Thursday, April 28, 2016

So when will it warm up?

April's wide variety of weather can produce everything from dust devils, like the one last week at a ballpark in Lynchburg, Virgnia (shown above), to heavy snowfall, like the snowstorm this week in Newfoundland (below). In addition to the snow, heavy thunderstorms with large hail, flooding and tornadoes have been affecting the central US. Spring is not for the faint of heart, patience is required.
So when will it warm up? I am asked this question without fail several times a day. April can be a daunting month, as we desperately long for summer's warmth. This April has been no exception to the rule, as the cold and warm weather seem to play with us continuously, often in the same day. The month of April is arguably the most volatile month of the year. Deep winter cold often interacts with mid-summer heat, leaving most of us on a weather roller-coaster ride we never wanted to be on. Thunderstorms are just as likely as snowstorms in April. Montreal for example, has had a wide range in temperatures this year, from an overall maximum of 22C (72F) to a minimum of -10C (14F).

CBC Newfoundland 
Often the winter chill can win out, leaving southern Quebec and Ontario with cooler-than-normal weather. This has been the case here in Montreal. As the month draws to a close, the daily average high temperature has been near 9.1C (48F). This is well below the normal high of 11.6C (53F). Overnight lows have been very chilly, especially in the last week, the average this month was -1.3C (29F), while the normal should be plus 1.2C (34F). Overall, the monthly average sits at 3.9C (39F), well below the normal of 6.4C (44F). What makes it feel even colder is the fact that most of this past winter was so warm. Snowfall for April 2016 was 15cm; normally Montreal receives around 13cm.

So when will it warm up?  (There it is again!) Very soon. Montreal is still on track for a very warm summer. The long-range forecast is hinting at well-above-normal temperatures for Quebec and the Northeast US for July though August. In the short term, we have a few more cool days, as strong arctic high pressure controls our weather. Milder air will arrive by Sunday, along with an increase in clouds and some much-needed rainfall. The wet weather and warmer temperatures will continue into the first week of May.

Monday, April 25, 2016

Cool and dry week ahead for southern Quebec

The current storm track should keep Montreal dry all this week, with below-normal temperatures. (AccuWeather)
Strong high pressure continues to provide Montreal and southern Quebec with sunshine, but cool weather as well. Daytime highs have been below normal, either side of 10C (50F), while overnight lows have dropped just below the freezing mark. A warm front to our south is the dividing line between very warm and humid summery air across the Mid-Atlantic states, and the cool weather here in Quebec. That warm front will produce an area of light rain, and even some wet snow, across the Adirondacks and Green Mountains tonight. Light rain is also expected south and west of Kingston, towards Toronto.

In Montreal, however, strong high pressure should hold all this week, with the current forecast looking great. Expect nothing but sunshine today, with a high near 10C (50F). A few clouds may work their way into southern Quebec tonight, but any precipitation should remain south of the US border. The overnight low will be very chilly, dropping to -3C (27F). Any clouds will clear early Tuesday, and we can expect sunshine all day, continuing well into next weekend in Montreal. Temperatures will be cool, ranging from 9 to 12C (49 to 54F), but warming towards the end of the forecast period.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Battle of the seasons coast to coast in Canada

Spring cleaning is well underway in Montreal. 
The seasons continue a fierce battle over most of Canada, with summery weather on the west coast, a snowstorm in Newfoundland, and everything else in between. The current weather pattern is referred to by meteorologists as an omega block. Strong high pressure nearly stationary over the Great Lakes is holding the rainfall over Texas and the Gulf Coast, while keeping our region sunny and dry. The block will begin to erode slightly over the next 24 hours, as low pressure moves down the St. Lawrence Valley.

We start the morning rather chilly in Montreal at 0C (32F), but temperatures will warm rapidly to 21C (70F) under sunny skies and gusty southwest winds. Clouds will increase tonight, with showers arriving overnight, as low pressure approaches from Ontario. Friday will be windy and warm, with showers and perhaps a thunderstorm in the afternoon. After mild overnight lows near 10C (50F), the high temperature will be near 21C (70F) once again. A cold front arrives late in the day Friday, followed by clearing skies and much cooler weather for the weekend. Temperatures for the weekend will be near 12C (54F) for highs, with lows at or below freezing.

While it may feel like spring in southern Quebec, Newfoundland was blasted by a powerful snowstorm on Wednesday. (CBC Newfoundland)
Winter vs Spring
Winter and Spring continue an epic battle across Canada. On Wednesday, a powerful coastal storm brought widespread blizzard conditions to eastern Newfoundland. Over 40cm of snow fell in and around St John's, while winds gusted in excess of 100km/h. Schools, businesses and roads were closed, along with major delays to road and air travel. At the same time, interior portions of British Columbia were establishing record-high temperatures. Chilliwack, Lytton and Squamish all surpassed 30C (86F). Squamish reached 31.5C (89F) for the warmest temperature in the country, while Eureka in Nunavut was -30.5C (-23F).

