and Seaway on both sides of the border. Watering the lawn, filling your pool and washing the car may are now off limits in Vaudreuil/Dorion, and this may spread to other municipalities in the near future. A outdoor burning ban is also in effect for the region. A look west into Ontario, where our water comes from, shows even less rain with a paltry 12.7mm in Kemptville, with the normal being 97.5mm for July, and only 11mm in Toronto since mid June.

Low water levels on St. Lawrence River
The lack of snowfall and now rainfall has led to a 10 year low in water levels in the St. Lawrence Seaway. According to the St. Lawrence River Board of Control that oversees such issues on both side of the border, water levels are down nearly 10 inches below the normal. This has increased the danger in recreational boating as well as concerns over commercial shipping. If the trend continues, and at the moment it looks like it will for July anyway, the problems will only increase. As I mentioned already this week this is a developing story

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Great weather week

The waterfront in Cornwall, Ontario this past Sunday. Little rain, with the exception of thunderstorms, and sweltering heat, has left the grass a dry yellow. Only 70mm of rain has fallen since June 1. (ValleyWX Photo)
I noticed this morning a little blip in our perfect weather week as some thunderstorms have popped up along a weak disturbance in the atmosphere, near Cornwall/Massena. This very narrow line of storms is sliding into upstate New York and should not be a problem in southern Quebec. Montreal managed a very pleasant high of 25C on Monday with low humidity and just a perfect day all around. The trend is expected to last all week as high pressure crests over the area. As that high moves off shore by Thursday a warmer and more humid southwest flow will develop pushing temperatures into the low 30's. The threat for showers and thunderstorms will also increase by Sunday.

Of Note: It remains hot on the prairies today with highs forecast in the mid 30's. yesterday portions of interior B.C. approached 37C (100F), while Val Marie in Saskatchewan hit 36C. The heatwave in the eastern US has dwindled into the southeast as some relief works its way south. It remains warm everywhere, in many cases upper 80's into the 90's but not as oppressive as the triple digit heat of the last two weeks. More thunderstorms are expected along the frontal boundary across eastern Virginia and the Carolina's as the cooler and drier air works its way south.

Monday, July 09, 2012

Cooler east - warmer west

Montreal was a comfortable 14C this morning as strong high pressure slowly drifts from west to east across the province this week. It was downright cold in some locations with Saranac Lake, NY in the Adirondacks recoding a low of 3C (39F). Temperatures will moderate across Ontario and Quebec from the record values of last week to more seasonable highs of 25C up to 30C by weeks end. Nothing but sunshine is in the forecast through Saturday. The heat and humidity has been pushed back south into the middle Atlantic states where more severe thunderstorms occurred over the weekend with at least fatality and at over 70,000 more without power in New Jersey alone.

Meanwhile the heat will begin to surge out of the desert southwest and across the plains into southern Saskatchewan and Manitoba. Temperatures will approach 115F in Arizona, Nevada and interior California this week with 100's surging north into Montana. In southern Saskatchewan we are looking at highs of 32 to 35C (90-95F).

Ten year low water levels on St. Lawrence River
The heat and dry weather in Quebec and especially Ontario has resulted in very low water levels on the St. Lawrence River around Montreal. The low water is creating difficult travel for pleasure craft with concerns that it will begin to affect commercial shipping. Additional concerns exist for the quality of the water with and increase in turbidity and bacteria levels. This will affect area beaches and more importantly could affect our drinking water. This is a developing story that you will here more on in the coming days. No rain is forecast through the end of the week with only spotty showers the week after.

Friday, July 06, 2012

Record heatwave moves east

New Yorkers flock to Coney Island Beach in triple digit heat.
The story continues to be sweltering temperatures from the deep southern US across the Ohio Valley and Middle Atlantic and into the Great Lakes, Northeast, Ontario and Quebec. Excessive heat advisories and humidex warnings are in place across two provinces including Montreal and at least 20 states as temperatures are generally expected to settle in between 32 and 37C (90-100F) today. That includes Montreal at 32C, we are already at 23C, Toronto at 36C and Windsor/Detroit at 37C. There may be a little relief in the form of a thunderstorm especially in southern Ontario and Quebec. Some relief is on the way for our region as temperatures moderate into the weekend with an outside chance of showers and thunderstorms. Montreal is looking at daytime highs around 28C through Sunday. Looking ahead at the middle and end of the month, it looks like more of the same, hot and dry. The heat is forecast to surge into the west next week with southern Saskatchewan and Manitoba hitting the mid 30's.

