Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Storm to impact Ontario and Quebec with snow and ice

Significant freezing rain and snow is possible across southern Ontario and Quebec with this next storm.
One thing you should know about March and April in Montreal is that they typically produce some of our largest snowfalls. History has shown this, with the largest storm being the March 3, 1971 blizzard. But there are so many more. On April 3, 1975, after what was a very mild March, 32cm of snow, driven by 100km/h winds, fell. Other notable storms include, April 9, 2000, 34.5cm, April 15, 2007, 37cm and April 27, 2010, 29.8cm. In March 1955, 108cm of snow fell in one month. To compare, Montreal has recorded only 95.8cm this entire winter, the lowest amount of the last 25 years. The most telling statistic I could find was in May 1963. After a high of 22C (72F) on May 9th, strong low pressure and cold northeast winds dumped 25.6cm of snow on the city in 36 hours, May 10 and 11th.

Another 4cm of wet snow fell on L'Ile Perrot and Montreal overnight.
That brings us to Spring 2016, with more snow on the ground this morning. L'Ile Perrot had about 4cm of very wet snow overnight. It has now ended and we can expect a partly cloudy day, with a high near 2C (36F). Our attention will then turn to a rapidly strengthening late winter storm that will move from Colorado towards the eastern Great Lakes. This storm will produce a swath of rain, snow and freezing rain. As has been the case all season, the exact path remains a little uncertain. One thing that is known is that Montreal is going to receive a significant amount of precipitation from Thursday into Good Friday.

Widespread winter storm watches and warnings are now in effect across the US Midwest into Ontario, and they should be expanded into Quebec later today. Snow will begin in Montreal early Thursday along with strong northeast winds up to 50km/h. The snow will change to freezing rain late in the day and likely over to rain overnight into Friday, as temperatures warm from -4C (25F) Thursday to well above freezing Friday. Amounts of snow and ice will likely exceed 15cm over most of southern Quebec. Where the precipitation remains as snow, north of Montreal, over 25cm is possible. Skies will clear for the weekend, with warmer temperatures returning by Easter Sunday.

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