Over 40cm of snow along with 100km/h winds made all forms of travel nearly impossible near St John's, Newfoundland on Wednesday. (CBC)
Texas Flooding
Major flooding continues to unfold across south Texas, after nearly 20 inches of rainfall this week. More rain is forecast over the next several days. Catastrophic damage has been reported, along with at least eight fatalities.

Monday, April 18, 2016

Much cooler, wet start to the work week in Montreal

A backdoor cold front is cooling down Quebec and northern New England today, as it slides north to south.
Sunday was as spectacular an April day as you will find. The temperature reached 22C (72F) here in Montreal, easily the warmest day of 2016. Light winds and bright sunshine made the day perfect for anything outdoors. 

A rather gusty, raw northeast wind has developed here in the St. Lawrence Valley overnight, ahead of a backdoor cold front. These type of fronts are quite common in the spring, as cold, maritime air backs down the St. Lawrence Valley. The temperature have fell overnight to 9C (49F), where it will likely stay for most of the day. Showers are also expected by the middle portion of the day. The good news is that the balance of the week looks sunny, with moderating temperatures to above normal, as high pressure takes over once again. The next chance for any precipitation won't come until late Thursday or Friday.

As always, when there is good weather in a portion of the continent, somebody else is having terrible weather. This morning, that would be the central portion of North America from Texas to western Ontario. Heavy rain is falling along the Gulf Coast, with epic amounts reported overnight in Houston. Between 10 and 16 inches of rain fell on the city, with major flash flooding being reported this morning. To the north and west of that storm, heavy snow fell across the Rockies, including metro Denver. Anywhere from one to four feet of wet snow was observed in portions of Wyoming, Colorado and New Mexico.

Major flooding has led to over 60 water rescues this morning in Houston, Texas. Photo via Twitter @livestormsmedia

Friday, April 15, 2016

Perfect spring-weather weekend for Montreal

High pressure will produce a warm weekend in southern Quebec.
We have been waiting a long time for this weather, and it looks like a perfect spring weekend for anything outdoors. The last of the snow has melted and most people are now in the process of taking down temporary shelters and changing out winter tires. Many municipalities have begun sweeping the streets as well, always a good sign that spring is really here. After a rather cold and damp start to April, high pressure is now in control. Sunshine will dominate through late Sunday, along with high temperatures warming from 12C (54F) today up close to 18C (65F) by Sunday in Montreal. Some locations in Ontario and New England may flirt with 21C (70F) on Sunday. Overnight lows will remain at or just slightly below the freezing point. On Monday, a rather weak cold front will settle south across the region from central Quebec. Clouds will increase Monday, along with a chance for showers. Skies will clear Tuesday, with more sunshine and warm temperatures expected through the end of the week.

The weather is not so perfect everywhere. This morning, snow is falling in Halifax, as a coastal system moves into the Atlantic. Snow and freezing rain will spread across portions of Newfoundland later today. Across western Canada, a strong storm system is moving into North Dakota with a cold rain, and even some snow spreading into southern Manitoba and Saskatchewan.

The April 15, 2007 Nor'Easter produced a record snowfall of 20 to 30cm across Ontario and Quebec. I took the photo above in Kemptville, Ontario where I was living at the time.
As a side-note, on this date in 2007, a strong Nor'Easter dumped 22cm of snow on Montreal, a record for the day. The heavy wet snow spread into eastern Ontario as well. Widespread power outages occurred, as strong winds brought down branches. The heavy snow also hit New England, along with major flooding and coastal damage from high waves and surf.

Monday, April 11, 2016

Spring weather, warming trend for southern Quebec

Another round of April snow blanketed Montreal Monday morning. There is a good chance it will be the last snow until next fall, as a major warming trend is forecast.
An interesting blog title, considering it is snowing again this morning in Montreal, on April 11th no less. An elongated warm front has been the focus for mixed precipitation in southern Quebec and Ontario. A couple of centimetres of wet snow fell overnight in Montreal. It has since changed to rain, as temperatures have nudged above the freezing point. The rain will continue most of today, tapering to showers tonight. Warm air will continue to filter into the St. Lawrence Valley today on southwest winds. Expect a high temperature near 8C (48F).

The good news for eastern North America is that a major pattern change is expected this week. There is a good chance this morning's snow will be the last of the season. After a windy and cold Tuesday, with a high of 7C (45F) and a low of -5C (23F), much warmer weather will move into Quebec. Looking ahead, milder-than-normal weather is forecast from Thursday towards the end of the month and into May. In the short term, we are looking at sunny weather developing Wednesday, with warming temperatures. The sunshine will prevail into the weekend, with high temperatures between 15C and 20C (60 to 68F) by Saturday. Low temperatures are forecast to remain above freezing after Tuesday.

