Saturday, January 31, 2015

Frigid weekend for Montreal

The 10-15cm of snow that fell on southern Quebec Friday made for a slick commute in Montreal. (ValleyWX Photo) 
Another shot of arctic air has arrived in southern Quebec this morning. Skies are clear, but it is breezy and very cold in Montreal with a 10am temperature of -21C and windchill values down in the minus 30's. It will be sunny all day with increasing clouds late in the day. A weak front will cross the area tonight with a just a few flurries. It will be cold again on Sunday and well into next week. Another winter storm is forecast to develop today over the Midwest US and spread snow to places like Chicago, Detroit and Pittsburgh before heading east to NYC and Boston on Sunday. We will likely remain on the northern edge of this system late Sunday and Monday with just some clouds, but it will have to be monitored for a northward shift.

Friday, January 30, 2015

Breezy & cold Superbowl Weekend for Quebec

The calm before the snow...The setting sun illuminates this lighthouse along the frozen shores of the St. Lawrence River in Lachine on Wednesday. (ValleyWX Photo)
A clipper system is moving across southern Quebec this morning with light snow. A good 10cm will be the final tally in Montreal, with as much as 15cm north and south of the city. Roads are snow covered this morning but temperatures are mild, currently at our high for the day of -4C (25F). The snow will taper off by noon with dropping temperatures and gusty northwest winds. The wind will be between 30-50km/h for the balance of the day creating areas of blowing and drifting snow as well as low windchill values across southern Quebec and Ontario. A windchill warning is in effect for the US side of the St. Lawrence Valley as well as portions of New York and Vermont. With temperatures dropping to -22C (-8F) tonight and winds in excess of 30km/h, the windchill will be dangerous, as low as -33C (-28F) in Montreal and Ottawa.

The weekend will be sunny but cold with highs only near -15C (5F) and lows down to -22C (-8F) in Montreal. The cold will last well into next week with well below normal temperatures forecast. The only good news, the rain falling in Phoenix, home of the 2015 NFL Superbowl, will stop in time for Sunday's big game. It will be sunny at game time with a forecast high of 19C (67F). GO PATS!

Thursday, January 29, 2015

"Mini storm" to affect southern Quebec & Ontario

Special Weather Statement posted for most of eastern Ontario and portions of southern Quebec for snow and blowing snow. Winter Weather Advisory for the St. Lawrence Valley of New York and northern Champlain Valley of NY & Vermont. No warnings yet for Montreal but it will be an "advisory" type snowfall if Environment Canada used such terminology.

The Details...
Low pressure will move from the Great Lakes today down the St. Lawrence Valley bringing snow and blowing snow to Montreal, Ottawa and Quebec City starting late today and lasting into Friday. The storm is rather disorganized in nature but will still bring us more snow than we have seen at any other time in January. We start the day at -20C (-4F) on L'Ile Perrot, clear and cold once again, a theme that has been replayed countless times this January. Clouds will increase today with snow developing by late afternoon from Kingston to Cornwall before moving into Montreal by the evening commute. Once it starts it will snow steadily until noon or so Friday. Expect a good 10cm (4 inches) in most locations with 15cm (6 inches) right along the St. Lawrence River, including metro Montreal. Temperatures will warm today to -4C (25F) and up to -1C (30F) early Friday morning, before an arctic front plunges the temperature down to -13C (9F) by days end. It will turn windy as well Friday, gusting up to 50km/h causing blowing snow in Ontario and Quebec. Driving may be challenging at times. Skies will slowly clear Friday night setting up a sunny but very cold weekend. Lows will be near -22C (-8F) with highs no better than -13C (9F).

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Storm ends for New England - snow for Montreal Thursday

A car is buried under nearly 30 inches of snow in Hampton Beach, New Hampshire on Tuesday. (Seacoast Online Photo)
A strong coastal storm produced record amounts of snow across eastern coastal New England on Wednesday with nearly 24 inches in Boston and a whopping 34.5 inches in Worcester, Massachusetts, their biggest one day storm ever. The system also produced heavy snow across Atlantic Canada with over 35cm in Moncton and blizzard conditions for hours. Winds were very strong, approaching hurricane force along the New England coast and driving a huge amount of ocean water and waves into the shoreline. Flooding and damage was reported south of Boston in Scituate and Marshfield among other locations. The collapse of a seawall in Marshfield during the height of the storm, damaged several homes with injuries reported. The National Guard was forced to carry out evacuations in some towns. The strong winds also knocked out power to thousands especially in Cape Cod and the islands. Heavy snow also hit New Hampshire and Maine with close to 30 inches in Hampton.

Pounding waves caused damage to many homes in Marshfield, Mass. (via Twitter @KarenWBZradio)
The snow worked its way inland but tapered off quickly with only light amounts across northern Vermont and portions of southern Quebec. The snow got as close as the south shore of Montreal, but no accumulations were reported in the city or here on L'Ile Perrot.

