Friday, January 31, 2014

January over - Super Groundhog Sunday

The famous Pennsylvania Groundhog Phil and his Ontario counterpart Wiarton Willie will both try to predict an end to this wacky - frigid winter on Sunday morning.
Well is would seem we are about to make it through another January in Montreal. It was a bizarre one to say the least with frigid cold surrounding one week of well above normal temperatures, melting snow and flooding. Add to that wicked winds for most of this past week, including overnight when a frontal system produced a surprise gust to 79km/h at Trudeau Airport around 2:30am. It was also a relatively tame month in the snow department with only about 15cm (6 inches) for the entire month. What has fallen over December and January remains piled high everywhere.

We will begin to add to those numbers as February begins with several snowy low pressure areas expected over the next week to 10 days. Today will be breezy and mild as a frontal system clears the area and is replaced by high pressure for the rest of the day and into Saturday morning. Temperatures will warm to -1C today and drop off to -10C tonight. On Saturday clouds will thicken early as a low pressure area moves down the St. Lawrence Valley. Snow will develop by noon and continue into Sunday morning before skies clear out Sunday afternoon. Accumulations will range from 5cm to as much as 15cm north of the city. We then get a break for Monday and Tuesday with seasonable cold temperatures. Another storm may affect Montreal and southern Quebec by next Wednesday. The track and intensity are yet to be determined but the likelihood of some snow is beginning to increase.

Super Groundhog Sunday
This is the weekend when both Punsxsutawney Phil, Wiarton Willie and Peyton Manning all come out to play on the same day. We shall see if winter will last or end early, my bet is the lasting part this year regardless of what the furry forecaster says. As far as the Super Bowl goes, it will be played in East Rutherford, New Jersey, in a cold weather stadium, for the first time. The weather looks decent for February in metro New York. On Sunday a cold front is expected with clouds and scattered showers, but a rather mild high of between 45 to 48F (5 to 8C) by game time.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Warmer weather for Montreal

We are finally going to see a warming trend over the next 48 hours with a broad southwest flow bringing in a much needed break from the frigid cold. Today will be a rather docile day with a few flurries around and partly cloudy skies. Montreal should make it to -6C, we are currently -13C. Winds will be lighter today, thankfully, after three days of blowing and drifting snow across areas highways. The break from the wind will be short lived as a southwest flow up to 50km/h will develop this evening ahead of a weak front. Some light snow overnight and Friday is possible with perhaps 1-3cm. Temperatures on Friday and over the weekend will be even milder, getting close to the freezing point. Another frontal boundary and low pressure area will cross southern Quebec late Saturday with perhaps some measurable snow. At this time it looks like 5-10cm before skies clear out for the big event Sunday, no not the Superbowl, Groundhog Day!

This has to be one of my favorite shots form the southern snowstorm. It is a picture of a wild horse along the northern Outer Banks on the Atlantic Ocean near Corolla, North Carolina. I have my own pictures I have taken of the horses but none this beautiful. (OBX Facebook Page)
The deep south, particularly Atlanta, is still trying to recover from the icy 5-8cm (2-3") "snowstorm" on Tuesday. Thousands were trapped in their cars or forced to sleep in big box stores like Home Depot and Publix overnight. Many school children spent two nights at school. In a laughable twist, the Mayor of Atlanta and Governor of Georgia are trying to blame The National Weather Service for the fiasco on the highways. Nice try, but the timeline shows the warnings and forecast were nearly perfect. Weather forecasting is not black or white, there is often a large grey area. In any event they have to look elsewhere for the blame, it was not the forecasters this time.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Deep - Deep Southern Snowstorm

Gridlock in Downtown Atlanta, Georgia on Tuesday afternoon.
The cold air we have had for most of January managed to find its way to the Gulf Coast of the US yesterday with snow and ice accumulating in places like New Orleans, Biloxi, Mobile and Atlanta. Temperatures more suited for Quebec spread across the deep south with readings from 0C (32F) to as cold as -10C (14F). It was actually warmer in Alaska than the Florida Panhandle. The snow and ice created treacherous driving in communities unable to deal with it. In Atlanta several inches of snow froze over highways and clogged all major roads. Some drivers remained trapped in their vehicles in sub freezing temperatures for up to 18 hours. This included students stuck on school buses in the mess. Over 900 accidents were reported in Atlanta alone. A state of emergency was declared in both Georgia and Alabama. Shelters were established to help warm stranded drivers. In Alabama and Mississippi it was much the same with trucks and cars skidding into ditches and blocking roads. The snow spread north overnight into North Carolina and Virginia with 8-10 inches reported as far north as Norfolk. In my home away from home the Outer Banks, snow covered the normal pristine dunes and beaches. The snow will end today with the cold and gusty north winds beginning to ease by the weekend.

