Thursday, November 28, 2013

Arctic air settles into Montreal

Happy Thanksgiving to my family, friends & readers in the US.

Our first winter storm of the year is off into Atlantic Canada this morning after bringing a good 25mm of precipitation to Quebec and Ontario. That included around 13cm of snow for Montreal, with as much as 25cm in Ottawa and varying amounts in between. Winds howled in eastern portions of the province with gusts exceeding 90km/h. Lots of rain also fell with up to 90mm in the Gaspe.

This morning we are left with icy side streets and a cold northwest wind up to 50km/h in Montreal. The temperature here on L'Ile Perrot is -10C but the windchill is close to -18C. It was a brisk walk this morning with Bella, and I had to remind myself there is 4 more months of this to go. At least we are looking at a sunny day, but cold with temperatures no better than -7C. Clear and cold tonight with diminishing winds and lows down in the minus teens. Friday will be sunny and a touch milder, perhaps -5C The weekend it shaping up to be unsettled with a clipper system from western Canada bringing us some light snow late Saturday. It will be milder this weekend near the freezing point.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

More snow - gusty winds & cold tonight

This spectacular shot was taken this morning by my friend and longtime reader Jane. This is the Kemptville Creek near Kemptville, Ontario. (Photo Jane Kinnear)
There has been a lull in the precipitation this afternoon with a steady temperature of around 1C in the metro region. About 13cm of snow fell at the airport in Dorval with upwards of 25cm across eastern Ontario. Warnings have been allowed to expire on the Canadian side of the border but remain posted for upstate New York. More snow will develop this evening on very cold northwest winds to 60km/h. The fresh snow along with dropping temperatures will create very dangerous road conditions into the evening and overnight hours across the entire region on both sides of the Ontario/Quebec and New York border. Look for between 2-8cm of additional snow with the lower amounts in Montreal. Temperatures will be the other story as they plummet from daytime highs of 1C down to between -7 and -10C by morning. Little rise is expected Thursday along with flurries but skies should clear.

Messy storm slams region

Just some of the 10cm of heavy wet snow that fell on L'Ile Perrot overnight.
About 10cm of very heavy wet snow has fallen overnight in and around Montreal with 19cm so far in Ottawa. All this has created problems this morning with icy roads north and west of the city and flooded roads in Montreal and south of the city. Temperatures are right at the freezing point so it remains a mixed bag depending where you are in metro Montreal. It is all snow in Ottawa. 

Schools are closed north of the city across the lower Laurentians. All school bus service has been cancelled in eastern Ontario. There are delays at the airport and some power outages are reported with the Hydro Quebec website indicating 11,000 in the dark. I was awakened this morning by the distinct flash and sound of a transformer shorting out to my north. Low pressure continues to deepen near New York City this morning and will move across eastern New England today. It is a mild 0C on L'Ile Perrot this morning but colder air will spill back into the area late this afternoon with any rain changing back to snow. Winds will also increase to 60km/h and temperatures will plummet to -7C tonight. All this water will freeze up, keep this in mind.

At around 8pm last evening a loud rumble along with a bright flash was observed from the West Island across Vaudreuil/Hudson and as far west as Ottawa and south into New York State. It rattled windows and startled thousands. After all the usual suspects were ruled out, including weather, earthquakes or explosion, it appears a meteorite may have entered the atmosphere, exploding high above the earth's surface.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Winter Storm Warning for Montreal

Heavy snow is moving north across central New York State at 3:45pm. Environment Canada has issued a snowfall warning for Montreal as we have seen a little nudge to the right of the expected track. This will keep more snow falling over Montreal with less rain mixing. Look for between 15-25cm of wet snow beginning after 7pm and lasting until late Wednesday. Winds will be strong as well, up to 60km/h. The heavy wet nature of the snow could create power outages and downed trees. Travel will be very poor by the Wednesday morning commute. Travel with great care.