Looking ahead we can expect clearing skies today across the region, but it will be cold, only -10C (14F). Clear skies tonight with a low of -14C (6F) will give way to increasing clouds on Thursday as the next low pressure area approaches form the Great Lakes. It will be milder Thursday with a high of -6C (21F). We can expect snow to start late in the day in eastern Ontario and spread into Quebec by the evening commute. Steady snow and gusty winds are likely into Friday morning with a good 10cm (4 inches) expected in Montreal and Ottawa. It will turn cold again for the weekend with another shot at measurable snow by Monday. More on that as the week progresses.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Nor'Easter slams Boston but spares NYC & Montreal

A classic, spectacular image of the east coast storm from space. Clouds as far back as Montreal with a cold front trailing into the Caribbean Sea and dry air in the middle working its way into Nova Scotia.
After a media frenzy in New York City on Monday, and the eventual shutdown of that cities subway system for the first time in its history, it appears the storm will spare NYC. Airlines cancelled thousands of flights today in and out of the Big Apple in preparation for the onslaught forecast. The problem is, snowstorms are very difficult to pin down, especially coastal systems. Determining where the heaviest snow will set up is always a challenge. This storm did develop as expected and it very strong this morning, southeast of the Massachusetts coastline. But the heaviest snow spared New York City and is pounding eastern Long Island, as well as southern New England including Boston.

No cars and no snow for the Big Apple this morning. (Sun Sentinel)
This classic northeaster that looks like a storm out of a textbook is dealing a heavy blow to coastal communities in Massachusetts. Overnight 20 foot seas pounded the region with flooding reported in places like Plymouth and Scituate. Winds gusting to near hurricane force of 75mph hit Nantucket Island as well as coastal areas into Maine into Nova Scotia. Around 11 inches of snow has been reported in Boston and it is still snowing heavily in that city. Inland in southern New Hampshire, Connecticut and Massachusetts as much as 16 inches has been reported with two feet still forecast. Further north in Atlantic Canada, blizzard warnings are in effect with the region virtually shut down today. All flights have been cancelled and schools are closed with 30cm of wind driven snow expected.

In Quebec, any snow expected is sill limited to the border regions as well as the Gaspe where warnings are posted. Only 1cm or 2 is forecast for Montreal. Strong winds will funnel down the St. Lawrence Valley with gusts to 90km/h forecast in Quebec City, and already approaching 60km/h in Montreal. It is very cold in Montreal this morning with windchill readings around -26C. (-15F). The high will only be -11C, windy, cold and flurries.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Strong Nor'Easter to hammer east coast - brush Quebec

Long Island Expressway in New York this afternoon (via Twitter WPXI)
 5pm EST Update...
A powerful and perhaps historic Nor'Easter is developing this afternoon off the coast of North Carolina and is expected to move towards Cape Cod on Tuesday. Rapid intensification is expected with a 40-50 millibar pressure drop in less than 24 hours forecast. Heavy snow is already falling well in advance of the main storm across southern New England and metro New York City. Forecast blizzard conditions are expected overnight with accumulations reaching 12-24 inches and even up to 36" from metro NYC northeast into Massachusetts. Strong winds are forecast up to 65mph. Coastal flooding is also a big concern with warnings now posted. Thousands of flights have been cancelled already in northeast hubs with the prospect of a complete shutdown Tuesday in New York and Boston. A travel ban has been declared in Massachusetts for Tuesday. This storm could rival the historic Blizzard of 78. Away from the coast heavy snow is forecast northward into central Vermont and New Hampshire. Blizzard conditions are also forecast for New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and P.E.I. Heavy snow will fall along the Gaspe coast of Quebec.

Latest forecast amounts as of 3:30pm Monday

Effects in Quebec
In southern Quebec strong northeast winds will develop on Tuesday gusting from 60km/h in metro Montreal up to 90km/h in Quebec City where warnings are in effect. Windchill values will be very cold with a high of only -11C expected and windchill readings down in the minus 20's. As far as snow goes, we are looking at 5cm for Montreal tomorrow evening, and upwards of 10-15cm for the Townships into the Beauce. Blowing snow will greatly reduce visibility in and east of Quebec City Tuesday night.

Wicked winter storm to pound New England & New York

Montreal, once again, will remain on the western edge of a coastal snowstorm.
There is plenty of weather to talk about this morning so let's get right into it. First it is another cold morning in Montreal, but very calm. The current temperature at my home on L'Ile Perrot is -25C (-13F). Montreal can expect sunshine today with a high near -12C. Yesterday was cold in the east but record warmth occurred across western Canada. Dozens of new record highs were established including 17.2C (63F) in Calagry and 9.6C (49F) in Edmonton. On the east coast what was left of the first snowstorm to affect Atlantic Canada produced winds in excess of 150km/h in Newfoundland. That same storm brought 15-30cm of snow over the weekend to most of Atlantic Canada.

Powerful Historic Nor'Easter
That brings us to the current storm, a weak, unsuspecting area of low pressure meandering across the Ohio Valley this morning. That system will move off the middle Atlantic coast today and explode into a powerful Nor'Easter. The storm will then slowly move northeast towards Nova Scotia over the next 48 hours. With arctic air in place, copious amounts of Atlantic moisture will be drawn into New York and New England producing historic snowfalls in some locations. The computer models are indicating 2 to 3 feet (60-90cm) of snow in a swath from metro New York and New Jersey into central Massachusetts. In addition to the snow, strong winds will gust to hurricane force along the coast and perhaps 50mph inland. Visibility will be nil in snow and blowing snow with travel nearly impossible on Tuesday. Coastal flooding will also impact the region especially along the flood prone Massachusetts and New Hampshire coasts. With blizzard conditions forecast, expect major travel delays anywhere along the east coast on Tuesday and perhaps Wednesday. The storm will also impact interior portions of New England, Quebec and Atlantic Canada with 15-30cm of wind whipped snow.

