Thursday, December 14, 2017

Frigid cold settles into Montreal behind the snow

The clean-up from the first snowstorm of the season started in most municipalities last night. The crew shown above was removing snow in Pointe Claire this morning. (ValleyWX)
The first snowstorm of the season for Montreal and southern Quebec is in the record books. The metro region received 20 to 25cm (8 to 10 inches) of snow along with gusty winds up to 60km/h. As the snow tapered off on Wednesday, the wind and cold took over, with snow drifting across area highways. The temperature fell to -19C (-2F) this morning and has been rather slow to rise to the current reading of -15C (5F) at 2pm. Windchill readings have been in the lower -20s all day.

It was a long, difficult day for most commuters on Tuesday. Heavy snow, a lack of plowing, and not enough snow tires, created long delays on Montreal roads. (CBC)
The storm resulted in a snarling commute on both Tuesday and Wednesday mornings, as motorists struggled to adjust to the highly changeable road conditions. Numerous major accidents were reported across the southwest portion of the province. Highway 20 near Coteau-du-Lac was closed for a period early Tuesday due to accidents and cars in the ditch. Skies cleared on Thursday, but it remained frigid. The cold air will persist through the weekend, before moderating slightly next week. A few weak weather systems will bring some light snow late Friday and again Sunday night into Monday. Up to 10cm may be added to the current snow on the ground by Monday evening. Mild air will briefly move into the region next Tuesday, with a high near 0C (32F) forecast. The milder weather will be short-lived, with more cold air and snow arriving late next week. It looks like a cold and snowy holiday period across southern Quebec at this time.

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

First snowstorm snarls Montreal traffic - 20cm forecast

It was a slow morning commute in Montreal, as the first snowstorm of the year impacted southern Quebec. (ValleyWeather)
Snowfall warnings remain in effect for southern Quebec today. Expect 15 to 20cm for Montreal, with up to 30cm in Quebec City. Winds will increase today up to 60km/h, backing to the northwest tonight and increasing to 70km/h. Widespread blowing snow will be a problem.

Another winter, same old story in Montreal. For some reason many motorists and several municipalities seemed caught off guard by the morning snow. Despite predictions for this storm days ago, it was a two hour plus morning commute for many. Lack of plowing and salting on Montreal hills and highways, combined with an absence of snow tires on many cars, slowed traffic to a crawl. The evening drive will be just a challenging. The deadline to have your winter tires installed is this Friday, December 15. By next season, the date will be moved froward to December 1st, much better for all of us.

Low pressure will move from the Ohio Valley across central New England today while strengthening. Snow started in Montreal at around 4am, with close to 10cm on the ground as of 10am. Temperatures are cold and will remain that way into this weekend. The high today may reach -5C, but will drop tonight down to -12C and remain there on Wednesday.

Friday, December 08, 2017

Arctic air - measurable snow on the way for Montreal

There is more snow this morning in Texas than in Montreal. Heavy wet snow fell in places across the deep south Thursday night, including at Kyle Field in College Station, Texas, the home of Texas A&M. College Station is located about 150km northwest of Houston, where light snow also fell. (Photo via Twitter @AggieFootball)
There is more snow in south Texas this morning than in southern Quebec. That being said, arctic cold and snow are on the immediate horizon for Montreal. Friday morning, the first cold front stretches from the Gulf of Mexico to Atlantic Canada. Along it snow is falling, in places where is should not be. Winter storm warnings stretch from the Mexican border into North Carolina. Further north, the cold air is sweeping across the wide open and considerably warmer Great Lakes. The result is heavy lake effect snows in several regions. Some of the narrow lake bands are moving northeast along the St. Lawrence Valley, affecting the 401 corridor from Kingston to Cornwall. A few of the snow showers have even made it into southern Quebec, with a fluffy centimetre or two falling last night on L'Ile Perrot. More snow showers are possible later today in Montreal.

On Saturday, low pressure will move up the east coast, producing a swath of 10 to 15cm snowfall from interior New England towards the Gaspe Peninsula. At the same time, a clipper system will also approach Montreal from the west, with a light snowfall Saturday night, followed by much colder air. Next week will future several opportunities for light snowfall, along with very cold temperatures. Daytime highs on Sunday will be around -2C (29F). By Tuesday through Friday, the high will only be around -10C (14F) in Montreal. Several systems will also produce light snow next week. The timing and amounts will need to be fined tuned, but a good 10 to 15cm of snow could be on the ground by next Friday. Winter has arrived!

Wednesday, December 06, 2017

The Halifax Explosion 100th Annivesary

Thursday, December 6, 1917, 9:04:35 AST
Halifax was booming in 1917, an extremely busy port city of 50,000. Ship traffic was heavy, especially due to the outbreak of World War I. Then, just past 9:04am on December 6, 1917, disaster struck. Read more about it HERE

Monday, December 04, 2017

Major pattern change on the way for eastern Canada

The pattern of alternating warm and cold weather that has been around most of this fall, will come to an end this week. An arctic front will bring in much colder air, that is expected to remain in Ontario and Quebec through December. (
11:45 UPDATE: Winter Storm Watch has been hoisted for western New York counties for Lake Effect snow by Wednesday.