"In the end 2-3.5 inches hit central Georgia. That may not sound like much, but it's usually how much snow falls in the region in a whole year," said CNN meteorologist Taylor Ward.

In Eastern Ontario yesterday snow squalls off Lake Ontario dumped a band of heavy snow from Prince Edward County as far northeast as Brockville. Even this morning travel is not good on that stretch of the 401 where the St. Lawrence River meets Lake Ontario. Some of that moisture will work its way into Montreal today with clouds and flurries. Winds will remain gusty up to 50km/h and it will be cold, but not frigid, up to -10C.

The 401 near Kingston on Tuesday afternoon. Terrible driving again! (TWN)

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Wind and snow create chaos on Quebec - Ontario roads

Blowing snow reducing visibility in St Laurent yesterday afternoon. (ValleyWX)
Yesterday was a day to forget on Quebec and Ontario roads. At one point in the afternoon just about every major route out of Montreal was either blocked or completely closed by accidents. Nearly 200 were reported in the region, many serious including multiple vehicles north and south of the city. Three fatalities were reported, 2 near Quebec City and one near my home just west of Montreal on Highway 30 in Vaudreuil/Dorion. An Alberta Clipper with a little more energy than expected put down about 5-10cm (2-4 inches) of snow during the morning commute. That in itself created very poor driving with numerous delays and small incidents. The big wrecks followed along a trailing arctic front that plowed across the city around 11am, picking up the fresh powdery snow and creating a blinding blizzard. Those conditions lasted for several hours with winds reaching 80km/h in Montreal, stronger south of the city.

One of hundreds of accidents on Quebec and Ontario roads on Monday. This one involved 40 cars near Ste Adele with many injuries. (CTV)
I feel bad, it was a miss on my part. I did not expect the front to be so potent. Neither did Environment Canada, because the blowing snow warning was issued after the event started and worth many already trapped on dangerous roads. In any event it has been an energy draining month with relentless wind and cold, long commutes and lots of accidents. Thankfully very little snow, only 15cm so far this month at Dorval. But as we have seen it does not take much to create chaos.

A winter storm is forecast to spread snow and ice across the normally warm states of Florida and Mississippi today with as much as 1-3 inches forecast. The storm will then impact Georgia and Carolinas with snow and freezing rain. Winter Storm and Ice Warnings stretch from the Florida Panhandle to the Outer Banks and Virginia. This will be a high impact event affecting regions that are unable to deal with the snow and cold. If this keeps up the Groundhog will need security!

Monday, January 27, 2014

Terrible day on Montreal - Quebec - Ontario highways

Firefighters examine the carnage on Highway 15 near St Adele. (Global News)
Strong winds along and behind an arctic cold front produced widespread blowing snow today. Near zero visibility in 60-80km/h wind gusts during the middle part of the day produced numerous accidents and road closures. Highway 15 south of Montreal near St. Philippe was the site of one multi-vehicle accident as was the Laurentian Autoroute north of Montreal near St Adele. The St Adele crash involved over 40 vehicles with numerous injuries, three critical. Firefighters used the Jaws of Life to free nearly 30 drivers. Late today another major collision closed Highway 132 on the South Shore near Matte Blvd in Brossard. Other major accidents were reported on Highway 40 west of Montreal, Highway 417 in North Glengarry, Ontario and the Highway 416 south of Ottawa. Two fatalities were reported in collisions east of Quebec City.

Highway 416 south of Ottawa this morning.

Potent clipper - arctic front sweep city

A slow drive from L'Ile Perrot this morning. It took two hours to go about 30km.
A poorly timed clipper and arctic front is sweeping Montreal this morning, making a mess of the commute. An area of snow moved across the island of Montreal with between 5-10cm falling since 5am. Poor visibility and icy roads have created a rash of accidents on the highways. The front should clear Montreal by noon. Strong gusty winds between 50 - 70km/h will create lots of blowing and drifting snow this afternoon, especially off island south and west of the city. In addition frigid temperatures will return, we are currently at -14C, and will drop to -22C with dangerous wind chill values overnight. Tuesday will be sunny and cold. Poor road conditions are also occurring in other parts of the province as well as Ontario.

Friday, January 24, 2014

A break from the cold - some snow & wind Saturday

Montreal and portions of Ontario and southern Quebec will get a break from this intense cold on Saturday. But before that we have another frigid morning in the city with current temperatures at -24C. A stiff breeze is making it feel like -30C or lower. It was another quick walk with my puppy, she was just as happy as I was to end it. It has been a miserable month, even with the thaw in the middle, this cold really wears you down. Hydro Quebec reported record consumption on Wednesday morning. The cold has also lead to a rash of fires in Quebec, as is the case in this weather, they are very difficult for firefighters, dealing with intense cold.