At this time, the St. Lawrence Valley and Montreal are expected to remain on the western edge of the storm with a cold northeast wind to 60km/h as well as a few flurries. Snowfall amounts in the city will be light as high pressure over us will limit mositure. As you move south and east towards Sherbrooke and Vermont, snow amounts will increase to between 5-15cm. Beyond the border area it just keeps getting deeper as you head south and east. I strongly recommend postponing any travel plans that take you into New England or east into portions of the Gaspe or the Maritimes Tuesday.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

New Nor'easter threatens east coast - may miss Montreal

A major storm will impact New England and eastern Canada this week. (AccuWeather)
Just 24 hours after telling you all things looked quiet for Montreal for the next week, it appears a new east coast storm will edge further westward into southern and eastern Quebec on Tuesday. Let's start with yesterday's storm that completely missed Montreal but left 15-30cm of snow from New Jersey into New Brunswick. As the storm bombed out overnight east of Nova Scotia winds picked up as well gusting to nearly 80km/h in Halifax. Montreal received about 1cm of snow last evening from an arctic cold front, as well as a few hours of freezing drizzle in advance of the front. The temperatures were mild on Saturday in Montreal at 0C (32F) but have since dropped to the current reading here on L'Ile Perrot of -15C (5F). It will be sunny but cold today and Monday with highs near -11C (12F) in Montreal.

Montreal will remain right on the edge of the precipitation shield with perhaps 5cm of snow on Tuesday. It will be windy and cold.
NEW Nor'Easter
A new clipper-type low pressure system will be moving from the Prairies across the Ohio Valley on Monday and off the coast of Virginia by late in the day. It will then strengthen and is forecast to become a powerful Nor'Easter that will make news as it moves towards Nova Scotia by Wednesday. Just 36 hours ago the models had this storm system passing well out to sea. But now it is expected to move much closer to the coast and provide all of New England and eastern Canada with a major storm. Some portions of the coastal regions from New York to Atlantic Canada could see 30-60cm (1-2 feet) of snow. Winds are forecast to howl over 100km/h (60 mph) with the snow on Tuesday causing blizzard conditions in Boston and New York City. High surf may cause coastal flooding for New England and Nova Scotia. This storm will be strengthening as it slowly moves northeast along the coast. Winds are forecast to increase out of the northeast on Tuesday in Montreal (over 50km/h) and the rest of southern Quebec as well. We can now expect some snow on Tuesday, but the bulk of the accumulations will be well south and east of Montreal. I expect perhaps 5cm (2 inches) for Montreal, more for the Townships and Quebec City, but this will have to be watched closely as there remains much uncertainty with the exact track. Travel will be very difficult to impossible in eastern Quebec, New Brunswick, P.E.I, portions of Nova Scotia as well as New England, so if you have plans Tuesday pay close attention to later forecasts. So far in our region, a Winter Storm Watch is in effect for southern Vermont as well as a Special Weather Statement for Atlantic Canada.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Another coastal miss for Montreal - cold week ahead

Heavy snow is falling this morning from New Jersey (above) into coastal New England. For many it i the first snow of the season.(Photo via Twitter @justinhfd126)
In what has been an all too familiar pattern this winter, another coastal storm will pass by southern Quebec to the southeast and move into Atlantic Canada Sunday. Low pressure east of New Jersey this morning will deepen rapidly as it lifts towards Nova Scotia tonight. Heavy wet snow and rain along with strong winds are occurring from the middle Atlantic region towards eastern Massachusetts this morning. The snow will spread into Maine and eventually New Brunswick later this afternoon. Decent amounts of snow are forecast in a narrow band with 15-30cm (6-12 inches) expected from New England into New Brunswick. There is a sharp cutoff of precipitation west of the storm track with just light snow across southern New Hampshire and Vermont. As the storm deepens rapidly tonight, winds will increase along the coast with some coastal flooding possible. The snow, and rain for Nova Scotia, will spread into Newfoundland on Sunday. A wide range of warnings are in effect including a winter storm warning for the Gaspe region of Quebec as well as the lower north shore. Winds will gust over 100km/h in eastern Quebec with the snow.

Meanwhile an arctic cold front will bring an end to the mild temperatures in Ontario and Quebec. Montreal was 0C (32F) Friday and can expect a high of -1C (30F) today under cloudy skies. The cold front will cross the region late this afternoon and this evening with some light snow possible. At best 1-3cm may fall locally across southern Quebec and eastern Ontario. Temperatures will fall quickly overnight under gusty northwest winds of 20-40km/h, down to -14C (7F), along with cold wind chill values. Sunshine returns Sunday, but it will be breezy and cold. For most of this upcoming week arctic high pressure remains in control, temperatures will be cold with lows around -18C (0F) and highs no better than -10C (14F). The next chance for snow in Montreal will come along yet another arctic front late in the week.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Big snow in Labrador - calm & cold for Montreal

Heavy snow buried Labrador City and Wabush Tuesday and Wednesday halting all travel. (The Weather Network)
The weather is tranquil in southern Quebec, but cold this morning. We have another -20C (-4F) morning on L'Ile Perrot, but I must be getting acclimatized because it did not feel that cold walking the dog. Winds are light, expect sunshine today with some passing clouds and a high temperature near -10C (14F) in metro Montreal. High pressure remains in control into early Friday before a weak trough of low pressure brings us some very light snow Friday evening into Saturday morning. Skies will clear for the weekend with a mild Saturday followed by more cold weather for Sunday and into next week. The cold weather will be with us through the end of January and into February looking at the long term prospects. No major storms are expected at this time in Montreal or eastern Ontario through next week.

