Sunday, November 22, 2015

Weather, weather everywhere...but Montreal

I hate that, you know when people say there is no weather. Weather is always happening, it just may not be the active kind. It seems like Montreal is into that trend right now. This may go down in history as one of the most docile Novembers on record for the city. It has been mild, with very little precipitation and almost every storm system has skirted the city in every direction available. The average high for the month remains well above normal at around 10.8C (51F). So far we have had only 32.2 mm of rainfall along with just a trace of snow. In a normal November, Montreal can expect around 20cm of snowfall. Total sunshine hours have been well above normal for the usually dreary month of November.
Portions of Iowa, Illinois and Wisconsin were buried under nearly a foot of snow Saturday. (USA Today Photo)
Believe it or not, many US cities have had colder temperatures than Montreal and abundant snowfall. This includes portions of the Midwest US that had a record breaking snowstorm yesterday. Across sections of Illinois, Indiana, Wisconsin, Iowa and Minnesota, nearly 30cm of heavy wet snow fell. Chicago recorded its second biggest November snowfall on record with just over 22cm of snow. This morning the low in Montreal was 6C (43F) while Chicago's Midway Airport was -10C (14F). Snow also fell across southern Manitoba as far east as central Ontario and far western Quebec. Snow is also forecast tonight for portions of New Brunswick. This week will start chilly for Montreal, but warm up once again to double digit high temperatures, well above the normal high of 3C (39F). Another big winter storm and cold snap will affect portions of western Canada and the Great Lakes while southern Quebec becomes dry and warm for most of the week.

Friday, November 20, 2015

Winter slow to arrive in Montreal

A new winter storm will develop over the Midwest and affect the central Great Lakes this weekend. Montreal will remain on the warm side of the storm. (AccuWeather)
November continues to be a warm month for Montreal and our surrounding regions. Yesterday Trudeau Airport reached 14C (56F), well above normal once again. The first 19 days of the month have generated an average daily high of 11.1C (52F) for the city, the normal should be around 6C (43F). Looking ahead, temperatures will try to cool on a couple of occasions, but basically remain above normal well into December. We have a couple of opportunities for some flurries this weekend and again early next week, but no major snowstorms are on the horizon at this time. A strengthening El Nino will continue to keep the cold air at bay, while deflecting any storms away from southern Quebec.

In the short term, the rain of Thursday has passed off to our east and we are looking at clearing skies today. It will be cooler than yesterday with our high already reached early this morning and temperatures cooling all day. The low tonight under clear skies will be 0C (32F). On Saturday, clouds will slowly increase as a developing storm over the Midwest US moves towards the Great Lakes and into western Quebec. This system will bring a period of light rain or flurries to the region late Saturday into Sunday. No major accumulations are expected in Montreal. Temperatures will remain mild for November with highs around 6C (43F) and lows near the freezing point. The bulk of the snow with this storm will affect places like Chicago and Milwaukee and points north, as well as central Ontario and north western Quebec. As the low passes on Sunday, cooler air will try to move into southern Quebec to start next week. Snow squalls may develop around the Great Lakes.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Arctic air blasts Prairies

The webcam at the University of Saskatchewan in Saskatoon shows a coating of snow on the ground this morning. Cold air, strong winds and blowing snow are sweeping across the province today.
The coldest air of the season is moving across western Canada this morning. Temperatures have fallen into the minus teens across the northern Prairies and are spreading south and east. Along with the cold air is a blast of wind that has prompted wind warnings across many areas of Saskatchewan, Alberta and BC. Wind speeds are forecast in excess of 100km/h in many locations. Over 40,000 customers in B.C. alone have lost power. A burst of moderate snow has developed along the front in Saskatchewan and is spreading into Manitoba this morning with icy roads and lowering visibility. An example of the potent cold front is in Regina, Saskatchewan where the current temperature is 4C (39F). Winds are picking up and rain, will change to snow with the mercury plummeting to -6C (21F) by this afternoon. The cold air, wind and snow will spread into Manitoba this evening.