The break will come at  a price on Saturday as a windy Alberta Clipper moves from the Great Lakes across Quebec. A period of snow will develop Saturday and be blown around by some gusty winds. The heaviest snow will fall closer to the Great Lakes and Ontario where 5-15cm is possible, here in southern Quebec 2 to perhaps 5cm. It will not be a big snowfall but gusty winds between 50 and 80km/h will blow it around, again especially in Ontario. Temperatures will rise today and tonight and reach a respectable -5C on Saturday. It will turn colder on Sunday so enjoy the one day reprieve. A couple of arctic fronts late Saturday and again late Sunday will put us back in the deep freeze by Monday morning.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Frigid morning in Montreal

It is the coldest morning so far this winter at -27.2C (-17F) currently here at my home in southwest metro Montreal. Temperatures are cold everywhere with -35C (-31F) at both Cornwall/Massena and Huntingdon along the US border. Hydro Quebec is asking us to conserve power during the peak hours of 6-9am and 5-8pm as they are expecting record consumption in this cold wave. There is no relief this week with arctic high pressure well in control. Sunshine will prevail with a light breeze and a high of only -19C (-2F) today. Another frigid night is on tap for the entire area with lows down to -25C in the city and as cold as -30C in the suburbs. Thursday is the same as today, -19C with sunshine. There will be a brief warm up over the weekend with temperatures nudging up to -10C or so. Along with the "warmer" weather will be a chance for snow both Saturday and Sunday. This will come from two clipper systems, so expect a general 5-10cm snowfall, perhaps more locally. Not a big storm but as we saw Monday in Montreal, it does not take much to mess up traffic. We dive back into the deep freeze next Monday with another surge of arctic air heading south. Lots of winter left to go folks, so don't think this is over yet, as many thought last week with our prolonged thaw.

Snow clearing operations underway at Reagan National in Washington DC on Tuesday. Despite the best efforts of airports, thousands of flights were cancelled across the northeast including Montreal. (Getty Images)
Speaking of delays, thousands of  flights across North America have been delayed or cancelled as a result of 8-18 inches of snow, strong winds and extreme cold from Norfolk, Virginia north into Halifax and Atlantic Canada. Most major northeast US cities were impacted on Tuesday with Philadelphia and New York receiving 10 inches of snow. The storm responsible for all the weather is off the coast of Cape Cod this morning moving northeast towards Nova Scotia. Blizzard warnings are posted for many regions of Atlantic Canada today.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Brutal cold returns to Quebec - major snowstorm US northeast

Frigid arctic air is well established across Quebec and Ontario this morning with the thaw a fleeting memory. The mercury here on L'Ile Perrot dropped to -24C this morning with -26C in Ottawa. Wind chill readings are in the -30 to -35C range, and in many ways it feels colder than the start of this month. Amazing what a few above freezing days in January can do to your system. It will remain cold for the balance of the week with arctic high pressure in control of our weather. Windchill warnings are in effect for a large portion of Ontario and Quebec but not here in Montreal. Splitting hairs really as we will be just on the edge of the warning criteria. Means nothing, it is still cold out for all of us from Windsor to Quebec City. Sunshine with some clouds will prevail today with an increasing northeast breeze and highs no better than -19C. It will be frigid tonight down to at least -25C in Montreal.

Meanwhile the cold air has reached well into the US once again with many east coast cities remaining well below zero today. A clipper system moving well south of the lower Great Lakes will reach the Atlantic Coast and rapidly intensify. It will then move into the Atlantic well east of Cape Cod. This track favors a windy snowstorm for southern and coastal New England as well as Atlantic Canada. Winter storm warnings are in effect from Washington to Boston with 15-30cm (6-12 inches) forecast. Blizzard warnings are in effect for Cape Cod as well as Nova Scotia and PEI for up to 40cm of snow along with 50-100km/h winds. The storm will start later today and last well into Wednesday. Expect major travel delays if your plans take you to Boston, New York or Halifax.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Winter returns to Ontario & Quebec - cold windchills

An arctic boundary slipped south of Montreal this morning and into upstate New York. Cold air is now pouring into Ontario and Quebec after the mild thaw of last week. Along the front some decent snow squalls occurred late last evening but only dropped between 1-4cm of snow across the region. Light snow is still falling here on L'Ile Perrot as the cold air deepens. We started the night at around -2C and are currently at -12C. This will likely be out high for the day with temperatures continuing to drop to overnight lows of -23C by Tuesday morning. Precipitation should end and sunshine return by late in the day. Winds will be light to moderate at times with windchill readings around -30C by late this afternoon. Windchill advisories are in effect for the US side of the valley in upstate New York and for regions of Quebec well northwest of Montreal.