Winter storm to impact Ontario & Quebec

This is the current snowfall forecast map from Accu Weather for the entire region. Montreal will be right on the dividing line between rain and snow with the metro region cut in half. Northwest of the city 25cm, southeast of the city less than 10cm.
The much anticipated first winter storm of the season is upon here in Montreal this morning. Winter storm warnings have been posted across a wide area from eastern Ontario, Kingston to Ottawa and east into metro Montreal and towards Quebec City. Low pressure in the Gulf of Mexico will race northeast towards New Jersey on Wednesday, and then across New Hampshire into Thursday morning. This places the St. Lawrence Valley in the sweet spot for snow with freezing rain and rain mixed in from Montreal eastward. Accumulations will be very dependent on the temperature in your backyard, but best estimated are for 10-20cm in Montreal with 20-30cm from Lachute across the Ottawa Valley, Kemptville and into Brockville. This is a good size storm at any time of the year, but especially for the first one, so the Wednesday commute should be interesting in Montreal.

Snow will start late this evening and mix with rain tomorrow morning in Montreal. It then goes back to a steady snow late Wednesday with strong winds developing and dropping temperatures. Thursday looks windy with some blowing snow and colder. Temperatures will be either side of 0C for the next 24 hours in Montreal before dropping off late Wednesday to overnight lows of -6C. There will be lots of ice around and roads will be snow covered so plan your travel accordingly.

The same forecast holds true for New York and Vermont with the rain/snow line setting up across the Champlain Valley. Warnings are in place for those regions as well with the busy Thanksgiving travel period starting tomorrow.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Winter Storm Update

This past weekend over 50cm of snow piled up in the lee of the Great Lakes near London, Ontario. (TWC)
We continue to monitor a nasty weather system that has brought heavy rain and snow to portions of the southern Plains over this past weekend. The storm is expected to merge with a weaker clipper system off the east coast and form quite a strong low pressure area near the Outer Banks. This storm will then lift north into New England.

What this means for Montreal is a good chance of steady precipitation from late Tuesday into late Wednesday night. We could be looking at in excess of 25mm (1 inch) of precipitation in various forms of frozen and liquid. The freezing line will be right through metro Montreal making for a very tricky forecast. The best guess at this time is about 15cm of wet snow split between the start and end of precipitation with about 10mm of rain or freezing rain in between. It will all be blown around by strong winds
of 50km/h in the St. Lawrence Valley.

So far the only mention on this side of the border is a Special Weather Statement by Environment Canada. South of the border in New York and Vermont, winter storm watches have been hoisted. A watch means that there is still considerable uncertainty in the forecast, but prepare and wait until a warning is posted for a more specific geographical region along with amounts and type of precip.

Temperatures are frigid this morning around -13C here in Montreal with wind chill reading to -20C. They will warm to near 0C today along with some light snow from the clipper by tonight. Tuesday will be cloudy as we wait for snow to develop by late in the day. Temperatures will warm to 2 or 3C Wednesday before plummeting again by Thursday.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Snow or rain? Storm this week for Montreal

Models agree on a storm but not on the precipitation type. A snow to rain event in Montreal is likely.
It is looking more and more likely that a major east coast storm will affect Montreal and eastern Ontario this week. Computer models are depicting a strong low pressure area developing off the North Carolina coast and moving northeast towards New York City. After that the storm either moves inland or just off the coast. Either way a large amount of precipitation, up to 25mm, and very strong winds are likely for Montreal and southern Quebec as well as eastern Ontario.

The problem currently lies in where the snow/rain line will fall. The GFS model has rain on the South Shore of Montreal with snow across the Ottawa River and points north like Laval and Hudson. One thing is certain we will have quite a bit of precipitation and wind starting late Tuesday and into Wednesday night. Travel for a large portion of our area will become difficult Wednesday morning. This includes of course New York and Vermont where Thanksgiving travel will be underway. Already this week snow squalls produced major accidents in Vermont with a fatality and multiple injures. Plan ahead for winter driving.

