Thursday, February 04, 2016

From snow and ice to a record high for Montreal

Wednesday started off icy and snowy on L'Ile Perrot, and across most of eastern Ontario and southern Quebec, but ended with a record high of 8C. (ValleyWeather)
Within a 24-hour period, Montreal managed 15-20mm of frozen precipitation, ranging from snow to freezing rain and sleet, followed by a record high reached late Wednesday evening. The freezing rain created a very slow and slippery commute in Montreal with numerous accidents reported, including one that closed Highway 20 at St. Charles on the West Island. The high temperature at Trudeau Airport occurred near midnight, 8.2C (48F), eclipsing the 1991 record of 6.2C. The warmth was part of a large storm system that spread north across the central US plains and into western Quebec. The winter storm produced heavy rain and snow along its path, with near-blizzard conditions reported from Minnesota to Colorado. Meanwhile, on the warm side of the system, severe thunderstorms and multiple tornadoes were reported across Mississippi, Alabama and Florida.

It was not just Montreal benefiting from the warmth yesterday, Burlington, Vermont established a new record high of 54F for February 3rd and 4th, the fifth record high this winter. Toronto soared to 16C (60F), smashing the previous record of 9.3C (49F) set in 1991. Ottawa reached 7.9C (46F), beating the previous high of 6.5C set in 1991. Most locations in eastern Ontario and western Quebec that tied or set new temperature records did so after dark last evening, making it an even stranger weather event.

A cold front will arrive today, resulting in temperatures falling well below freezing tonight and into the weekend. Along with the colder temperatures, there will be several opportunities for snow, the first, Saturday evening. None of the storms at this time look significant, but we are watching an east coast system for the middle of next week to see just how close it comes to southern Quebec.

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