A winter storm will affect New York and Boston this weekend northeast into Atlantic Canada, but miss southern Quebec.
The storm track has been deflected further south into the middle Atlantic states. Low pressure this weekend will bring a swathe of 15-30cm (6-12 inches) snowfall from West Virginia into Atlantic Canada. It could be the first big snowfall of the season for places like New York and Boston. At this time the storm will stay well south of Quebec with no impacts expected.

Labrador Blizzard
The storm that affected southern Quebec on Monday with snow and rain strengthened and brought a fierce winter storm to Labrador and western Newfoundland. Nearly 80cm of snow fell in Wabush with businesses and schools closed across western Labrador. Travel and any form of transportation was nearly impossible with winds gusting over 70km/h. Temperatures are frigid behind the storm with -43C this morning in Labrador City. The region now has over 150cm (60 inches) of snow on the ground in many places. Roads between Wabush and Churchill Falls were closed Tuesday but reopened Wednesday despite less than ideal conditions. It will remain frigid this weekend.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Clear & cold week ahead for southern Quebec

January is one tough month to get through, very ironic as we start the new year with so much hope and energy. Truth is, here in Montreal at least, it is a dark, windy and cold month. This month for example we have only been above freezing on two days, both those days had stormy weather to compensate for the warmth. It is cold again this morning, currently at -19C (-2F) at my home on L'Ile Perrot, with clear skies but a gusty northwest winds making it feel more like -28C. It will not warm much today, perhaps -13C or so by late this afternoon. Another cold night tonight with a forecast low of -18C. The rest of the week looks tranquil with the next chance of precipitation coming from a weak system Saturday. No big storms on the horizon, just seasonal cold and typical January weather.

Just one example of the thousands of accidents that occured Sunday and early Monday on New England and Northeast US highways due to ice.
Carnage on Northeast Roads
The winter storm over the weekend proved not to be a strong as originally thought. Montreal had between 5-10cm of snow, depending where you were in the metro area. Other regions had between 10-20cm of snow with the most falling over the Green Mountains of Vermont as well as northeast of Quebec City and in Labrador. The big news form this weekends storm is how deadly it turned on Northeast U.S. and New England highways. Light rain onto very cold highways produced black ice Sunday morning. Thousands of accidents were reported from Pennsylvania into Vermont with 9 fatalities and scores of injuries. Many highways were closed including major interstates. Two of the deaths occurred just outside Burlington, Vermont on Monday morning. Others occurred in two separate pile ups in eastern Pennsylvania on Sunday. Black ice as well as excessive speed were reported as the cause of most accidents. I hate freezing rain, it just plain scares me, and not too much does, it is unforgiving. The best advice always is just stay home or delay your departure if at all possible.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Montreal on the western edge of east coast storm

Mild temperatures today made for a perfect day outdoors at Cap St. Jacques nature park on the West Island of Montreal. (ValleyWX Photo)
Montreal remains on the western edge of an east coast low pressure area at this time. Moisture continues to surge north into New England and southern Quebec this evening. Temperatures warmed above freezing today in Montreal, reaching a very mild 4C (39F), however in the last few hours cold air has filtered in from the north just as the precipitation has arrived, it is now -2C (28F). Light snow is falling as of 7:30pm here on L'Ile Perrot. The rain and snow line is splitting the city of Montreal in half this evening, snow west, rain east.

A mix of rain, freezing rain and wet snow is likely tonight across southern Quebec, with the heaviest precipitation falling across the Townships, north and east into Quebec City and central Quebec. My initial forecast last Thursday of 10-15cm for Montreal still looks good. Upwards of 20cm or more is possible for Quebec City, and portions of central Quebec may see as much as 50cm. Freezing rain will be a problem tonight in many regions of southern Quebec as it has been across New England today. Drive with great caution and expect slick roads everywhere. Rain is falling in the Townships, but that will change to snow tonight. The snow will taper off from west to east by late Monday. Temperatures will drop Monday in Montreal down to -5C by late in the day. Strong gusty winds up to 50km/h will cause some blowing and drifting snow.

Current Warnings:
Winter Storm Warning: Quebec City, North Central & Northeast Vermont.
Winter Weather Advisory: Champlain Valley of NY & Vermont.
Rainfall Warning: Eastern Townships

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Potential storm a tricky forecast for Montreal

Lakeshore Drive in Dorval on Friday. Another messy and slow January commute in Montreal. (ValleyWX Photo)
There seem to be no easy solutions when it comes to forecasting storms in the St. Lawrence Valley. For reasons too numerous to mention this potential Sunday night storm falls under the tricky category. Cold air is well established this morning in southern Quebec, with another -24C (-11F) morning here on L'Ile Perrot. Sunshine will prevail today but it will be cold, no better than -18C (0F) by late in the day. Tonight warmer air will begin flowing into the region as low pressure mover across the western Great Lakes. Sunday will be cloudy, but much warmer with a high of 0C (32F). Another low pressure area will begin to develop along the east coast and slowly move northeast towards New England late Sunday night. This storm will send a surge of moisture inland over Vermont and into southern Quebec into the morning hours Monday. Temperature profiles at this time suggest mostly snow for metro Montreal, a change from 24 hours ago. Best forecast at this time has snow starting late Sunday and lasting into the Monday morning commute in Montreal. I will stick with my initial feeling of 10-15cm of fresh snow for Montreal, much less west of the city and more east and southeast of Montreal, but with the risk of rain mixing in as well for Sherbrooke and the Townships.