Tornado Outbreak
Meanwhile a potent fall storm lifting north towards the Great Lakes, produced heavy snow west of the system and strong thunderstorms east of the track on Tuesday. One of the largest November tornado outbreaks on record occurred late Monday night across portions of Texas, Oklahoma and Kansas. Over 40 tornadoes were observed with serious damage reported. In Denver, blizzard conditions cancelled flights and closed highways on Tuesday.

Snow for Quebec?
In Montreal, high pressure has been in control of our weather this week. We have been enjoying cool nights and seasonable days. One more day of sunshine is expected today, before clouds increase on gusty southerly winds tonight. Temperatures will moderate up to 11C (52F) today and Thursday, along with rain developing by late Thursday. Clouds and showers will hold on into Friday. Cooler temperatures will return along with gusty winds as a cold front moves into the St. Lawrence Valley. Temperatures will drop to the freezing point by late Saturday, with a chance for some snow showers late in the day and early Sunday morning. Some locations in southern Quebec and New England may see a coating of snow on the ground by Sunday.

Monday, November 16, 2015

A weather re-run from last week for Montreal

Another fairly warm week ahead for eastern North America, but much colder air is on the horizon. (
If you liked last week in the weather department, then you will love the forecast for Montreal for the upcoming week. High pressure over southern Quebec will give partly cloudy skies today along with slightly cooler temperatures than that of Sunday. Highs are forecast around 6C (43F) for Montreal. Clear skies and light winds will allow for a cold overnight with lows in the -4C (25F) range by Tuesday morning. Tuesday will be sunny and seasonable with a high near 5C (41F).

On Wednesday southern Quebec will start to come under the influence of a developing fall storm over the southern US plains. Clouds will slowly increase along with southerly winds. Expect highs to approach 8C (48F) Wednesday, and 12C (54F) Thursday. The normal high/ low should be 5C (41F) and -3C (27F). The strengthening storm system will lift north across the central Great Lakes and into northern Ontario. By Thursday, a cold front will cross southern Quebec with much cooler weather on the way for Montreal by next weekend. Along the cold front, winds will gust in excess of 50km/h and a steady rain will develop.

This storm will be a big weather maker for portions of the US and the eastern Prairies. The coldest air of the season is being pulled south behind the low with heavy snow forecast for many regions. Blizzard conditions may develop from Colorado north into the far western Great Lakes and Manitoba. East of the storm, heavy rain and strong thunderstorms are expected from the Gulf Coast to the Ohio Valley. The coldest air of the season will then settle into eastern Canada by next weekend with high temperatures in Montreal of only 1C (34F) forecast at this time.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Windy fall storm for southern Ontario & Quebec

Heavy snow fell Wednesday morning in Colorado Springs on the cold side of a fall storm moving towards Ontario and Quebec. (AP photo)
 A strong low pressure area moving from Utah towards Lake Huron is creating all kinds of bad weather for millions today. The storm, centered over northern Michigan this morning, brought heavy snow to portions of the Rockies. East of the trajectory, strong thunderstorms and tornadoes occurred Wednesday. Rain is occurring in advance of the storm, while on the backside, heavy wet snow is falling across the upper Midwest and far northwest Ontario. The storm is also producing very strong winds along its path. High wind warnings are in effect for portions of southern Ontario along Lakes Erie and Ontario. Wind gusts in excess of 90km/h are forecast. Strong winds will spread into southern Quebec late today and Friday, with gusts up to 70km/h expected in Montreal. The gusty winds have also prompted storm surge warnings for portions of the Maritimes and the Gaspe coast.