Environment Canada has issued a wind warning for the Richelieu Valley for late tonight and early Tuesday. Expect south winds gusting up to 90km/h.

The mild weather is about to come to an end, and won't likely return until May. No, but seriously, Arctic air is set to invade the Great Lakes over the next 48 hours, sliding into eastern Canada by the weekend. The catalyst will be a major winter storm developing over Colorado, and moving northward toward Lake Superior. Montreal, southern Ontario and Quebec will be on the warm side of the system, with a surge of mild air through Wednesday. Closer to the center of the storm, heavy rain is forecast from Michigan into central Ontario. West of the storm track, blizzard conditions are expected from the Dakotas into extreme southeast Manitoba and northwest Ontario. Forecasters are calling for 30 to 40cm of wind driven snow in some regions, along with dropping temperatures. Travel is not advised tonight and Tuesday across portions of the Dakotas, Minnesota and northwest Ontario.

In Montreal, sunshine on Monday will fade away as clouds increase. Tuesday will be cloudy and very mild, with high temperatures soaring to 9C (48F). Winds will increase tonight, becoming quite strong in the afternoon, gusting up to 60km/h. A cold front, the leading edge of the arctic air, will sweep across the area on Tuesday night into Wednesday, with gusty winds, rain and dropping temperatures. The balance of the week will be much colder, with the chance of flurries through Saturday. Temperatures are forecast to become increasingly colder as we head into the weekend. Daytime highs will struggle to reach 0C (32F) by Friday. At this time, it looks like the balance of the month will remain below freezing in southern Quebec, with frequent chances for accumulating snow. Next week, daytime high temperatures will be no better than -3C (27F). The details will become clearer as time moves along, but expect much colder weather starting late this week.

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Enjoy the mild weather, winter set to return

Toronto quarterback Ricky Ray, shown above, along with his teammates, the Calgary Stampeders and fans, battled steady snow Sunday night during the 105th Grey Cup in Ottawa. (TSN)
Despite the quick 5cm of snow that fell on the 105th Grey Cup Sunday in Ottawa, and across southern Quebec, it has been a mild week once again. In keeping with the last blog entry, the temperature roller coaster ride continues. There was no better example of this than the snow and biting cold Sunday and early Monday, followed by windy and warm weather Tuesday. On Tuesday, Toronto reached 17.1C (63F), Ottawa 11C (52F), remarkably after an early morning low of -13.7C (8F), and Montreal 6C (43F), after a low of -11.7C (10F). A series of weak weather systems will keep the temperature bouncing around through the first week of December. Expect the weather to remain fairly mundane in Montreal, with more clouds than sun and temperatures well above normal.

Cold weather is forecast to return to eastern Canada by December 10th. (AccuWeather)
Cold Weather Returns
There are strong indications that we will see a major pattern change by December 10th or so. Expect much colder air to return, and last through Christmas, along with frequent opportunities for measurable snow. The jet stream is expected to become more amplified, allowing storms to move slower, gain strength and gather moisture from the Gulf of Mexico and Atlantic Ocean. The exact details are hard to pinpoint at this time, but temperatures will return to normal levels and eventually below normal in Montreal. This would put daytime highs well below freezing. There is a good chance of a snowstorm around the 11th of December and again near Christmas. The cold weather is expected to stay with us right through the end of December.

Saturday, November 25, 2017

Weather whiplash in southern Quebec

The first snow of the season in Vaudreuil last weekend, did not last long, as warm air returned by mid-week. (ValleyWX)
After a record breaking warm October in Ontario and Quebec, November is proving to be anything but certain. If you are not sure which jacket to grab in the morning, you are not alone. The change in temperature from day to day is enough to give you whiplash. With a predominate west to east "zonal" flow in place across Canada, weather systems have been moving rather quickly, producing highly variable weather. On Sunday, November 19, Montreal recorded the first measurable snowfall of the season, with anywhere from 2-5cm falling. Monday was windy and bitter cold, with snow flurries and temperatures at -6C (21F), windchill values were as cold as -18C (0F) However, just 24 hours later the temperature was 8C (48F), with bright sunshine. This pretty much describes the month we have had in Montreal, from mid-winter cold, to near record-breaking warmth and back again, at times in just a few hours.

That brings us to this weekend, where pretty much the same pattern is in place. The current weather is being produced by a potent cold front slipping across the St. Lawrence Valley. A steady rain in Montreal, will slowly taper to a few flurries tonight. Gusty west winds will increase up to 50km/h this evening. Temperatures in southern Quebec today are in the 5 to 10C (40 to 50F) range. Behind the front, cold air will surge into the region, with lows down to -4C (26F) by Sunday morning. Sunday will be windy and cold, with flurries and temperatures remaining steady. Yet another clipper system will arrive late Sunday into Monday, with some light snow and chilly temperatures. However, the cold will not last long. By Tuesday, more mild air will surge into the region, with temperatures well above normal expected for most of the upcoming week. As long as this flat, zonal pattern remains in place, the arctic air will remain trapped across the far north, with any storm systems being rather weak and moisture starved. I expect a change by the second week of December.