It will be a cold week with lows of -20 to -23C and daytime highs from -20C to -17C. It will warm a little on Friday ahead of another cold front approaching the region by late Saturday. At this time no major snowstorms are on the horizon for Montreal with just some nuisance snow expected next Saturday. This cold snap will not be as bad as the one to start the month, nevertheless cold air will push south right to the Gulf of Mexico with sub zero Celsius weather forecast to Florida. A coastal storm will brush the middle Atlantic and southern New England region Tuesday with perhaps 15cm (6 inches) of snow in places.

Friday, January 17, 2014

Colder weather this weekend with some snow for Quebec

A dip in the jet stream will allow for some much colder air to work its way into eastern Canada and the US over the next few days. Yesterday was another mild day across the region with highs around 2C and a decent amount of welcome sunshine through the middle hours of the day.

The trend will be to move away from these above normal temperatures and back towards a normal January/mid-winter pattern. It will not be as cold as it was to start the new year but it will be much colder than it has been. We start today with cloud cover and another week low pressure area moving west of Montreal. A few flurries and a mild high of 0C are forecast. On Saturday and Sunday a couple of stronger clipper type systems will move across the region with lots of clouds and periods of light snow with progressively colder weather. This will not be a storm in any sense of the word, but 3-8cm are possible by the end of the weekend in many areas, especially away from the city.

By Sunday night an arctic cold front will cross the region setting the stage for a few days next week with lows around -20C and highs around -15C in Montreal. After the above freezing weather and melting snow of this week, that will seem frightfully cold!

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Winter to slowly return to southern Quebec & Ontario

After December and early January, it appeared that we were in for an old fashion winter with lots of snow and cold, and then the thaw happened. Here we are halfway through January and Montreal has recorded 3.8cm of snow, less than 2 inches. We have also had about 35mm of rain, not a very typical January so far. What makes it even more bizarre was the frigid stretch to start the month followed by this prolonged period of well above normal temperatures, including yesterday as we hit 2C, the normal high is -6C for Montreal.

Today will be mild once again at 0C as more clouds and limited moisture prevail over the region. The dull, almost useless weather will last right through the weekend with warmer than normal temperatures, lots of clouds and very little snow. A few weak systems from the Prairies will move across the region with nothing more than a few flurries. By the middle of next week much colder air will filter into Montreal with highs by Thursday of only -17C. However no major snow events are on the horizon at this time.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Freeze - thaw taking a toll on Montreal roads

Damaged SUV from debris under the Hymus overpass on Highway 40. (Photo Cogeco Nouvelles/Q92)
After starting January with the coldest air in decades, we have gone the other way with a prolonged January thaw. It remains above freezing this morning here on L'Ile Perrot at 2C (36F). It has been at or above freezing since the early hours of Saturday morning here in Montreal. We also have had some light rain overnight with about 3.2mm here in L'Ile Perrot. It will turn colder later today with the temperature falling below freezing to -9C tonight. Look for a few flurries Wednesday with a high back up to 0C .

The swing from sub zero readings to the current temperatures is putting stress on an already fragile road system. As we are already well aware of in Montreal and other portions of North America, our road system is aging. Add to that this brutal combination of extreme cold to heat, along with water and salt and well you get what happened yesterday on the Trans Canada Highway (Highway 40) in Montreal. Around 11:15am, not too far from where I work, and on an overpass I use everyday, a huge piece of concrete fell on the car you see above. Luckily the occupants escaped without injury, but such has not been the case in the past here in Quebec. Transport Quebec and the SQ shut the highway snarling traffic for nearly three hours. An overnight inspection has cleared the overpass/highway for use. Regardless of the cause, weather, poor concrete etc etc, the debate goes on, the warm weather will continue to foster potholes and broken concrete. The roller coaster winter will continue right into this weekend.

Monday, January 13, 2014

January thaw continues

This is the part of winter I don't like! Dirty, massive piles of snow and ice dot the foggy landscape Saturday night in Pointe Claire, Quebec. (ValleyWX)
Winter seems to have taken a break in Montreal replaced with a messy mix of frozen, dirty snow and icy sidewalks. Milder air over the weekend meant rain for all of southern Quebec with freezing rain at the onset Saturday morning. The freezing rain prompted more major delays at Trudeau Airport as well as numerous accidents on area highways especially northeast of Montreal. The mild air is here to stay, the arctic air of last week having been replaced by a westerly Pacific flow. It is at 0C this morning, but will warm to 5C (41F) today and 4C (39F) Tuesday. Clouds will increase today followed by showers tonight and Tuesday. Wednesday looks a little cooler at 0C (32F) with a few flurries around. No major cold or snow is expected in Montreal for the balance of this week. It will turn colder by the weekend - but near normal - not the brutal stuff we had last week.