So far a Winter Storm Watch has been posted for the Champlain Valley and Vermont with a special weather statement for the Townships. Please keep in mind this forecast is a challenging one with several different scenarios being presented by the forecast models. I will monitor the forecasts and data and provide updates all weekend. Stay warm!

Friday, January 16, 2015

Frigid Friday - potential weekend storm for Quebec

The track of the storm forecast for late Sunday has become rather difficult to pinpoint. This will dictate how much snow falls in Montreal as we remain on the edge of the precipitation shield. It could be significant.
We are awaiting the arrival of an arctic front slipping across the Ottawa Valley early this morning. Along the front is a brief shot of heavy snow and blowing snow dropping 2-4cm with gusty winds. Behind it more cold air pouring into the region. Montreal is currently -3C (27F), our high for the day. Temperatures will drop towards -12C (10F) by days end and to -22C (-8F) overnight. Strong northwest winds up to 50km/h will produce dangerous wind chill values across Ontario, Quebec and northern New England today, especially on the ski hills. As quickly as temperatures fall today, they will begin to rebound Saturday and Sunday as warmer air circulates around low pressure developing south of the Great Lakes. Highs Saturday under partly cloudy skies will be -10C (14F) with 0C (32F) Sunday.

A second more potent storm still looks likely late Sunday into Monday for a portion of our area. The models continue to disagree on the track and intensity of the storm, leading to low forecast confidence at this time. It certainly looks like we will see accumulating snow late Sunday into the Monday morning commute in Montreal. At this point amounts and the exact location remain difficult at best. I am watching this closely and will post updates later today. In the meantime stay warm today and drive safe.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Storm possible this weekend for southern Quebec

A storm system moving across the southern US produced freezing rain in the middle Atlantic and Carolinas Wednesday. This fire truck slid off the road in Henderson, North Carolina, just one of hundreds of major accidents. More wintry weather is possible this weekend into the Northeast and New England.
It is another chilly, slippery morning in metro Montreal, but not as cold as the last few days. The temperature here on L'Ile Perrot and at Trudeau Airport is at -19C (-2F) with a light northeast wind and some very light snow or ice crystals. As with yesterday morning the threat for icy bridges and overpasses exist, especially near any open bodies of water around Montreal. Sunshine will develop again this morning but with increasing clouds as another arctic cold front approaches western Quebec by late today. Snow will develop this evening and overnight from northwest to southeast across southern Quebec with a general 2-5cm forecast. The temperature will be rather mild tonight, rising to around -8C (18F) before the cold air behind the front takes hold Friday morning. Winds will also increase overnight from the southwest 30-50km/h and continue into Friday with some blowing snow possible. Early Friday morning a line of more intense snow or squalls may develop right along the front creating some short lived but rather difficult travel with heavy snow and low visibility. The front will clear Montreal by mid morning with dropping temperatures down to -15C (5F) by late in the day.

Forecast models are coming into better agreement regarding snow and mixed precipitation this upcoming weekend for portions of southern Quebec and New England. Low pressure along the Gulf Coast will redevelop near the North Carolina and Virginia border Saturday and move northeast into New England by late Sunday. The models have the storm tracking anywhere from Albany towards the immediate coast. The exact track of the low pressure area will determine the type and quantity of precipitation for Montreal. At this time it looks like snow developing Sunday in Montreal and continuing into the evening with more than 15cm (6 inches) possible. Further south and east into the Townships and New England the snow will likely mix with freezing rain and rain. This system will have to be monitored closely as it is expected to have an impact on travel Sunday into Monday. It will turn colder again Monday with flurries and gusty winds behind the storm.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Minus 20's as arctic chill continues in Montreal

An eerie scene in N.D.G. this morning as fire cut through a duplex overnight. 20 people were left homeless and firefighters had to struggle in -25C weather to contain the blaze. (Montreal Gazette Photo)
Strong high pressure located over southern Quebec brought clear skies and arctic temperatures overnight across the region. The low here at my home on L'Ile Perrot was -26.3C (-15F) for the second coldest night this winter. The extreme cold over the last 24 hours has done exactly what you would expect it to do, with a rash of accidents on icy bridges and overpasses as well as a few major fires. There have also been numerous water main breaks that have made a mess as water gushes out and then freezes solid. The cold also put a strain on Hydro Quebec's supply of electricity, forcing the utility to load share on Tuesday morning. This is a process of cutting power for short periods of time to various customers to save the entire system from overload. Nearly 300,000 homes were affected in the province, mostly here in the south, with the power out from 15 minutes to as much as a few hours on Tuesday morning. So far this morning everything seems fine as far as electricity is concerned.

Ice fog this morning has prompted a special weather statement from Environment Canada indicating that black ice has formed on area bridges and elevated roadways in metro Montreal. This problem should clear by mid-morning as temperatures very slowly warm today under sunshine to -13C (9F). It will be cold again tonight under clear skies, dropping to -20C (-4F). Another cold front will approach Ontario and Quebec late Thursday into Friday with perhaps a few snow showers. It will be relatively mild Thursday up to -10C (14F) and -7C (19F) Friday, but winds will increase making it feel cold and damp outdoors. Saturday looks cold once again before a very mild Sunday but with a chance of snow.

