Wednesday, March 08, 2017

The temperature roller coaster ride continues for Montreal

The strongest winter storm of the season is winding down in Manitoba and Saskatchewan today, after two days of 90km/h winds and zero visibility. (Photo: Manitoba RCMP via Twitter)
March is often a month of sharp contrast as winter and spring try to negotiate the atmosphere. In the last week, Montreal has had record high temperatures, as well as overnight lows in the minus 20s. On Monday night, over 7mm of freezing rain produced icy roads and sidewalks leading to numerous accidents. Today however, the temperature is all the way up to 9C (48F) at Trudeau Airport, just a couple of degrees shy of yet another record high. But you guessed it, this will not last. Two potent cold fronts are in our future, associated with a strong winter storm that swept from Montana north towards Hudson Bay.

The first cold front will arrive Wednesday night, with a couple of centimetres of snow and plunging temperatures. By Thursday morning, the mercury will have fallen all the way to -5C (23F). A second stronger arctic front will arrive late Friday, accompanied by gusty winds, snow squalls and even colder temperatures. This weekend will be a repeat of the last, expect plenty of sunshine, but with frigid temperatures for March, lows near -20C (-4F) and daytime highs of -10C (14F). As we look ahead into next week, the colder than normal temperatures will remain through at least mid-week. There is also the potential for some accumulating snow on Tuesday. The eventual track and intensity of the system will dictate how much snow may affect southern Quebec. At this time, Montreal may remain on the northern edge of the system

Prairie Blizzard
Over the last 48 hours, a fierce blizzard has raged over portions of Manitoba and eastern Saskatchewan. Heavy snow and strong winds, in excess of 90km/h, have produced hours of zero visibility. The blizzard conditions forced the closure of dozens of highways, including the Trans Canada, stranding hundreds of travelers. Dangerously cold temperatures accompanied the storm, the strongest of the winter season. In Estevan, visibility was less than 1kilometre for over 36 hours, from late Monday into Wednesday. This included at least 9 consecutive hours of zero visibility. The weather made travel virtually impossible. The storm arrived suddenly late Monday, with the mercury falling in Winnipeg from 6C (43F) down to -6C (21F) in less than one hour. Winds are beginning to lighten Wednesday as the storm moves north into Hudson Bay.

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