I will post another update early Monday morning and also on my Twitter feed.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Coldest air of season moves into Montreal tonight

A strong arctic front over Ontario this morning will arrive in the St. Lawrence Valley by late this afternoon accompanied by a quick burst of snow and strong winds. Some localities may receive as much as 5cm of snow from Ottawa to Montreal as the front moves through. Roads may be icy and visibility lowered during the frontal passage. Temperatures are cold this morning around -3C, we may gain a degree or two but not much more. Tonight the mercury will drop to -7C with strong west winds over 50km/h and cold windchill readings. On Sunday it will be windy and cold with some of the coldest November air in the last 20 years in place. It will stay around -7C and drop to -14C overnight into Monday. That is a full 10 degrees Celsius below normal. Snow squalls are likely around the Great Lakes from Ontario into New York. Warnings are in place.

Wednesday Snowstorm?
Our concerns then will turn towards a US system that is expected to move across the Gulf Coast states and US Southeast before moving into the Atlantic Ocean near Virginia Beach. Both the European and Global models both pick up this feature but do very different things with it. One scenario has it hugging the coast northward into New England as a very strong coastal storm. This would of course mean a storm with lots of precipitation and wind for Montreal. The other has a track further out into the Atlantic with no precipitation for Montreal. I am watching this closely this weekend and will provide further updates.

Friday, November 22, 2013

What role did the weather play in the Kennedy assassination?

The front page of  The Montreal Gazette from Saturday, November 23, 1963.
Today marks the 50th anniversary of the death of President John F. Kennedy, assassinated by Lee Harvey Oswald in Dallas, Texas on Friday, November 22, 1963. There was a chance that the horrific events of  that day might not have happened at all had the weather forecast been right. The day was grey and gloomy as the President arrived at the Airport in Dallas earlier that morning. Weather records indicate that 0.06" of rain had fallen with more forecast for the day. This would likely mean a plexiglass bubble would have been used on the Presidents 1961 midnight blue Lincoln Convertible to keep him and the First Lady dry. Unfortunately as the motorcade was set to leave for the cross town journey at 11:50am the weather turned bright and sunny and even warm for late November. The mercury at Love Field in Dallas would reach 70F (21C) after a cool overnight low of 55F (13C). Other sources I checked had the overnight lows as cool as the 40's. But the warm Texas sun and southerly winds between 15-30mph would push temperatures up and with the unexpected sunshine, the President decided not to go with the plexiglas covering. Shots would ring out at Dealey Plaza at 12:30pm killing the 35th President of the United States and seriously injuring Texas Governor John Connally.

By all accounts the 60's were a turbulent decade that seemed to start that fateful day back in 1963. The death of  JFK greatly shocked and saddened Americans and Canadians alike including my mother, who was 33 at the time and decided to keep scrapbooks of every news clipping surrounding the assassination and aftermath. The books she kept were a wealth of information when I decided to take a peek through them somewhere around my 10th birthday. I actually read each and every article, sparking my interest in newspapers. It is hard to believe 50 years has passed and yet the pain and loss continue for many, as well as the questions and theories as to how it all played out. One thing was certain, the world lost a courageous leader that day, far too early.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Welcome to winter - snow by Sunday in Montreal

Well it really feels like mid-winter this morning in Montreal and clear across the country. Temperatures this morning are in the -7C to -10C range across the metro region. Thankfully the wind has finally dropped off after two days of gusts over 50km/h. It will be sunny today but chilly with highs only around 0C for Montreal. A frontal system will approach the region Friday with a warm front crossing southern Quebec. The front will produce some showers and slightly milder highs of 4C. By the weekend a strong arctic cold front will cross Ontario and Quebec with the coldest air of the season arriving by Sunday. The cold air will be accompanied by snow squalls and wind with driving conditions likely being very winter like by Sunday from the Great Lakes into Montreal. High temperatures by Sunday will be no better than -3. More details will follow on that scenario as the event draws closer, but prepare for winter driving now.