Monday, January 12, 2015

Cold week ahead for Montreal

A weak clipper system will give Montreal 5cm of snow Monday before another surge of arctic air tonight.
 Snow is falling this Monday afternoon in Montreal and across most of Eastern Quebec and Southern Ontario. We are not expecting much in the way of accumulations, perhaps 5cm (2 inches) in the city, and a little more to the south. It is mild currently with a temperature around -2C (29F) in Montreal. It won't last much longer as another arctic cold front is moving across the Ottawa Valley. Behind that front is a surge of cold air on gusty northwest winds. The temperature has dropped down to -13C (9F) in North Bay, Ontario this afternoon and that cold air is on the way. Expect a very cold night in the St. Lawrence Valley as the snow tapers off to a few flurries with lows plummeting to -22C (-8F). There may be a brief period of steady snow along the front late this afternoon, but it will be short lived. Skies will clear out tonight and remain that way for most of the week. High temperatures on Tuesday under sunny skies will only be -16C (3F). It will be very cold again Wednesday night, down to -20C (-4F) before we begin a slow warming trend into the upcoming weekend. At this time no major storms are on the horizon for southern Quebec and eastern Ontario.

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Wild winter weather week

A spectacular accident Friday morning on I-94 near near Battle Creek, Michigan involved 150 vehicles, including a fireworks truck that exploded. 22 were injured and one Canadian truck driver killed in the collision caused by snow squalls. (CNN)

Ice storms, thousands without power, brutal cold, frost quakes, two hour commutes, over 30cm of snow and numerous multiple vehicle accidents, welcome to the first week of 2015. Whew, take a break, you made it to Saturday. That can only be described as one wild weather week in Montreal and across most of the continent. Brutal cold dropped temperatures in Montreal to -28C (-18F) on Thursday morning. It was as cold as -40C (-40F) with the wind. Parts of central Quebec had lows in the minus 40's. It has snowed everyday in January so far in Montreal, for a total of 33cm (13 inches). You can add to that 28mm of freezing rain last Sunday, that knocked power out to over 150,000 Quebec homes and left roads and sidewalks in dangerous shape. Numerous injuries occurred from people falling on the ice.

Frost Quakes
If that was not enough, in the wee hours of Monday morning, I was shaken out of bed at around 2:30am by what I thought was an earthquake. Turns out it was a frost quake or cryoseism. It was heard and felt across the West Island and here on L'Ile Perrot. Frost quakes occur with rapid changes in temperature as well as precipitation seeping into the ground and then freezing quickly as it did last Sunday in Montreal. This puts stress on the surrounding rock until it is released with a loud boom and in some cases even a crack or shake!

Treacherous Roads
The week also featured terrible roads conditions across the Great Lakes region into Ontario, New England and Southern Quebec. Brutal cold, combined with snow squalls iced up roads and cut visibility rapidly. I spent over 12 hours in my car commuting around metro Montreal this week, including two hours Friday morning just to go 28km (17 miles). The weather conditions lead to a rash of major accidents including one yesterday on Interstate 94 near Battle Creek, Michigan. The accident involved more than 150 vehicles with one fatality and 20 injuries. The one death was sadly a truck driver from Quebec. Michigan State Police had to close the highway in both directions for over 14 hours. It was just one example of many that occurred this week.

This morning it is quiet so far in Montreal and chilly at -12C. A few snowflakes are possible all weekend with a chance for accumulating snow Sunday night into Monday morning almost guaranteeing us another slow commute. It will be milder this weekend but turn cold to start next week. You have to love January, but I don't!

Friday, January 09, 2015

Frigid air creates dangerous travel across Ontario & Quebec

The cleanup from the weekend storm continues in Montreal, despite the brutal cold, and the new snow falling. (Twitter Photo)
It has certainly been a difficult week for anyone driving or walking around Montreal as well southern Quebec and Ontario. Frigid air that surged into the region after the ice storm on Sunday bottomed out yesterday with an early morning low of -28.2C (-19F) here on L'Ile Perrot. That represents the coldest reading I have had since I moved here in 2009. It surpassed the previous low of -27.3C (-17F) set last January 2, but fell short of the record low for the date of -31.2C set in 1968. Along with the cold came a rash of problems on area highways created by black ice as well as ice fog, but mostly from drivers inability to slow down in bad weather. I saw at least 4 separate accidents on my travels, but that was just a small fraction of the problems reported during the two rush hour periods.

The good news is it is about 20 degrees warmer this morning in Montreal, at -9C (16F) than 24 hours ago. The bad news is snow is falling again. It is very light, at least in Montreal, ahead of another arctic front. That front will move through the St. Lawrence Valley this morning with gusty west winds up to 50km/h and some steady snow. Expect around 2-4cm in Montreal with much more, perhaps 10-15cm along the 401 towards Kingston. Blowing snow will also be a problem through the noon hour as winds increase. Temperatures are pretty much as warm as they are going to get today. Tonight will be partly cloudy and cold with lows around -16C (3F). On Saturday expect partly sunny skies, breezy and chilly with a high of -12C (10F). Another weak area of low pressure and cold front will affect Montreal on Sunday with flurries and a mild high of -5C (23F) before the frontal passage.

The big weather story the next 48 hours will be intense snow squalls over the Great Lakes. Portions of Ontario and western New York around Buffalo and Watertown could see 1-3 feet of wind driven snow over the next 36 hours. Needless to say travel in these areas, including portions of Interstates 81 and 90, will be nearly impossible. The squalls have reached down the St. Lawrence Valley this morning affecting the 401 corridor as far east as Cornwall.

Wednesday, January 07, 2015

Extreme cold warning as arctic front sweeps Ontario & Quebec

The big clean up continues from the weekend storm in Montreal but with lots of complaints. The city and blue collar workers continue to blame each other for the poor ice clearing on Sunday and Monday. (ValleyWX)
EXTREME COLD WARNING: Extended to metro Montreal as of 8pm.

