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.

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