Maggie the dog survived 30 hours buried in the rubble after the Washington, Illinois tornado on Sunday. (TWC Photo)
By now most of my regular readers of this blog know how much I love dogs. I often feature or speak of my little 22 pound Terrier rescue Bella, who actually saved me. She is a gem who would give her life to save mine, that I have no doubt. Over the weekend a series of just devastating tornadoes swept across the upper Midwest US from Illinois to Kentucky. Some of the most destructive damage was done in Washington, Illinois. One of the victims, John Byler Dann, survived the fierce EF-4 storm with his four young children in a safe room in their 5 year old home in Washington. The house was all but destroyed but the family survived, all but their 11 year old family dog Maggie, or so they thought. Nearly 30 hours later, in the rubble that was once their home, they found Maggie, wrapped in a carpet with a displaced hip, but otherwise alive. It is just a tremendous story of  the will to survive along with just how much joy a dog brings to our lives. You can read the entire story with photos here at The Weather Channel.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Massive late season tornadoes hit Midwest

A house blocks a road in Kokomo, Indiana after a tornado on Sunday. AP Photo.
A strong storm system moved into northeast Ontario overnight trailing a potent cold front that has caused widespread damage. The front generated some rare November severe weather on Sunday, with 81 tornadoes reported in six US states. Included in those storms was a likely EF-4 tornado capable of winds approaching 200 mph. That storm leveled the town of Washington, Illinois, and with other storms, claimed six lives and injured hundreds more. It was the first EF-4 tornado ever recorded in Illinois in November. The late season thunderstorms also produced major damage from Ontario and Michigan into Indiana and Kentucky. This morning the thunderstorms have weakened but the wind continues. Strong gusts along and behind the cold front could reach 80km/h in metro Montreal. The wind has knocked out power to nearly 20,000 Quebec homes.
The damage is unimaginable and complete in Washington, Illinois after a likley EF-4 tornado on Sunday afternoon. AP Photo.
The cold front is ushering in much cooler air with temperatures in Montreal falling from 15C at 4am this morning down to 6C by this afternoon. The wind will ease gradually overnight tonight as the storm pulls into central Quebec. About 15mm of rain has fallen since late Sunday here on L'Ile Perrot.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

High Winds expected for St. Lawrence Valley

Strong low pressure will move from the Great Lakes today into southern Quebec overnight. An area of very strong winds will develop by midnight tonight and last a good 12 hours for Montreal. Winds of 30-50km/h will develop today ahead of a cold front associated with the storm. Those winds will increase to 50-90km/h tonight and into Monday morning with some gusts to 100km/h possible along the north shore of Lake Ontario. High Wind Warnings are in place from the southwest St. Lawrence Valley towards southwest Ontario as well as the Richelieu Valley of southern Quebec. They may be extended later today into metro Montreal. Heavy rain will also develop with the frontal passage with 15-25mm possible along with a rubble of thunder. Highs today will be warm around 13C (55F) and remain steady overnight before falling on Monday to around 5C (41F) by late in the day. It will be windy and cold Monday night with lows below freeing and a few flurries in Montreal. The cooler air is here for some time with snow even possible by next Saturday.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Warm & windy weekend for Montreal

Enjoy this final shot of warm air for the year as the forecast looks cold beyond next Tuesday right to the end of 2013. We have another surge of warm air from the south today with highs up to 10C (50F) in Montreal. Winds will be lighter than they have been this week, so it will be quite pleasant outdoors. The weekend looks great with mild air well established pushing temperatures unto the low teens Saturday and Sunday. It should remain dry for most of the weekend. The leading edge of cloud cover from a strengthening Great Lakes storm will not arrive until late Sunday.

That storm will move into Quebec on Monday with a very windy and rainy day in the south and turning colder with snow in the central regions. Rainfall may be in excess of 25mm here in Montreal along with winds easily over 50km/h. That will be followed by and Arctic front introducing the coldest air thus far this season. Highs for the balance of next week will remain below freezing with some flurries. Low temperatures will drop to as cold as -10C in southern Quebec. My suggestion is that you wrap up outdoor preparations for winter this weekend, get those snow tires on and put the patio furniture away. This may well be the last real nice warm weekend for some time.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Desperate for help in the Phillipines

While aid continues to pour into the Philippines after Typhoon Haiyan, the situation on the ground remains desperate. Bodies and debris are hindering efforts to distribute the relief and many have gone days without food and water. The US already has troops on the ground and Canada has deployed our DART team which specializes in helping after major disasters. The last time the team was deployed was to Haiti after the 2010 earthquake. A Canadian Forces C-17 left Trenton early this week with about 50 of the 200 member team. The rest are following with more supplies and equipment. The DART team has four specific areas of specialty, basic medical care, water purification, infrastructure repair and communications. The death toll currently stands at 2200 but as many as 10,000 are feared dead, trapped in the rubble. Please help if you can, relief agencies in Canada say they need financial help the most so they can allocate the funds quickly. The Federal Government will match donations made in Canada until December 8. You can click on the Red Cross logo above right to donate quickly and safely.