The coldest air of the season is set to invade southern Quebec and Ontario today behind an arctic cold front this morning. Overnight lake enhanced moisture put down about 5cm (2 inches) of fluffy snow here on L'Ile Perrot, enough to cover up Sunday's ice and make driving treacherous. The Tuesday night commute was much the same in Montreal with ice and narrow lanes due to snowbanks making for a long drive home. The ice and lack of salt has resulted in four times the normal amount of visits to Montreal and area emergency rooms for falls and fractures. In addition there has been a spike in car accidents and calls to 911 for EMS and fire services.

The snow today will taper off by noon with perhaps another couple of centimetres in the most persistent squalls along the cold front. Temperatures are currently at -9C (16F) in Montreal but you do not have to go much further west to find evidence of the advancing cold air and increasing winds. Ottawa is already down to -16C (3F) with a 57km/h wind and a windchill reading of -29C (-20F). We have reached our high temperatures for today in Montreal with the mercury expected to tumble the rest of the day down to -25C (-13F) tonight. We may challenge the coldest temperature of the last two years here on L'Ile Perrot which was -27.3 (-17F), Januray 2, 2014. Winds will increase out of the northwest at 30-50km/h with windchill values in the minus 30's tonight. An extreme cold warning is in effect for most of Ontario and Quebec but excludes metro Montreal. Again we are splitting hairs with the warning criteria, bottom line is it will be dangerously cold today through Thursday. The high Thursday will eventually be around -13C by late in the day. Slightly milder air by Friday up to -10C but with more light snow.

The cold air rushing across the Great Lakes is producing major snow squalls in Ontario off Lake Huron as well as New York off Lakes Erie and Ontario. Highway 402 through London to Sarnia will be a focal point today for heavy snow, strong winds and dangerous cold. The same applies to portions of Interstate 81 from the Thousand Islands to Syracuse.

Monday, January 05, 2015

Prolonged freezing rain leaves 150,000 QC homes in the dark

All over southern Quebec and here on L'Ile Perrot power was out as trees weighed down with 15-25mm of ice came in contact with hydro wires. (ValleyWX)
 It was supposed to be 10C (50F) on Sunday, but we did not even come close, squeezing out a 3C (38F) for a brief period late in the day. A nasty warm front and low pressure area dumped nearly 50mm (2 inches) of precipitation on southern Quebec from late Saturday afternoon through Sunday. The bulk of that fell as snow on Saturday with 10-20cm (4-8 inches) across the region. However on Sunday warm air streaming over the trapped cold air in the St. Lawrence Valley produced a nasty mix of sleet and freezing rain. Almost 15 hours of freezing rain in Montreal produced icy roads and sidewalks and brought down trees on power lines and cars. Power was out to over 150,000 Hydro Quebec customers, most of those in the Montreal and South Shore areas. My sister in Verdun had no power for over 15 hours. Those numbers are down to around 7000 this morning. Montreal caught a break around 7pm last night when some of the warm air briefly worked its way down to the surface and melted the ice off the trees and power grid. This saved us big time from further damage and outages as the temperatures quickly fell back below freezing by 9pm and winds picked up to over 75km/h at Trudeau Airport.

A hydro transformer explodes as a result of  freezing rain on the South Shore of Montreal. Photo via Twitter @CTVBeauchemin
We are left this morning in Montreal with lots and lots of thick ice as well as brutal cold, -13C (9F) with a 60km/h wind and a windchill of -25C (-13F). Ottawa is at -17C (2F) with a windchill of -29C (-20F). It is cold and will stay that way throughout the week. Two clipper systems will bring us flurries (1-3cm) Wednesday and Friday with reinforcing shots of arctic air behind them. Winds will be gusty all week creating dangerous windchill values. Temperatures will be in the minus teens for highs and -20's for lows.

Sunday, January 04, 2015

Icy morning in Montreal

The clean up as started, pushing away the 15-20cm (6-8 inches) of snow that fell overnight on L'Ile Perrot. Freezing rain occurring now will change to rain by noon.
The winter storm affecting Ontario east towards Atlantic Canada continues this morning in southern Quebec. As I expected the warm air aloft is having a very difficult time making it to the surface in the St. Lawrence Valley. While temperatures are at or above freezing just to the south of Montreal along the U.S. border, it remains a cold -5C (23F) here in the city. As a result sleet and freezing rain have been falling for the last several hours. This, after between 15-20cm of snow in the Montreal region. Roads are slushy to snow covered with plenty of ice around resulting in numerous accidents being reported by city and provincial police over the last 12 hours. Precipitation has changed over to rain south of Montreal and should do so in the city by noon. Precipitation will likely remain as freezing rain for the Ottawa Valley. Temperatures will slowly rise to around plus 4C (39F) today in Montreal before an arctic cold front arrives this evening. That front will produce flurries and strong winds between 40-70km/h as well as rapidly dropping temperatures, down to -10C (14F) by morning and -17C (2F) by late in the day Monday for Montreal as well as Ottawa and eastern Ontario.

Saturday, January 03, 2015

Winter storm update for Montreal

Eastern Ontario and Southern Quebec including Montreal and Ottawa. The winter storm warning has been posted for all of southern Quebec as well as the Ottawa Valley with 15-25cm (6-10 inches) of snow expected before the transition to freezing rain.

