Sunday, June 29, 2014

Heat Advisory for Metro Montreal

It was a sultry day across southern Quebec on Sunday with temperatures in the low 30's including 31.3C (88F) here on L'Ile Perrot. Factor in the humidity and it felt closer to 40C Sunday afternoon. Some showers and thunderstorms are occurring in the hot and humid conditions across Ontario and they may spread briefly into Quebec as well early Monday. Environment Canada has issued a heat warning for metro Montreal for Monday with hazy weather forecast and highs near 32C (90F). Humidex readings in the afternoon will once again approach 40C. Drink lots of fluids and don't over exert yourself outdoors. A cold front will bring some relief by Canada Day but also strong thunderstorms with the risk of severe weather including hail for Montreal during the afternoon hours. More on that threat as we get closer to the event.
Major flooding from 100-200mm of rain is being reported in Saskatchewan and Manitoba including Regina (above).
Prairie Flooding
Meanwhile severe flooding is occurring across southwest Manitoba and southeast Saskatchewan. Numerous roads are closed due to flooding including the Tran-Canada Highway near Moosomin. Major flooding has occurred in Regina and rain swollen rivers are starting to put pressure on the lakes region around Winnipeg. Strong storms dumped between 100-200mm (4-8 inches) of rain this weekend. In addition winds have brought down trees and power lines in Winnipeg. Brandon is under a state of emergency after 117mm of rain in the last 24 hours. Major overland flooding is occurring with fields and crops under water and highways washed out. Nearly one dozen Saskatchewan communities are under a state of emergency including Yorkton and Melville.

Friday, June 27, 2014

A perfect weekend for Montreal - sunny & hot

The rain is over for the time being. We are looking at what has been a very wet June in Montreal with nearly 170mm of rain at Trudeau Airport for the month, over double the normal. Other portions of southern Quebec have had even more. A state of emergency remains in effect in Saint-Colomban northwest of Montreal where nearly 100mm of rain fell last Tuesday alone, washing out many roads and flooding homes. Lachute reported 82mm of rain and Montreal 50mm. The slow moving system was across southern and eastern New England as well as Atlantic Canada Thursday with more heavy rain and isolated flooding.

A flooded underpass in the Cartierville district of Montreal on Tuesday night. This is why you do not drive your car into any standing water. Turn around don't drown! (CBC News)
For now high pressure will build into southern Quebec with another ridge building north from the Atlantic. The combination will drive up the temperatures as well as increase the humidity in Montreal. We managed 27C (81F) on Thursday with highs forecast either side of 30C (86F) through Canada Day. Overnight lows will be warm as well near 19C (66F). Nothing but sunshine through the long weekend with the next threat for showers and thunderstorms increasing by Tuesday.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Montreal flooding and another Ontario tornado

Several homes on Paquin Street in Ile Bizzard had to have their basements pumped by Montreal firefighters. (CJAD)
We had a very muggy, wet June 24 holiday in Montreal yesterday with showers and thunderstorms all day long hampering parades and B.B.Q's. The inclement weather was caused by a slow cold front moving south into very warm and mosit tropical air. The result was a day of thunderstorms across southern Ontario and Quebec. The rain accumulated about 12mm over the course of the daylight hours in Montreal, but really increased in intensity in the late evening as another 40mm fell. Over 30mm (1 inch) of that fell in just over one hour between 10:45 and midnight here on L'Ile Perrot. My total for the day was exactly 50mm (2 inches) with 40mm at the airport, and even more in other parts of the city. The heavy rain produced some flooding in several sections of the city including Ile Bizzard where at least 6 homes had major damage with up to 6 feet of water in their basements. Some highways also had to be temporarily closed by Transport Quebec to deal with water accumulation.
More tornado damage shown above in Ontario as the community of New Tecumseth was hit Tuesday afternoon by an EF-1 tornado. (The Weather Network)
In Ontario more severe weather was reported with an EF-1 tornado touching down in New Tecumseth, northwest of Toronto on Tuesday afternoon. The storm had winds in excess of 135km/h and was on the ground for at least 10 kilometers. Environment Canada will be assessing the damage today to provide more details on the 5th Ontario tornado this season. Another funnel cloud with rotation was reported closer to home in North Glengarry, Ontario. No damage was reported with that storm. Meanwhile Ottawa had 55mm of rain with flooding observed in several neighborhoods. Like Montreal, some city streets and highways had to be closed briefly as a result of water accumulation.