Thursday, April 07, 2016

Spring snow, now heavy rain forecast for Montreal

A spring snow covers southern Quebec this morning, after 10 to 12cm overnight.
Heavy wet snow fell across eastern Ontario and southern Quebec late Wednesday and overnight, with a record-breaking 14.2cm in Ottawa. The previous record for April 6 was 13cm in 1958. Officially, Trudeau Airport reported 10.4cm, so our record of 18.3cm, also from 1958, was safe. I measured close to 12.5cm (5 inches) of snow here on L'Ile Perrot. Overnight, temperatures slowly nudged above the freezing mark, with precipitation changing to rain in Montreal. Temperatures will continue to rise today on warmer southeast winds, with a high forecast of 9C (48F).

Heavy Rain Warning
Low pressure will move from the central Great Lakes towards Lac Saint-Jean by Thursday night. A second wave of low pressure will move north towards Lake Champlain. The combination of these two systems will produce widespread heavy rain across the entire region. Expect 25-50mm (1 to 2 inches) of rain through early Friday morning. Environment Canada has issued heavy rain warnings for Montreal and a swath of southern Quebec. The rain and melting snow will cause sharp rises in some rivers and lakes, as well as produce minor street flooding. Behind the storm, colder air will move into Montreal overnight, with a low near 3C (38F). On Friday, showers mixed with snowflakes are forecast, with colder temperatures steady near 3C.

Tuesday, April 05, 2016

More snow and cold forecast for Quebec and Ontario

Massachusetts State Police responded to numerous accidents, as a late-season snowstorm affected the state. The snow remained south of Quebec. (MSP Photo)
April has started off with bone-chilling mid-winter cold despite the sunshine. The temperature in Montreal slipped below freezing Saturday night, and has been there since. We managed -3C (27F) Sunday and Monday for a high temperature. Overnight low temperatures have been either side of -10C (14F) in the city, but much colder across the suburbs. Low pressure arrives Wednesday with increasing clouds, precipitation and milder air.

On Monday, snow fell in a swath from southern Ontario towards coastal New England, remaining south and west of Quebec. In Toronto, 14.6cm of snow fell between April 3 and 4th, more than the entire month of March, when only 13cm fell. Numerous new record-low temperatures were established in Ontario this morning. In Montreal, temperatures have been as cold as -16C with the wind. The same weather system has chilled New England and the US Northeast. 

The next storm will give 5 to 20cm of snow to portions of Quebec and Ontario Wednesday into Thursday. (AccuWeather)

Wednesday, another clipper-type low-pressure system will move from Lake Huron towards the St. Lawrence Valley. With cold air in place across Ontario and Quebec, precipitation is expected to begin as snow. Snowfall warnings have been issued from the Ottawa Valley northeast across the Laurentians. Snow will spread into Ontario Wednesday morning, reaching Ottawa by the afternoon and Montreal in the evening. Expect 5 to 10cm of snow from Montreal south to the US border, with 10 to 20cm north of the city by Thursday morning. The temperature will rise to 0C (32F) in Montreal Wednesday, and above freezing to 5C (41F) by Thursday afternoon. Precipitation will change to rain in Montreal and Ottawa on Thursday morning. Travel could be difficult for the morning commute on Thursday across the entire region. Cold air and flurries will return to southern Quebec by Saturday.

Sunday, April 03, 2016

Potent snow stays south of Montreal - cold start to April

Northbound Highway 400 in southern Ontario Sunday afternoon. Snow, cold and strong winds made travel difficult across the region with multiple accidents reported. (Twitter Photo #onstorm)
A strong arctic front swept through eastern Ontario and southern Quebec Saturday afternoon. The front was accompanied by heavy showers with some thunder and small hail reported in both Cornwall and Montreal. The front also ushered in very cold arctic air with temperatures Sunday in Montreal, around -5C (23F), almost 15 degrees below normal. Strong northwest winds, in excess of 50km/h, accompanied the cold, dropping windchill values into the minus teens. Adding to the wintry weather tonight will be a very cold low of -10C (14F). Monday will be breezy and partly cloudy, with perhaps a stray snowflake, and a cold high of -3C. Monday night will be cold once again, dropping down to -12C (10F) in Montreal.

The storm track will keep cold air locked in place in southern Quebec, but thankfully the snow will remain south of the city. (
We are actually quite lucky here in Montreal. A potent Alberta Clipper type snowstorm is rapidly crossing the Great Lakes this evening, with steady snow across the GTA. Toronto was down to 0.8 km visibility in moderate snow and blowing snow during Sunday evening. Numerous accidents were reported on snow covered highways around the Great Lakes. Snowfall warnings are in effect around the western end of Lake Ontario and eastern Lake Erie. Snow is expected to accumulate between 10 and 20cm (4 to 8 inches) in a swath from southern Ontario into western New York and southern New England by late Monday. For some, this may be the largest snowfall of the winter. More cold air will surge into southern Quebec for the middle portion of the week with the potential for mixed snow and rain here in Montreal. We will have to watch for the potential of measurable snow in the Thursday to Saturday time frame.