Snow has overspread southern Quebec and Eastern Ontario late this afternoon and will continue until well after midnight. The intensity has been light so far but it will become heavy as the evening progresses. A large area of moisture is moving northeast ahead of a warm front lifting across the Ohio Valley and into New York. Low pressure deepening across the Midwest will move into the Great Lakes and down the St. Lawrence Valley Sunday. Heavy snow with blowing snow tonight will mix with freezing rain overnight and eventually change to rain in Montreal and points south on Sunday. Temperatures are very cold right now in Montreal at -12C (10F) with an increasing northeast wind. The mercury will attempt to warm to the freezing point by Sunday morning and up to 5C (41F) during the day. Any rain will change back to flurries late Sunday as an arctic front crosses the region with plummeting temperatures to -11 (9F) by Monday morning. Winds will also increase tonight up to 50km/h and eventually 70km/h on Sunday.

In southern Ontario the snow has already changed to rain and freezing rain in Toronto with a current temperature of 0C (32F).

Next week will be cold with flurries. The coldest air of the season arrives by Thursday with lows in the minus 20's and daytime highs near -20C. Windchill values will also be very low.

Friday, January 02, 2015

Winter storm to impact eastern Canada this weekend

Rare snow fell in the deserts of the southwestern US on New Years Eve as a strong storm system developed. This low will bring Ontario and Quebec the first winter storm of 2015. The photo above is from Lake Havasu City, Arizona, halfway between Las Vegas and Phoenix.
A rather cold air mass has settled into southern Quebec this morning after a few centimeters of snow on New Years Day. The snow was thanks to a rather vigorous lake effect snow band that drifted down the St. Lawrence Valley. That snow band was responsible for very poor travel conditions along the 401 from Montreal to Trenton. Numerous accidents, including a multi-vehicle pile up near Odessa, closed the highway for a period yesterday. Today there will be a break for Ontario and Quebec between two weather systems. Sunshine will prevail, but it is breezy and cold, currently at -10C (14F) in Montreal with a windchill of -16C (3F). We may gain a degree or two today but not much more than that.

Our attention then turns to developing low pressure area over the southwest US. This system brought snow and strong winds as well as freezing rain to portions of Arizona, Nevada, California, Texas and Oklahoma. It managed to snow in Las Vegas on New Years Eve! The storm will deepen as it moves towards the Great Lakes on Saturday with a wide swath of moisture moving into Ontario and Quebec. With cold air firmly in place in Montreal and Ottawa look for snow to start with perhaps as  much as 15cm (6 inches) from late Saturday into the wee hours Sunday morning. Much warmer air surging north on the east side of the storm will change precipitation over to freezing rain and eventually rain for a period on Sunday close to Ottawa, the St. Lawrence River and points south. Temperatures will be very cold Saturday, near -10C (14F) in Montreal but warm, according to Environment Canada, to 10C (50F) on Sunday. I think this is very generous given the history of the valley to hold onto cold air. It will rise above freezing Sunday and precipitation will change to rain, but I don't think we will see 10C (50F). Perhaps 5C (41F) may be more close to reality. But admittedly, I am no expert. Precipitation will taper to flurries on Sunday night as temperatures start to fall rapidly to -10C by Monday morning. Another factor with this storm will be strong winds as the storm continues to deepen over northern Quebec. Winds will increase Sunday up to 50 to 80km/h.

Next week look for the coldest air of the season to arrive by the middle of the week with temperatures down to -20C (-4F) or colder by Thursday morning. The cold air will be with us all week once this storm passes.

Thursday, January 01, 2015

A lifelong passion for weather

My father gave me a small desk calender for Christmas in 1979. I started writing the weather on it in January 1980, 35 years ago and have not stopped since. I could not locate 1980 this morning but did manage to find 1981, shown above. Below is just one of the thousands of examples I have of maps and forecasts generated through the 80's and 90's before computers took over.
Happy New Year and welcome to 2015! This marks the 10th year that I have been blogging the weather and 35 years since I started keeping a daily weather log. The science of meteorology has truly been a lifelong passion for me, starting actually in the middle 70`s when I became mesmerized by the big snowstorms of that decade. Add to that a terrible fear of thunderstorms and the seed was planted for me to discover how and why the weather occurs. I took a few moments this morning to look through the three large bins of data I have from the late 70`s and mostly the 80`s before computers took over.  I have actual notes and clippings from as early as 1974 when I was only 8. I have tons of hand written notes as well as personally drawn weather maps. I would watch AM Weather on our local PBS channel to help draw the maps and come up with a forecast for Montreal. I would post the forecast on a sign I made in front of our Verdun home. I did this for a couple of summers. The actual daily weather logs I have are complete from 1980 through to this morning. They represent the weather everyday wherever I was whether it be Saskatchewan, Ontario, here in Montreal or on vacation in North Carolina or New England. Since 1997, I have been fortunate enough to work in the newspaper business, able to first write a column and provide a weekly weather map, and as mentioned, in the last 10 years reach readers through the Valley Weather Blog. In the last year, I was given the great opportunity to write on The Suburban website.

The methods of gathering and processing data have changed so much in the last 35 years, but the science remains the same. I have gone from plastic thermometers and rain gauges to a sophisticated Davis Weather Station in my back yard that sends 24 hour data directly to my computer and the web.

I appreciate everyone who reads, sends comments or just chats with me about the weather in person, through the blog or via twitter. I am always available to talk weather! Let's see what adventures year 35 holds in the weather department. With our climate changing so dramatically in the last 20 years, you never know what to expect.