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.

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