What could be our first stretch of really hot summer weather is on the horizon. High pressure will pump warm and increasingly humid air from the US south into the St. Lawrence Valley and the Great Lakes starting as early as Saturday. It looks at this time like we could have several days of temperatures at or above 30C (86F) into next week. Until then temperatures will be in the 22 to 25C (72 to 77F) range with showers today and clearing skies on Thursday.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Warmer & more humid with thunderstorms by Tuesday

A variable sky on Saturday over Montreal with more clouds than sun. Sunday was a perfect weather day. (ValleyWX Photo)
After a great weekend, back to work Monday is looking much warmer and more humid. L'Ile Perrot is already at 19C (66F) early this Monday morning with nothing but sunshine. It will remain that way for the entire day with high temperatures pushing 28C (83F). The work week won't last long here in Quebec, as we have our provincial holiday tomorrow (Le Fete, St jean Baptiste Day), call what you want, it is a day off work. Unfortunately the sunshine will not last either. A frontal system will move into southern Quebec overnight with increasing clouds followed by showers and thunderstorms for Tuesday. Some of the storms may have very heavy rain. It has already been a wet month with nearly 130mm (over 5 inches of rain) here in Montreal. Normal rainfall at Trudeau Airport for June is 87mm, and we are well beyond that with a week to go. Temperatures tonight will remain warm near 20C (68F). On Tuesday cloud cover and showers should keep temperatures down between 21 and 24C (70-75F). It should clear out Wednesday with sunshine and a high near 24C (76F).

Friday, June 20, 2014

Spectacular weekend forecast for Montreal

Summer arrives at 6:51am Saturday morning and it looks like nothing but sunshine and warm temperatures for most portions of southern Quebec and eastern Ontario for the upcoming weekend. Temperatures in Montreal will warm from 22C (72F) today up to near 27C (81F) by Sunday. Overnight lows will be comfortable around 14C (56F), and humidity levels should remain low. The next chance for any precipitation will be late Tuesday as a frontal boundary approaches Quebec with the risk of showers and thunderstorms.

Major flooding is occurring yet again in southern Alberta. (CBC News)
Alberta Flooding
The weather has not been so kind in western Canada as a stubborn area of low pressure meandering around southern Alberta has generated heavy rain and even snow. Rainfall amounts in excess of 200mm (8 inches) since Monday has resulted in flooding around Fort Macleod, Magrath, Claresholm and Lethbridge County, Alberta. This is occurring one year to the date of the severe flooding last June that would eventually spread into Calgary. Flood watches and warnings are in effect across a large portion of southern Alberta, with a state of emergency declared in 11 communities so far.

What a weather week, flood, fire, searing heat, tornadoes and now a snowstorm! Heavy snow fell this week in parts of Utah and Wyoming.
Meanwhile the same system produced a very rare June snowstorm across the northern US Rockies with as much as two feet (60cm) of snow across the upper elevations of northwest Montana, Utah (above) and Wyoming.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Angus, Ontario EF-2 tornado

A major EF2 tornado races across Angus, Ontario late Tuesday. (Video Tina Forget)
Severe weather is in the news again across North America as an elongated area of disturbed weather stretches from the US high plains to the Great Lakes. On Monday twin tornadoes smashed into the tiny northeast Nebraska community of Pilger destroying 75 percent of the town and killing two and critically injuring 16. The same system has been producing very heavy rain across southern Alberta with over 100 mm (4 inches) reported in the Pincher Creek area. This is the same portion of Alberta where major flooding started last summer spreading into Calgary. More rain is forecast today as the system lingers.