Rain is forecast to develop shortly in Montreal, with showers expected through Friday. Temperatures will be mild on the east side of the storm, but as the low slips across Quebec on Friday, cooler air will pour in behind it. The rain may change briefly to a period of wet snow late Friday night in parts of southern Quebec. Just a trace is possible in the valley locations, but 5-10cm may fall across the highest elevations of the Townships, the Green and Adirondack mountains. Temperatures will be mild today, up to 12C (54F). On Friday it will turn cooler with the high early in the day and temperatures falling to near freezing late Friday, in Montreal. Saturday will be cloudy, breezy and cool with an overnight low of -3C (27F) and a high of 5C (41F). The weather will turn warmer again next week.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

The 40th Anniversary of the wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald

The Edmund Fitzgerald in calmer times. (Photo: Bob Campbell)

The wind in the wires made a tattle-tale sound
And a wave broke over the railing
And every man knew, as the captain did too,
T'was the witch of November come stealin'.

Gordon Lightfoot
© 1976 Moose Music, Inc.

It was 40 years ago, November 10, 1975 at approximately 7:20 pm that the iron ore carrier Edmund Fitzgerald went down in a fierce fall storm on Lake Superior. While weather played a definite role, the exact details of the sinking of the ship remains a mystery today, it went down quickly and with very little warning, taking 29 lives with her. The sinking was caused in part by a strong November Gale or "November Witch". Oddly enough on this 40th Anniversary, we have a similar but weaker storm heading from Colorado towards the Great Lakes over the next 72 hours. A gale watch is in effect as the system is expected to produce rough waters, strong winds, snow and rain.

The mangled lifeboat was recovered shortly after the sinking, showing the power of the wind and waves that night. (
The 1975 storm was as intense as they come with 20 foot waves on Lake Superior and winds gusting well over 50 knots. The severe weather was confined to an area along the immediate trajectory of the storm,  and especially rough in the waters of eastern Lake Superior, exactly where the Edmund Fitzgerald was. It was a case of the wrong place at exactly the wrong time. The storm was known as a weather bomb with rapidly dropping pressure from 1000mb over Kansas to 978mb over James Bay in less than 24 hours. The rapid intensification caught the ship and its crew almost without warning. Several memorial services have been planned today including the annual event at Whitefish Point, Michigan, not far from the final resting place of the majestic ship and her crew of 29 brave men. The bell from the Edmund Fitzgerald was recovered in 1995 and has been rung 30 times each year at Whitefish Point on the anniversary of her sinking. This represents all 29 men on board as well as the many others who have perished on Lake Superior. The ship sits in 162 metres (about 530 feet) of water just inside the Canadian boundary, 17 miles north of Whitefish Point, Michigan in Lake Superior.
The chilling image of the Edmund Fitzgerald, resting as a memorial to her 29 man crew in 530 feet of water in  Lake Superior. (Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum Photo)
The Edmund Fitzgerald had left Superior, Wisconsin late in the day on November 9th, 1975 with a cargo of 26,116 tons of taconite pellets on her way to Detroit. There are a series of photos, information and very chilling radio chatter from 1975 at

Monday, November 09, 2015

Stormy weather by mid-week for southern Quebec

A beautiful sunset over Lake Champlain and the Adirondacks on Saturday. The perfect November weather continues for the entire region. (ValleyWeather)
The weather gods continue to shine on Montreal and southern Quebec as our warm fall moves along. Despite the passage of a cold front on Friday, the weekend still featured above-normal temperatures along with abundant sunshine. So far, every day this month has had warmer than normal temperatures in Montreal. I see no end in sight to that trend, with perhaps a couple of cooler or near normal days next weekend. High pressure is in control to start the work week with sunshine today and Tuesday, along with daytime highs of 12C (54F) and overnight lows around 4C (39F). The normal high/low for Montreal should be 6C (43F) and -1C (30F) for today's date. 

On Wednesday, the weather will turn unsettled as low pressure begins to move along the Atlantic coast. Montreal will be on the northern edge of the precipitation, with light rain developing by late in the day and lasting into Thursday. On Thursday, yet another storm system, this one from the southwest US, will approach the Great Lakes. This storm will likely provide the chance for heavier rainfall along with very strong winds by the end of the week, for Ontario and Quebec. Both storms will have to be monitored closely for any impacts on southern Quebec along with warnings that may be needed. Temperatures will remain mild through the week but cool off by Saturday with perhaps a few flurries around by the weekend.