Montreal has been lucky, thunderstorms have helped to keep our rainfall totals at decent levels with 20mm this month and 74mm in June. Meanwhile Toronto has had only 11mm since June 11. The heat has proved deadly in many locations with two dozen deaths blamed on the weather in the US. Heat emergencies are in effect in many major east coast cities and some municipalities remain without power after last Friday's storms.

Flooding from Wednesday's storms in Burlington.
(Glenn Russell - Burlington Free Press)
Just a final not on the Wednesday night thunderstorms in Quebec and Vermont. The storm that produced 83 km/h winds in Montreal raced south of the city as a bow echo. Basically this is a line of thunderstorms shaped like a C bowing out in the middle with very strong and sudden winds. The gusts up over 110km/h tore down trees, capsized boats and flattened corn fields from Lacolle and Hemmingford southeast into Champlain, NY and across northern Vermont and into Burlington.

Thursday, July 05, 2012

Storms slam region

Strong thunderstorms move across Highway 20 in Beaconsfield yesterday afternoon. (ValleyWX Pic)
- 83km/h winds at Trudeau Airport
- Baseball size hail in Napierreville
- Large 2-3cm hail on West Island and South Shore
- Rock climber struck by lightning & killed, St. Raymond-de-portneuf.

It was another warm and humid day across Ontario and Quebec on Wednesday with the temperature soaring in places that lost cloud cover early. Toronto hit 36.3C breaking the old record by 0.2 degrees. Windsor was the hot spot in the country at 37.9C or 101F. Windsor's day was interesting to say the least with the daytime high of 38C recorded at 6pm and the daytime low of 18C one hour later at 7pm. The rapid cool down was thanks to strong thunderstorms moving south from Michigan with heavy rain, over 50mm.

Meanwhile Montreal managed to squeeze a 29C (85F) at the airport before big thunderstorms swept the region around 5pm. The storms moved across the island of Montreal from north to south at the worst possible time, rush hour, with heavy rain producing near zero visibility and slowing traffic to a crawl. One inch hail was also reported in the West Island and South Shore with the storm as well as strong gusty winds. Hydro Quebec reported power outages to about 20,000 subscribers in southern Quebec including about 9000 in Montreal. Only minor flooding was reported and other than a few tree branches being blown down, no damage was observed. The same line of storms swept into northern Vermont hitting Burlington around 7pm. They produced four foot waves on Lake Champlain submerging some boats. They also knocked down trees in the Queen City and cut power to thousands of homes and businesses. Numerous trees were knocked over blocking several major roads including Highway 2. Crews were kept busy removing fallen trees from roads and reopening nearly 10 in Burlington alone that were closed at the height of the thunderstorm.

Just some of the tree damage reported in Burlington, Vermont after big storms swept the Queen City around 7pm. (WCAX TV)
It will remain warm across the region into Saturday with daytime highs of 28C here in Montreal today, up to 33C in southwest Ontario. Tomorrow it will be even warmer with highs of 32C in Montreal up to 36C in Toronto and Windsor.

Wednesday, July 04, 2012

Happy 4th of July

Happy 4th of July. I took this photo on the Chesapeake Bay Bridge & Tunnel. (ValleyWX Pic)
It will be a warm and humid day across most of eastern North America on this 4th of July. Temperatures will rise once again into the 90's. A humidex advisory is in effect for southwest Ontario including the GTA for highs in the 33C (92F) range with humidex values over 40C. Here in Montreal it is a very muggy morning with temperatures around 21C (70F), and high temperatures forecast around 30C (86F). Ile Perrot had about 10mm of rain overnight as a few decent showers rolled through in the wee hours. We will have a lull in the activity for most of the morning before a weak cold front crosses the St. Lawrence Valley in the afternoon. There is an elevated risk of a few strong thunderstorms, perhaps producing small hail and heavy rain in southern Quebec and the St. Lawrence Valley by late afternoon.

Hydro One crews from Ontario work in 100F weather in Baltimore, Maryland yesterday, helping to restore power to millions. Meanwhile employees from Hydro Quebec will join them today. (Hydro One Photo)
This has been quite a year for violent thunderstorms across many areas on both sides of the border. The power is still out for hundreds of thousands in the middle Atlantic and Ohio Valley and several tornadoes were reported once again in southern Saskatchewan on Tuesday. I find it odd that in such an active year I have only witnessed two lowly thunderstorms this year, the least of my weather career. I guess it really is all about location, location, location. I missed the big storm here in the city back in late May, and most of the activity has either been west or south of Ile Perrot. My wife calls it my bubble that follows me everywhere, protects me, but I need a little more weather! Time for a road trip I think.