Complete damage in the tiny Nebraska town of Pilger on Monday. (The Weather Channel)
The eastern portion of the front raced through Ontario on Tuesday with widespread severe weather. In the early morning hours, lightning struck four golfers in Stouffville, Ontario, leaving one in critical condition. The quick work of an ICU Nurse nearby saved the mans life as she preformed CPR on the victim. It stresses the point I made in my last blog entry (see below) about how important it is to get indoors at the first threat of any lightning. The system also spawned a major EF-2 tornado around 5:30pm, capable of winds in excess of 200km/h. The tornado swept across a neighborhood of Angus, Ontario near Barrie severely damaging over 30 homes. Evacuations were ordered for 300 people. Roofs and sheds were torn apart, power poles were snapped in half, trees down and a truck flipped on its side. One person was injured according to local media. Environment Canada will be on scene today to determine the exact width and intensity of the tornado. Other regions of Ontario including Hamilton were under tornado warnings. Further east 104km/h winds cut power and toppled trees in Trenton. Heavy rain along the 401 corridor produced dangerous driving conditions with zero visibility in sudden downpours. Over 30,000 Ontario homes were left without power from the storms.

(Global News) Major damage was reported in Angus, Ontario. 

As the system arrived in Montreal just after midnight early this morning, torrential rain fell with 24mm (1 inch) in less than 1 hour here on L'Ile Perrot. The system has now raced off to the east and is already over Atlantic Canada. More showers and thunderstorms are possible in Ontario and Quebec today along a weak cold front before we see clearing and cooler weather into the weekend. Temperatures will be warm today near 26C before it cools to 22C on Thursday.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Lightning Safety

At any given second, lightning is striking the earth somewhere, nearly 2000 thunderstorms are active around the earth every minute! Lightning is responsible for numerous death and injuries, and tons of damage to homes, electrical devises and power grids. Numerous fires are also started by lightning.

First of all, there is no safe place outdoors during a thunderstorm, your best defense, get inside. While your chances of being struck by lightning are slim, 10 Canadians pay the ultimate price for that gamble in an average year. Another 150 to 160 are injured, some with injuries that will stay with them for life. The average bolt of lightning contains enough energy, 300 million volts in a typical flash of lightning, to light a 100-watt incandescent light bulb for about three months. The air displaced by lightning is heated to a temperature 5 times that of the sun, nearly 28,000C, (50,000F) enough to melt car tires and burn skin. If you are stuck outside, get as low as you can, make yourself as small as possible.

I took this picture near my home in Kemptville, Ontario back in 2009. Lightning occurs quickly and is one of the top weather killers in North America. (ValleyWX Photo)
One of the myths about lightning is that it never strikes the same place twice. Note that the Empire State building in New York City is struck an average of more than 100 times each year. Rule number one, lightning likes tall objects, stay away from trees. Most deaths across North America are from those who seek shelter under a tree during a thunderstorm, it is one of the worst places you can be. Another is anywhere on or near water. Head ashore as soon as threatening weather approaches. You should always know the risk of thunderstorms when boating or at the beach. Keep a weatheradio with you at all times, they are cheap and could be a lifesaver, or download one of the may weather applications for your smartphone.

Lightning can strike more than 5km from the parent storm, so as soon as you hear thunder, head indoors. Refrain from outdoor activities such as swimming, soccer or golfing for at least 30 minutes after the last thunder occurs. A recent study by Environment Canada indicated that as little as 3-5% of individuals injured or killed by lightning in Canada are by a direct hit. Most occur by ground current (40-50%) or side flash (20-30%). That is why it is so important to refrain from using electrical appliances such as phones or computers that are hardwired directly to your home. Cordless items are fine to use. 

You are relatively safe inside a car, however if a car is directly hit, significant damage, including fire and blown out windows can occur. Just last week a couple from Tofield, Alberta had their truck struck by lighting. The vehicle became engulfed in a fireball and filled with smoke. It rolled to a stop with the electrical system destroyed. They were rescued by a passing RCMP officer. I posted a still image above taken form a nearby security camera.

Another myth, is that people struck can't be touched. A person struck by lightning is safe to handle immediately, they may need CPR or other medical attention. 