Once the rainy, mild weather took over the next set of problems evolved, flooding and ice. The ground is still frozen solid, so despite the mild air, there is still a ton of ice around. Ice jams and increased runoff from rain and melting snow has caused flooding along numerous rivers and lakes across southern Quebec and into New England. Riviere-des-Prairies north of Laval has flooded in places as have the Salmon River, St Francis near Sherbrooke and the Tomifobia in Hatley. Several farms in the Cookshire-Eaton region of the Townships reported major flooding on Sunday. Flooding is also occurring across portions of Vermont and New York.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Freezing rain to rain for Montreal

Travel delays again at Trudeau Airport this morning as freezing rain delays flights. (CJAD Photo)
A freezing rain warning remains in effect this morning for Montreal and points north. Freezing rain has been falling in Montreal and Ottawa since early this morning. It should change to rain shortly in Montreal where the temperature is just nudging above the freezing point. The current reading at my home here on L'Ile Perrot in the heart of the St. Lawrence Valley is 0.6C (33F). It will remain icy for several hours as the ground is frozen solid. Eventually milder air and steadier rain will begin to melt some of the ice. The freezing rain is causing more travel problems with roads closed in Vermont, travel not recommended for the time being in St. Lawrence County, New York, and Trudeau Airport in Montreal reporting delays and cancellations.

Flooding will be an issue in portions of Ontario, southern Quebec and New England for the next 24 hours. Between 15-25 mm (0.5-1") of rain combined with very mild temperatures of 8 to 10C (48-50F) and snow melt will increase water runoff into rivers and lakes. Be very careful around them and watch for rising water as well as street flooding where sewers and downspouts are blocked by snow and ice. It will remain wet and foggy overnight along with increasing southwest winds up to 70km/h as a cold front crosses the area. Sunday will be cloudy with temperatures dropping to the freezing point and some flurries around.

Friday, January 10, 2014

Heavy rain - flooding forecast

There is a house somewhere! An incredible amount of snow in Owen Sound, Ontario this week. Flooding is a big threat with heavy rain and rapid snow melt expected this weekend. (The Weather Network)
A major change in the weather will occur this weekend as arctic high pressure retreats back north and we are left with a very warm surge of mild and moist air form the Gulf of Mexico. But first one more cold morning with a low of -17C recorded here on L'Ile Perrot around 3am this morning, it has since warmed to -12C. The rest of the day will be cloudy with some light snow in advance of the main system and mild highs near -3C.

Warm air will continue to stream into southern Quebec overnight with perhaps a period of freezing drizzle or rain before dawn. By Saturday morning enough warm air will filter into the St. Lawrence Valley to change precipitation to all rain. Roads will be icy at the onset overnight but conditions should improve in the city by mid morning. It will remain rather icy across the Ottawa Valley and north of Montreal where freezing rain warnings are posted for tonight. The main concern once we switch to rain will be flooding. With surfaces frozen solid the water will have no place to go but runoff into lakes and rivers as well as pond on roadways. We have so much snow and ice around southern Quebec and Ontario that some flooding will be likely. Another issue may be river flooding where ice jams occur. For that reason a flood watch has been posted by the National Weather Service office in Burlington for all of Vermont and Northern New York. Flooding is also possible across Ontario and western New York where copious amounts of lake effect snow have occurred since Monday. Flooding from ice jams has already been reported along the Niagara River near Buffalo, NY.

It looks like general 25mm (1 inch) of rain is possible for all regions before it tapers to flurries by early Sunday morning as a cold front crosses the region. Temperatures on Saturday will be very mild from plus 5C to 8C (40-46F) forecast for southern Quebec and Ontario. They will drop to near 0C for Sunday.

Thursday, January 09, 2014

Rainy & much warmer weekend ahead for entire region

A special weather statement has been issued by Environment Canada for southern Quebec regarding significant rain this weekend. It is a much calmer morning this Thursday as winds that have been blowing relentlessly since the weekend have finally tapered off. Temperatures are chilly but manageable at -12C. The high today under partly sunny skies should be near -9C in Montreal. High pressure will then drift east of the region allowing for a return southerly flow of milder air. Adding to the flow will be a strengthening storm system from the southern Rockies that will move west of Montreal and into James Bay over the weekend. A warm front will approach Montreal Saturday. Steady precipitation will begin as snow or freezing rain very early Saturday before rapidly changing over to heavy rain at times. Rainfall amount could be significant up to 25mm. The rain along with a very warm January high of 8C (48F) will create lots of melting and potential flooding.