Numerous injuries occurred yesterday in snow squalls near Barrie, Ontario. CTV News.
We have been sent into mid-winter conditions this morning with lows at -8C and windchills down to -13C currently on L'Ile Perrot. It will be cold today with highs only near -1C, but dry with some sunshine. Flurries are possible as well especially away from the city. Yesterday was an icy commute for many in Ontario and Quebec, the first of the year with light snow and icy patches leading to accidents. Please slow down as winter driving is here and get those tires on. Snow, as much as 10cm, also fell around the Great Lakes with Highway 400 north of Toronto towards Barrie closed for a time yesterday after several multiple vehicle crashes. It will warm up to end the week with temperatures into the low teens on the weekend before another arctic surge next week. Rain is likely this weekend from both a warm front and the trailing cold front by Monday night.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Take time to Remember

My father told me from a very young age just how important it was to wear a Poppy and observe a moment of silence on November 11 to pay respect to those who fought and continue to protect our rights and freedoms. It is not taken lightly in my home as I am fully aware of how great Canada is and how much freedom we enjoy as a result of the many who died in the terrible wars of our past. It seems so easy to do, simply wear a poppy and say thank you. As per usual it will be a chilly and blustery day in Ottawa and Montreal for the ceremonies which start at 10:30 am at various locations including Parliament Hill and here in Montreal on the McGill Campus. Skies will be mostly cloudy with temperatures around 3C and a biting west wind.

That wind and cloud cover will be a hint of a strong cold front in the Great Lakes this morning that will enter the St. Lawrence Valley early this afternoon. Showers and strong winds will transition into some snow flurries after dark this evening. Wide areas of southwest Ontario and portions of Quebec, north of Montreal have snow squall watches in effect. Up to 10cm of snow is possible in the most persistent squalls, especially south and east of Lake Huron. In Montreal light rain will mix with snow before ending by midnight. It will turn windy and cold tonight with lows of -5C. Keep this in mind if driving this evening, there will likely be icy spots around. The balance of the week will be fair and dry with moderating temperatures. Highs will not making it above 0C on Tuesday, but should warm to 6 or 7C by Friday.

One of the strongest storms ever to hit land on earth is weakening over Vietnam this morning after nearly leveling portions of the Philippines on Friday. Haiyan produced winds over 200mph with a storm surge over 20 feet high across the southern island nation. Tsunami like waves destroyed entire villages and most of Tacloban City. Relief efforts our underway but the scope of the disaster and the loss of infrastructure is making it very difficult. The death toll is at 1200 but estimates are that it could reach over 10,000. The Canadian Government is already committed $5 million in relief aid and is matching donations made to relief agencies. Please help if you can at

Friday, November 08, 2013

Cold weekend with some snow for Quebec

Chibougamau: Snow fell in portions of central Quebec on Thursday with more expected this weekend.
Winter is on our doorstep this morning as snow is falling in portions of Quebec and Ontario as well as western Canada. Cold air is pretty well established across the country with the exception of both coasts. Montreal is currently 1C (33F) and that will likely be the high today perhaps a degree warmer. Clouds will dominate along with a stray snowflake or two. Heavier bursts of snow have fallen across central Quebec with Chibougamau reporting several centimetres along with cold temperatures. That portion of Quebec along with the regions just north of Montreal including Tremblant will see more snow this weekend as a clipper system moves from the Prairies across Ontario. Another 5cm of snow is expected this weekend from late Saturday into Sunday. After a dry day today Montreal can expect clouds to increase Saturday morning followed by rain and snow showers. It will be cold Saturday but warm slightly Sunday. An arctic front will cross the region late Monday with a burst of heavier precipitation that could be in the form of snow. The balance of next week looks dry and cold at this time.