Thursday, June 12, 2014

More heavy rain today

NOAA water vapor radar image showing deep moisture streaming north from the Gulf of Mexico towards Quebec this morning.
 The digital rain gauge is showing 39.2mm as of 7am this morning here on L'Ile Perrot, most of that falling overnight. The NOAA water vapor radar image above shows the trail of deep moisture running from the Gulf of Mexico northward into southern Ontario and the St. Lawrence Valley. A special weather statement for upwards of 50mm (2 inches) of rainfall is in effect for Montreal. Judging by the fact we are already at 40mm we may see a little more than that. Meanwhile heavy rain warnings are in effect across eastern Ontario. Many locations have reported over 50mm in the last 24 hours. Trenton received 76.2mm (3 inches) in just the last 24 hours. Flooding was reported in the Niagara Region and along the north shore of Lake Erie. Severe weather with hail, flooding and wind damage occurred from Ohio to the middle Atlantic south into the Carolinas.
Flooding from heavy rain in southern Ontario on Wednesday. (Photo: Twitter @ErieMedia)
The rain has come in waves along with embedded thunderstorms, and that will continue across the entire region today. Temperatures are chilly this morning at 14C but should warm to 20C today under the clouds and rain. On Friday a cold front will produce more showers with thunderstorms. Skies should clear out Saturday morning with sunshine for the weekend. Temperatures will range from 21 to 24C for the weekend in Montreal.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Plenty of rain to end the week for Quebec & Ontario

A sign of hope on a very difficult day in Moncton, New Brunswick on Tuesday. Thoughts and prayers to all involved.(CBC Nova Scotia via Twitter)
A moist weather system from the central US will help draw rain and thunderstorms northward across the eastern US and into the St. Lawrence Valley for the balance of the week. This morning we have sunshine in Montreal with warm temperatures in the high teens. The sun will rapidly begin to fade behind increasing clouds today as we reach 24C (76F). Radar shows rain and thunderstorms across Pennsylvania and Ohio moving into southwest Ontario this morning. The area of precipitation will slowly move into Quebec by this evening. Rain could be heavy at times with slow moving showers and storms. The same system on Tuesday produced flash floods across Metro Washington D.C. as well as portions of Maryland, so there is a history of flooding.

Environment Canada has issued heavy rain warnings for 50-70mm (2-3 inches) of rain across the Ottawa Valley as well as Eastern Ontario. In Quebec we currently have a special weather statement with no active warnings at this time. Forecast amounts here are in the 25-50mm range (1-2 inches) over the next three days. The good news is I think the system will be east of our region by Saturday morning with just clouds left to clear out. The weekend should be fair with warmer temperatures for Montreal, southwest Quebec and Ontario.

Lightning Safety Week in Canada is June 9-15
When the thunder ROARS go INDOORS!
Lightning kills an average of 10 Canadians each year while injuring over 150. I am preparing a blog post for tomorrow featuring more information and ways to stay safe during summer storms.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Unsettled weather week ahead

What a spectacular weekend and Monday in Montreal and across the St. Lawrence Valley. The weather was ideal, perhaps a little too hot, for the  Formula 1 Grand Prix du Canada over the weekend. Temperatures were very close to 30C (86F) both Saturday and Sunday, dropping slightly to 27C (81F) on Monday.

This morning we have a northeast breeze along with clouds and showers that are keeping things cooler. I have 16C (61F) here on L'Ile Perrot, quite a bit cooler than last evening. A weak frontal system will bring showers this morning followed by afternoon clearing. Temperatures in Montreal will eventually make it to 25C (77F) once the clouds clear. Tonight should be fair with lows down to 15C (59F). On Wednesday southern Quebec will begin to feel the effects of a frontal boundary that stretches from the Great Lakes to the Gulf of Mexico. Deep moisture will flow northward with clouds increasing, we can expect the chance for showers and thunderstorms by late in the day. Temperatures will make it up to 25C once again. The showers will become a steady rain late in the day and into Thursday. Rain may be heay at times with in excess of 25mm (1 inch) possible. Friday looks wet as well with clouds and showers. The good news once again is that the weekend looks great. If so this will be the third in a row with sunshine and warm temperatures. Seems like a great way to start the summer, rainy during the week, sunshine on the weekends.

