Friday, December 28, 2012

Historic snowstorm for Montreal - 45cm in 24 hours

Above: Images from the historic snowstorm. (CJAD & The Montreal Gazette)
I never imagined we could have surpassed the Blizzard of 1971 in terms of snow accumulation yesterday, but in the end we did. An incredible amount of snow fell in a very short period of time over the St. Lawrence Valley from Montreal to Cornwall. We are left this morning with towering snow banks and lots of digging out to do. The snow fell fast and furious, at times in excess of 5cm (2 inches) per hour. The end result was chaos on Montreal area highways. Thankfully traffic flow was reduced, but it was bad just the same. Transport Quebec was forced to close several sections of major highways in and around the city during the storm as accidents mounted. At one point cars and trucks sat on Highway 13 south for up to 5 hours without moving. The snow ended with about 2mm of freezing drizzle last evening, kind of like the icing on the cake. In the end we broke all kinds of records, but as I mentioned yesterday, the Blizzard of 1971 was fierce, and does not compare to this storm, except for volume of snow in Montreal. You can find more info on the 1971 storm HERE.

Plowing Boulevard Perrot on Thursday afternoon. (ValleyWeather)
The Numbers
We managed to break three records in one day at Trudeau Airport on Thursday. The snow fell from about 4am to 4pm so in 12 hours we set a new 24 hour record, monthly record and all time record. The previous day record was 37.8cm set in 1969. The monthly record was 41.2cm set in 2005 and finally the big one the all time snow record of 43.2cm set in March 1971 was broken late in the day as we reached 45cm of snow. This brings our monthly snow totals, in what had been a dry fall, up to 81cm. On average December sees about 48cm of snow in Montreal. Other snow totals included 33cm at Brockville, 27cm at Kemptville, and up to 53cm south of the city towards Champlain, New York. For comparison, I measured 40cm (14 inches) on my driveway here on L'Ile Perrot. I could not find a location that was not affected by the wind. I have drifts in my backyard three feet high!

 This morning it is calm and chilly but the precipitation is over as the low moves into Nova Scotia. It will be a partly cloudy day in Montreal with temperatures steady near -4C. Another Nor'Easter will move off the coast of Cape Cod on Saturday with another 2-4cm of snow possible for Montreal. Beyond that we get a bit of a break before a strong cold front arrives New Years Eve, and we start 2013 on the cold side.

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