It is hopeful that Canadian Coast Guard ice breakers such as the one above, will be able to clear the ice in the Gulf of St. Lawrence to allow ferry service to resume between Quebec and Newfoundland
There is plenty of ice around on rivers and lakes as well as roads and driveways blocking sewers and downspouts. It would be wise to give them a clear path on your property if you can. All is frozen solid now but should soften up in the sun and warmer weather Friday. Speaking of ice, the residents of Labrador & far eastern Quebec have been dealing with severe river ice in the Gulf of St. Lawrence since Christmas. The ice has resulted in suspension of ferry service from St. Barbe, NFLD to Blanc Sablon, Quebec. Commuters and travelers have been stranded with no means to cross the river. Ice breakers are scrambling to clear some of the ice that has formed in the terrible cold of the last month. Meanwhile the ferry MV Apollo sits in dock in Corner Brook, Newfoundland waiting for the go ahead to return to service. This may happen as early as this Friday.

Wednesday, January 08, 2014

Mild weather on the horizon for Montreal - eastern Canada

The view from the cab of a NYS DOT plow on the Kensington Expressway in Buffalo yesterday. (Sharon Cantillon - Buffalo News)
What a month January has been so far, and it is only the 8th. We have been on a roller coaster of temperatures that has included nearly 65 consecutive hours below -18C (0F) here on L'Ile Perrot to start the month but also a high of 7C (45F). Throw into the mix snow, ice, rain and fierce winds and well you have January far. We are on the way up again with one more cold day here in Montreal this Wednesday before the mercury climbs above freezing by the weekend. Sunshine through Friday as we get a break before a frontal system brings mostly rain for the weekend. That will lead to an entire different host of problems from flooding to potholes - but more on that later in the week. For now, sunshine, windy and cold today with a high of -11C, windchill down to -20 or so, relatively warm! Highs by Saturday could be as warm as 8C.
Lackawanna, New York. All roads were closed by police with a travel ban in place.

Stranded drivers at a truck stop in Cheektowaga, NY.
The weather continued to dominate the news yesterday with heavy lake effect snow paralyzing western New York. The second day of blizzard conditions meant schools, airports and roads were closed in and around Buffalo. Another victim was the NHL game between Buffalo and Carolina which was postponed. Winds hit 60mph across the region along with 1-2 feet of snow. Police were forced to close roads and issue a travel ban across portions of Erie, Genesee and Wyoming Counties. Conditions will begin to slowly improve today.

The cold in eastern North America has thrown air travel into complete chaos. Thousands of flights have been cancelled or delayed with tons of passengers stranded and frustrated in Montreal and Toronto and across the east. By all accounts the airlines have been pathetic in providing service and information to the media and public.

Finally the storm that caused all this mess has lifted well north into Quebec and Nunavut while bombing out. It is almost hurricane like with a central pressure of 940 mb. The storm struck Iqaluit and Baffin Island yesterday with a fierce blizzard. Winds gusted to 141km/h with heavy snow and zero visibility. The wind closed everything and caused widespread power outages and structural damage. Crews are out today assessing the damage across the region and trying to restore power in the face of dropping temperatures.

Tuesday, January 07, 2014

Cold & wind return to southern Quebec - Ontario - NY

Interstate 94 in Michigan City, Indiana is littered with cars after the blizzard this weekend. (The Weather Channel)
What a difference 24 hours can make, it was 6C (43F) yesterday morning here on L'Ile Perrot, this morning I am showing -17C (2F) currently with the windchill fluctuating between -25C and -30C. It will remain that way all day with temperatures nearly stationary and strong winds increasing out of the southwest 50-70km/h. Some flurries with blowing snow is possible today for parts of southern Quebec. A shot of lake effect snow from Lake Ontario actually made it as far as the border areas of southern Quebec, Ontario and New York last night, so highways in those areas are snow covered with blowing and drifting snow. In Montreal we have the ice to contend with after the copious amounts of rain and snow melt from early Monday. Flooding was a problem on many Montreal highways including here on L'Ile Perrot. It has since frozen solid making it dangerous to walk. It will remain cold into Thursday before temperatures moderate back to near the freezing point.

The storm responsible for this mess is now in far northern Quebec. In its wake, it has left behind extreme cold all the way into the deep southern US. Record cold temperatures were established across a wide area from the northern plains to Florida. Dangerous windchill values and blowing snow forced the closure of many highways and stranded thousands at airports from Chicago to Boston, New York, Toronto and Montreal. As a matter of fact Toronto's Pearson Airport has a ground stop until at least 9am this morning. Lake effect snow along the shores of Lakes Huron, Erie and Ontario has created blizzard conditions for many communities south and east of the region. In and around Perth & Huron counties the snow forced the OPP to close highways and even suspend the snowplows. In New York, heavy snow, from 2-3 feet is forecast south of Buffalo. Interstate 81 was closed yesterday south of Watrertown, NY. At one point Chautauqua, New York had heavy snow and 45mph winds with an air temperature of -19C (-2F) and windchill readings below -30, just extreme weather! The snow reduced visibility to under a 1/4 mile for most of Monday. It will continue today.

