Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Strong storm highlights April contrasts

Over 20 inches of snow fell in Rapid City, South Dakota on Tuesday. The storm is heading east towards Ontario by late Thursday.
A very intense low pressure area spinning its way from Colorado towards the Great Lakes is highlighting just how changeable April can be. On Monday, Denver reached 72F, while yesterday they recorded there coldest April 9 on record, a full 50 degrees colder at 22F. Meanwhile in the Texas Panhandle, strong winds, snow and ice were falling with temperatures at -1C while in Laredo on the Mexican border it was 106F. Strong thunderstorms were occurring in Nebraska and Kansas while temperatures were below freezing! Winnipeg recorded its 20th straight day of below normal temperatures and record lows were set in Saskatchewan. Heavy snow was falling along the northern edge of the storm with nearly 2 feet in Rapid City, South Dakota. Warnings and watches now stretch from southwest Ontario to the plains states. Heavy rain is expected along and to the south of the track with flooding possible from Missouri to Ohio.

Meanwhile on the warm side of the storm the first heat of the year pushed northward into New Jersey and New York with highs in the low 80's including a record high of 85 in Newark. Boston reached into the low 70's before a sea breeze cooled it back into the lower 50's.

Montreal snowstorm?
What does all this mean for Montreal? Well our unsettled week will continue with temperatures today around the 8C mark for a high. Some showers are possible with mostly cloudy skies. On Thursday the region will begin to feel the effects of the Colorado storm with winds increasing out of the northeast and a cold high of 1 or 2C. Wet snow is expected overnight into Friday across a wide area from Ottawa to Quebec City and portions of the St. Lawrence Valley. At this time is is a little early to nail down amounts, but some areas could see in excess of 15cm while others close to the US border may just have a very cold rain. In Ontario a winter storm watch is already in affect for the southwest where rain will mix with and change to freezing rain late Thursday with significant icing possible. Already lots of freezing rain along the path of this storm with trees and power lines down. We will need to tweak the forecast over the next 24-48 hours so stay tuned. Friday may be a no travel day in the area.

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