Thursday, June 05, 2014

The most important weather forecast in history - D-Day 1944

Friday is the 70th Anniversary of one of the most important dates of the 20th Century, D- Day, June 6, 1944. The invasion of the Allied Forces at Normandy would be the start of the liberation of mainland Europe and the eventual end of World War II. On this day, I want to express my gratitude to all those brave men and women who paid and continue to pay the ultimate sacrifice so that we can enjoy our freedom. Without them, none of this is possible.

It would be one of the most important weather forecasts ever delivered throughout history. Nearly 160,000 Allied Troops, including 14,000 Canadians, would be relying on its accuracy. The entire free world had a interest in this forecast being correct. It was the forecast for the English Channel during D-Day, the Normandy invasion, in June 1944.

Supreme Commander of the NATO forces, General Dwight D. Eisenhower needed nearly ideal weather conditions to launch the invasion. The perfect day would have a full moon, low tides, clear skies, light winds and low seas. Two such periods matched the low tide scenario, but only one had the light of a full moon, June 5, 6 or 7, 1944.

Destroyed military equipment lies in the surf at Juneau Beach on D-Day, June 6, 1944
The prognostication fell on the backs of a team of forecasters from the UK and the USA, sprinkled with a few other Allied forecasters. The forecast team was lead by British meteorologist James Martin Stagg. Stagg lead three teams of forecasters who would argue back and forth for days testing each others abilities and theories to come up with the right day for the invasion of the Normandy Coast. The safety of the troops and the effectiveness of an entire campaign lay at stake.

It was up to the forecasters to give the best idea as to which 24-hour period would be best to launch the invasion. Early forecasts predicted stormy weather for the time frame in question. Eisenhower wanted a Beaufort Scale wind of 4 or less to give the go ahead. Force 4 winds are 13-18mph with 3.5 to 5 foot seas. Anything greater than that would swamp the landing craft and sink vital equipment. The challenges were many, so the hope was to give the landing forces the best chance possible. Any type of cloud cover would hinder air support and limit paratroopers.

American Troops landing at Omaha Beach, June 6, 1944
The massive Allied Force of nearly 200,000 troops, with over 6500 ships and hundreds of aircraft, began staging as early as June 3 in what had been up to that point a decent stretch of weather. That was about to change, as a series of low pressure systems and fronts travelling across the North Atlantic was about to bring very poor weather. By June 4th, the weather had turned with strong winds, low visibility, high surf and heavy rain. Stagg approached Eisenhower with his advice to delay the invasion and despite the US forecasters insisting the weather was acceptable for an assault, the General decided to wait 24 hours. Thousands of troops remained in place on ships in rough seas for an additional day. The armada was deployed instead in the early hours of June 5 for the 17-hour trip across the English Channel and a June 6 sunrise assault. Despite the 24 hour wait the weather was less than ideal with 5 foot seas, but a vast improvement over the 6 or 8 foot seas and poor visibility during the previous 24 hours. To show how devastating it could have been, even the lower wave action swamped several of the landing craft and left at least 2 dozen tanks submerged at Omaha Beach alone. This would lead to little ground support for Infantry, and massive casualties to the US forces.

The Germans were caught by surprise, as their forecasters had told German command the bad weather would last well into June and thus prevent any invasion. The rest as they say is history with the invasion succeeding but unfortunately at a terrible cost with as many as 10,000 casualties (dead & injured), including 1074 Canadians (359 Canadian deaths). Eleven months later Germany would surrender. You can never downplay the importance of D-Day in bringing World War II to an end. One can only imagine how much worse the invasion would have gone had Eisenhower decided to leave on the 4th while the cold front whipped up heavy rain and strong winds with very highs seas and low visibility. Stagg’s forecast to travel in the relative good weather between low pressure systems on June 5, 1944 no doubt lead to the success of the invasion, as well as saving countless lives.

By the time the initial battle came to an end, the sun was shinning along the Normandy coastline.