Monday, January 06, 2014

Windy & turning sharply colder

The warnings this morning across Canada and the US are just too numerous to mention. Cold, ice, snow, wind and a flash freeze are all expected today.
A strong winter storm over eastern Ontario will move across southern Quebec today then to our north this evening. Extreme cold air is on the west side of the storm while warm air has surged north on the east side of the system. Montreal is currently 6C (43F). I must admit with the recent bout of cold weather and the proximity of Montreal to the storm track, I never thought we would get this warm today, but here we are. In any event the freezing rain that fell for a few hours in the city last night has made for some treacherous side streets and sidewalks this morning. The freezing rain also created numerous power outages in Quebec north and east of Montreal. The warmth will be brief as a powerful cold front is moving across Ontario this morning. The front will draw in arctic air with the mercury dropping to -5C this afternoon and down to -20C tonight. Rain will change to snow, with lots of ice around Montreal as heavy rain has been falling most of the overnight period and water accumulation on roadways is significant. In addition to the cold, strong winds of 50-90km/h will make for dangerous windchill values.

The storm has been severe across the Midwest US with blizzard conditions from Illinois and Indiana into southern Ontario west of the track. Air travel has been affected and even some highways closed. Numerous flights from Trudeau Airport in Montreal have been delayed or cancelled. Adding to the snow and wind are some of the coldest temperatures in the last 20 years with windchill readings close to -50C across Manitoba, Minnesota and the Dakotas, in the -30 and 40's from Illinois into Michigan and Ohio and Ontario.

Sunday, January 05, 2014

Freezing Rain Warning for Montreal

The intense cold that gripped Montreal to start 2014 will ease a little today and early Monday. The trade off is that at least 25mm of precipitation in the form of snow, ice and rain are forecast. (Photo by John Kenney - Montreal Gazette)
Strong low pressure will lift northeast today from the mid Mississippi Valley into the Great Lakes and eventually down the St. Lawrence Valley. The storm will deepen while doing so providing most of Ontario and Quebec with a decent storm. Cold air in place today will eventually be pushed out by a surge of warm air from the south. This will allow freezing rain to develop along a wide area of the 401/Montreal to Toronto corridor this afternoon and tonight. Northwest of Ottawa it will be mainly snow with as much as 20cm (8 inches) forecast.

Freezing rain warnings are in effect for a wide area from Ontario into Quebec, portions of Atlantic Canada and northern NY and Vermont. The precipitation has started as snow this morning with as much as 5-10cm possible before the changeover tonight. Up to 15mm of freezing rain is possible in Montreal with less to the southwest in Ontario. Winds will be another factor with this storm increasing to 30-50km/h today and as high as 90km/h on Monday as the storm nears Montreal. Once the system passes to the northeast a strong cold front will sweep through Montreal dropping temperatures rapidly with a quick freeze and a return to dangerous cold late Monday and until Wednesday.

Temperatures currently are -9C (16F) here on L'Ile Perrot, they will rise to as warm as plus 4C (40F) in some parts of the metro region by Monday morning before dropping rapidly to -5C (23F) by Monday afternoon and eventually settle into the -20C (-4F) range by Tuesday morning. This will be a very dramatic temperature swing with lots of ice around so be extra careful Monday.

Saturday, January 04, 2014

A brief break from the cold in Montreal - snow on the way

A spectacular shot of waves crashing into the coast at Hampton Beach yesterday. US Highway 1A along the New Hampshire coast was closed in sections from flooding and severe ice buildup in the arctic cold. The Nor'Easter shut down Nova Scotia as well as parts of New England with 1-2 feet of wind driven snow and record cold. (Hampton Beach Official Facebook page photo)
After nearly 65 hours of below -18C (0F) weather we finally rose above that mark this morning at 8am here at my home on L'Ile Perrot. We are a relatively milder -14C currently. Still cold and damp but better with a mix of sun and cloud and perhaps a few flurries. We should warm to -12C today on a southwest flow ahead of a cold frontal boundary over the central Great Lakes. This front will draw a storm system up from Oklahoma along the lower Great Lakes and down the St. Lawrence Valley by Monday. Montreal will be on the line between snow and rain as we warm to above freezing by Monday morning. Best estimates at this time are for 10cm of snow for metro Montreal before a switch to freezing rain and perhaps rain. Ottawa should see more snow with up to 20cm. We may see warnings later today for a portion of Ontario and Quebec.

The high in Montreal Sunday will be -7C with 0C Monday. It all goes back to snow with a rapid freeze Monday afternoon as the cold front sweeps in. Some of the coldest air in the last 20 years waits behind that front but I think it will modify before it reaches Montreal.

