Monday, October 16, 2017

From record warmth to frost

Wind damage to homes in Mount-Laurier, north of Montreal. (Photo from Jason Campbell via CBC)
This weather this October could very well give you whiplash. A frost advisory is out for Montreal, just 24 hours after record warmth in southern Quebec. The first widespread frost of the season is likely Monday night in Montreal, with overnight lows between 0C and -2C (29 to 32F). On Sunday, strong low pressure over the Great Lakes, combined with a potent cold front to produce very strong winds and record warmth. Saint-Anne-de-Bellevue reached 24.6C (76F), eclipsing the old record of 23.3C (73F) set in 2014. Saint Clothilde near the US border was 25.7C (78F), also breaking the 2014 record of 23.8C. The warm spot in the entire country was Saint Anicet at 25.9C (79F). This morning, most locations are between 3C and 5C (37 to 41F), quite a shock to the system.

A powerful cold front is responsible for the fresh arctic air. That front generated a squall line that produced damaging winds from central and southern Ontario into southern Quebec. The hardest hit region in Quebec was the lower Laurentians, where winds knocked out power to over 10,000 homes and produced structural damage. In Mont-Laurier, 4 homes were damaged, two severely. No injuries were reported. Numerous trees were down across roads as well. In Ontario, winds gusted to 96km/h in Ottawa, 102km/h in Toronto, and 104km/h in London. Widespread damage was reported to trees and power lines. In the Montreal region, the front was less intense, with a peak wind gust to 69km/h at Sherbrooke, 67km/h at St Hubert and 61km/h at Trudeau Airport. Scattered power outages were reported in metro Montreal, with the largest in Pincourt where nearly 1000 customers were in the dark.

Hurricane Ophelia has taken a very rare path into Ireland. (NHC)

Hurricane Ophelia
Once Category 3 Hurricane Ophelia, is moving across Ireland on Monday. Winds of 176km/h (109 mph) were already observed on the small island of Fastnet Rock off the Irish coast. Towering seas and torrential rains are accompanying the rare hurricane. Ophelia has set a record as the most eastern Category 3 storm on record, another sign of our changing climate. Hurricanes rarely move into this part of the Atlantic due to the colder water temperatures. Across Ireland, schools and businesses are closed, hundreds of flights cancelled in Dublin, and power is out to over 120,000 customers. The military has been placed on standby. Storm warnings are in effect across Ireland and Scotland as well as the northern United Kingdom.

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