Wednesday, June 04, 2014

Big storms sweep city Tuesday

Heavy thunderstorms produced flooding on the West Island Tuesday afternoon. (Global TV)
A line of strong thunderstorms slowly crept across the Island of Montreal yesterday afternoon with strong winds and torrential rain. I measured 33.6mm of rain on L'Ile Perrot in less than two hours but as much as 47mm fell in Sainte-Anne-de-Bellevue and across the West Island. It was a little too much water for storm sewers and flooding resulted. Several roads were closed temporarily while the water receded. A couple of trees were knocked down as well in Pointe Claire and Hydro Quebec reported nearly 30,000 customers without power. The temperature managed a muggy 28C before the storms hit around 1:30pm.

The ragged base of the storm cloud had some scud on the bottom (wind driven cloud). This is often mistaken for a funnel cloud which is being reported today on many media outlets as well as social media. I did not observe a funnel cloud on my side of the airport, just scud, however information provided to Environment Canada suggest one may have occurred near Trudeau Airport around 2:30pm. It did not reach the ground, and no damage or rotation was reported.

Tuesday, June 03, 2014

Wet slow moving storms today for Montreal

SEVERE THUNDERSTORM WATCH metro Montreal for the day today for strong thunderstorms capable of heavy rain.

It has been a rather warm and muggy 24 hours in southern Quebec with temperatures in the low 30's on Monday afternoon. The warmth included a record 30.4C (87F) in both Ottawa and Montreal breaking the record high of 30C set back in 1970. Overnight lows remained very warm between 19 and 22C (66-72F). Today the region is expecting a cold front to slice through the muggy air this afternoon producing widespread showers and thunderstorms. I am not expecting severe weather with the storms today, that is hail or very strong winds, but the rain will be heavy. Some of the storms may produce upwards of 25-50mm (1-2 inches) of rainfall locally which could lead to some flash flooding in poor drainage areas. A watch or warning may be needed later today for portions of eastern Ontario and southwestern Quebec. Watch my Twitter feed for more details. Some sunshine may push us up to a muggy high of 27C (81F) today.

Once the front clears the region we can expect cooler temperatures on Wednesday, 22C, with showers and unsettled weather into Friday. The weekend is expected to be sunny both days with warm high temperatures of 27-30C (80-85F) both days.

Monday, June 02, 2014

Welcome to Meteorological Summer

Summer has arrived, at least according to meteorologists. Officially the summer solstice is June 21st, but the weather really starts to warm up quickly as of June 1st. Such was the case in Montreal this past weekend with much warmer temperatures in the middle 20's and total sunshine. It was a near perfect weekend. The good weather will continue into the start of the week, with even warmer temperatures today, along with an increase in humidity. We have an outside shot at the 1970 record high of 30C today, as we forecast highs near 29C (85F) for metro Montreal. Clouds will increase tonight, but it will remain warm and muggy with lows around 20C. Tuesday through the balance of this week will feature a very slow moving frontal system with cloudy skies along with frequent showers and thunderstorms. It will be warm on Tuesday in the middle 20's dropping to around 20C by Wednesday. The good news is that at this point next weekend looks sunny and warm.

With May over we can take a brief look at the numbers. It was a relatively warm month, even though it really did not feel like it. The average temperature was 14.4C at Trudeau Airport in Montreal, above the 20 year average of 13.4C. The highest temperature was 28.2C with the coolest 3.2C. Rainfall was measured at 95.6mm, the normal is 81.2mm. I had very similar stats at my home on L'Ile Perrot with extremes of 30.2C and 1.2C with an average of 14.4C and almost identical rainfall of 95.8mm.

Summer ice on Lake Superior. (NWS Marquette)
Here is some food for thought as we start summer, there is a blizzard warning in effect for Resolute, NWT today. At 6am this Monday, it was -4C, snowing with a visibility of 0.2km and 68km/h winds. The warning states to avoid all travel! On Lake Superior, ice continues to hug the southern shoreline. Despite the warmer weather huge chunks of ice are prevalent is many bays. The photos above are from the National Weather Service in Marquette Michigan.