Friday, January 03, 2014

Extreme cold to ease for Montreal - storm by Sunday

It was a bitterly cold morning in Montreal on Thursday. (ValleyWX)
Yesterday was the coldest day in Montreal since the late 60's as the high was only -23C (-9F). The previous record low max was -17.8C (0F) set in 1968. Low temperatures were cold but not record breaking for Montreal with a low of -27.3C (-17F), the record was -28C from 1981. Gusty winds all day made it feel like -40C outside, all around just nasty to do anything other than walk from point A to B. The cold created some power outages as well as thousands of calls to CAA for dead batteries. This morning is a touch better as we sit at yesterday's high temperature of -23C. It is still windy with windchill warnings posted and a windchill reading of -35C at 7am at Trudeau Airport. It remains cold all over the east with Toronto at -23C and Ottawa at -27C this morning. Other regions of Quebec were as cold as -40C yesterday morning with the coldest going to Normandin, Quebec at -46C. Montreal remained on the extreme northern edge of a big Nor'Easter yesterday with about 2cm of snow. Between 6" and 2 feet of snow fell across New England with the most in the western suburbs of Boston. High surf and heavy winds pounded the coastal areas with some flooding. The storm is hitting Atlantic Canada today with blizzard conditions.

Temperatures will rise to -21C today before another bitterly cold night tonight at -26C. On Saturday milder air will begin to move into southern Quebec with a high of -12C forecast and all the way up to -4C on Sunday. The warmer air comes at a price as another winter storm develops over the Midwest and moves towards Montreal. With cold on the backside and warm on the front it looks like a snow or freezing rain event with possibly some rain as well. The track will come more clear over the weekend but it promises to be a messy commute Monday in Ontario and Quebec.

Above: Nearly 2 feet of snow fell west of Boston yesterday.
Below: Meanwhile the entire Seacoast of New Hampshire was hit as well including North Hampton near Hampton Beach. Even rescue vehicles had a hard time on icy highways.

Thursday, January 02, 2014

Extreme cold for Montreal - windchill warning

Montreal remains frigid on the northern edge of a large winter storm.
Windchill warnings are in effect for many regions of Quebec and Ontario including Montreal. A nasty northeast wind this morning is turning a bitter morning into a dangerous one outside. Current temperatures across southern Quebec are in the -25C to -30C range with windchill readings nearing -40C. I have -26C here on L'Ile Perrot with a windchill of -30C. The cold will be with us all day along with clouds and a strengthening northeast wind up to 40km/h. Look for high temperatures to do no better than -22C, extreme cold. Light snow will develop this afternoon.

Montreal remains on the northern edge of a developing coastal low that will move from Cape Hatteras to Atlantic Canada over the next 48 hours. The storm is sending moisture well ahead of it with snow from southern Ontario across central New York and into southern Vermont. As the coastal low strengthens some moisture may make it north into Montreal tonight with perhaps 2-5cm (1-2") of fluffy, very dry snow. With the cold and wind it will not be a nice day outdoors. The storm will slam the northeast and New England with 6" to as much as 2 feet of snow. The snow will be blown around by very strong winds (25-45 mph) causing blizzard conditions at times across coastal Maine, New Hampshire, Massachusetts and Long Island. Coastal flooding is also possible with a strong lunar tide as well as onshore flow. Boston and New York will also have snow with this storm. Travel will be affected across the region today so plan/call ahead. It will remain cold well into the weekend before another storm takes aim at the east for Monday. Milder air with this system will mean a mix of precipitation for us in Montreal by late Sunday.

Wednesday, January 01, 2014

Snowstorm & bitter cold to start 2014 - snowy NHL Winter Classic

It will be a snowy and cold NHL Winter Classic in Ann Arbor, Michigan today.
(The Weather Channel)
Winter weather will dominate the news for the first few days of 2014 as a major winter storm spreads snow, wind and arctic cold from the Great Lakes and upper Midwest across New York and New England and into Atlantic Canada. While the worst of the storm will stay south of Montreal, wind and bitter cold will prevail here in the St. Lawrence Valley. The storm will come together today across the Great Lakes states including Ann Arbor, Michigan where 100,000 fans will pack Michigan Stadium to see the Detroit Red Wings play the Toronto Maple Leafs in the NHL Winter Classic. Between 5-10cm (2-4 inches) of snow is forecast with cold temperatures around -9C at game time this afternoon.

The storm will then merge with one developing over the middle Atlantic sates and give coastal and southern New England a wallop. Heavy snow, strong winds, coastal flooding and dangerous windchill readings are expected from central New York across New Hampshire and into Massachusetts and coastal Maine. Winter storm watches and warnings are spread across the region. Montreal and northern Vermont/NY will receive a glancing blow with 2-5cm of snow and strong northeast winds. The wind combined with cold highs on Thursday will produce windchill values in the minus 30's. Highs on Thursday in Montreal will only be -22C. Travel on Thursday south of the city into the US should be reconsidered. Looking ahead cold weather and more snow are likely Saturday with a break Sunday before another storm and more frigid air arrives Monday.