Tuesday, July 03, 2012

Warm with thunderstorms

It was a little cool to start the morning here on Ile Perrot with the temperature dropping to 14C (56F) just before sunrise. The warm July sun and increasing heat from the southwest have warmed us rapidly into the low 20's (23C / 73F) as of 7:30am. Today should be sunny and warm with little chance of any showers during the daylight hours. The likelihood of showers and thunderstorms will increase after midnight and continue into Wednesday across the St. Lawrence Valley as a complex of storms slides from the Midwest across the southern Great Lakes. Temperatures will warm to near 30C each day this week across southern Quebec and Ontario. It will be very humid across southwest Ontario with humidex advisories in place.

HYDRO ONE TO HELP: Meanwhile the heat continues across the eastern US with more records falling, nearly 200 last week alone. Hundreds of thousands are still without power after Friday nights storms making it very dangerous with 100F temperatures and no A/C. Damage is extensive and the restoration process will likely take the entire week. Hydro One from Ontario has sent down three crews with nearly 200 employees to help in the Washington DC & Baltimore metro areas, as well as Virginia.

Monday, July 02, 2012

Warm week ahead

After the storm - a ring of clearing appears after a Saturday afternoon thunderstorm in LaSalle, Quebec. (ValleyWX pic - PJ)
A warm and humid week is on tap for southern Quebec and Ontario. Some of that very hot and humid air over most of the eastern and central US will begin to lift north into our region. Temperatures will start the week in the upper 20's but warm to the low 30's by Wednesday with humidex values approaching 40C. There will be some clouds, showers and thunderstorms as well, starting as early as this afternoon. The rain will not be widespread but more isolated in nature in response to daytime heating and a few weak fronts. Drink plenty of water and keep the sunscreen handy this week. While we are not expecting any severe weather today, as with any thunderstorm, lightning is a real danger so move indoors at the first sound of thunder. Have a great holiday Monday.

Sunday, July 01, 2012

Prairie tornado threat

Strong storms southwest of Moose Jaw Sunday night. (TornadoHunter.ca)
Strong thunderstorms are developing across southern Saskatchewan tonight. Severe thunderstorm warnings and watches stretch along the Trans Canada Highway north and south to the US border. A tornado warning was in effect for the R.M. of Chaplin, west of Moose Jaw but has since been lowered. Strong storms are also affecting the Gravelbourg and Shamrock area northeast towards Moose Jaw. Hail, high winds and isolated tornadoes remain a threat through the evening.

Power cut to 3 million homes

HAPPY CANADA DAY - Ottawa a few minutes ago getting set for the big Canada Day concert. The weather is warm with a few clouds and an outside chance of a thunderstorm.
Thunderstorms are fickle animals at best. They can form quickly and yet dissipate just as fast. One late yesterday afternoon rained on my outdoor BBQ in Verdun when I assured everybody we were good for the day. It was a little embarrassing, but such is the nature of weather. We had another warm and humid day in Montreal reaching 31C (88F) before the storms arrived around 5pm. They were isolated in nature and cooled some areas while others such as here on Ile Perrot had nothing. Today is another humid day but a little cooler on this side of the border, perhaps hitting 28C. We had a shower early this morning, about 2mm of rain, and we may see another later today. It will be a warm and humid week with showers and thunderstorms and temperatures warming to over 30C most of the week.

Linwood, New Jersey thunderstorm damage. (Weather.com)
DERECHO: Our storms were pale in comparison to the massive outbreak of severe weather state side that stretched from Illinois south and east to New Jersey and Virginia overnight Friday and into early Saturday morning. The storms amalgamated together to form one large long lived thunderstorm complex that raced southeast and held together even into the overnight hours. This type of event is called a derecho (Spanish for straight), a widespread and long-lived, violent convectively induced straight-line windstorm that is associated with a fast-moving band of severe thunderstorms in the form of a squall line usually taking the form of a bow echo. This system was particularly violent and deadly coming after days of record heat. The storms cut power to more than 3 million homes and businesses prompting a state of emergency in several states including Ohio and Washington D.C. They also claimed the lives of at least 13, mostly crushed by falling trees, in homes, at campsites and in cars. The power may be out for days, with the heat continuing.

The storms left the region with no air conditioning on Saturday is sweltering heart that was just a little cooler than the all time records set Thursday and Friday. Included in those record highs was Atlanta at 106F and Nashville at 109F, the warmest since record began dating back to the Civil War days.