A spectacular image of  the well defined eye of  Super Typhoon Haiyan (Yolanda) making landfall south of Manilla in the Philippines late yesterday.
Quite possibly the strongest storm ever on this planet is racing across the Philippines this morning. Haiyan or Yolanda as it is called locally, is one of the strongest storms ever observed at landfall on the planet. This morning the storms well defined center core is reporting 195 mph winds with gusts to 235mph (Category 5). A tremendous storm surge has flooded coastal regions with widespread destruction reported. Nearly 1 million were evacuated from the storms path. So far 4 deaths have been reported but it is very early in the aftermath with Haiyan still affecting portions of the country and communications down.

Swift moving Typhoon Haiyan has produced a major storm surge such as this one in the Albay region. (CTV NEWS)

Thursday, November 07, 2013

Cold weather returns to Montreal - snow next week?

The back edge of a cold front is nearly through Montreal this morning with winds increasing out of the southwest and light rain falling. About 5mm of rain fell since late Wednesday with just a few more sprinkles expected. Skies will slowly clear out today with gusty winds up to 60km/h. The high was reached in the wee hours this morning at nearly 15C (59F), we currently sit at 11C and will drop to 4C by late this afternoon. Look for lows around -1C tonight with perhaps a stray snowflake. The weekend at this time from Friday to Sunday looks quite variable with colder temperatures and the chance of some rain or snow showers late Saturday. There may be more snow by next Tuesday as colder air filters into the east with temperatures running well below normal. Any precipitation at this time would be light, but it could be snow. Stay tuned!

Monday, November 04, 2013

Calm and cold Monday

Hydro crews remove a tree from a crushed car in Montreal on Saturday. (CTV)
It is the coldest morning of the season so far in Montreal with -6C at the Airport and -5C here on L'Ile Perrot. I twill be a calm, dry day after the major windstorm on Friday. Look for sunshine through Wednesday along with a gradual warming trend. Highs today will be only around 2 or 3C (35-40F) with lows back well below freezing tonight. It will warm to 8C (48F) on Tuesday.

It took the better part of the weekend along with utility crews from Vermont and New Brunswick for all the power to be restored after that wild wind on Friday put over half a million Ontario and Quebec homes in the dark. Gusts out of the southwest ahead of a cold front reached 100-110km/h (60-65 mph) from Lake Ontario towards northern Maine. Hundreds of thousands of Quebec homes and businesses were plunged into the dark after trees fell on power lines and even some power poles came down. Damage was widespread with many trees falling on homes and cars, damage to roofs and other infrastructure being reported. Sadly one tree crushed a woman in her car in Port Colborne, Ontario.

Meanwhile winter is well established across western Canada with portions of Alberta and Saskatchewan reporting 10-30cm of snow on the ground. This morning temperatures are very cold with blowing snow reported in both Regina and Saskatoon. Edmonton is -9C after 10cm of snow and Calagry is -6C. Over 30cm fell in Red Deer with travel very poor over the weekend. It will remain cold this week.
Numerous accidents were reported along Highway 2 in Alberta after heavy snow and strong winds this past weekend.  Get ready now folks across the rest of Canada and slow down to avoid this. We all have the power.(Alberta RCMP)

Friday, November 01, 2013

Fierce winds pound province

Strong winds generated by a powerful storm produced lots of damage in southern Quebec today. The low with a central pressure of 962mb, equivalent to a category two hurricane, moved from the Great Lakes towards Ottawa. Winds have gusted between 90-100km/h in Montreal since the noon hour. Widespread damage has been reported with numerous trees down some on cars and power out to over 300,000 homes according to Hydro Quebec. Thousands more are without power in Ontario and New York. One fatality was reported near Port Colborne after a tree fell on a motorist. Warnings remain in effect with winds expected to drop after midnight. The images below are of a tree down on a car in NDG as well as waves being whipped up on the St. Lawrence River in Lachine.

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