Monday, September 29, 2014

Was that Indian Summer?

NOAA satellite image of the foliage bursting out in reds. oranges and yellows across the Adirondacks, Eastern Ontario and southern Quebec this weekend.
 What a spectacular weekend in Montreal by any standards, let alone late September. Montreal just missed a record high on Saturday as we reached 26C (79F) officially at Trudeau Airport. However most other locations around the city were between 26C and 29C (79-85F). The record for the date was 26.6C (80F) set in 2003. I recorded 27.7C (82F) at my home on L'Ile Perrot. Sunday was an exact replica of Saturday with warm sunshine, humid and a light breeze. The temperature again reached between 25-27C (77-81F). High pressure responsible for the summer like weather has drifted off the east coast this morning and a very weak backdoor cold front has settled across the St. Lawrence Valley with clouds and a few sprinkles. The temperature remains mild for this time of year, currently at 18C (65F) it will slowly drop as winds turn out of the northeast in the valley and increase up to 50km/h. The normal high is 16C (60F). We will have clouds tonight and again Tuesday with temperatures settling back to near normal. By Wednesday more sunshine and above normal temperatures will return lasting through Friday when a strong cold front will approach Montreal. No really cold air is on the horizon however as the jet stream remains well to our north keeping the arctic air where it belongs.

Indian Summer
Sure it was a perfect weekend, but was that Indian Summer? The broad definition of the term Indian Summer, dating back to 1700's New England, varies depending on which source you look at. It has many different definitions and interpretations. It is generally defined as a period of above normal temperatures with hazy skies and warm southerly winds at least here in southern Quebec. It  can last several days with temperatures well above normal, and typically occurs after the first frost. According to Native Americans it occurred very late in the fall season between November 11 and 20. However the National Weather Service in the US has it occurring anywhere between late September and middle November. There was a light frost in southern Quebec on September 19, and that was a three day period of well above normal temperatures, so we may have indeed just had Indian Summer. But it is still early in the fall season and if that was Indian Summer, I expect it will not be the last.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Spectacular Fall Weekend for Ontario & Quebec

L'Ile Perrot is starting to see the colours burst out. It will be a perfect weekend in Quebec and New England for checking out the foliage, picking apples or any outdoor activity. Enjoy it the showers and cooler weather return next week.
With the exception of overnight and early morning fog patches, it will be simply a spectacular weekend for late September. Strong high pressure will drift to our southeast allowing for a light southwesterly flow of warm air. The result will be wall to wall sunshine for the rest of Friday as well as the entire weekend. Temperatures will be well above normal with highs ranging from 25 to 27C (77-81F). The same forecast holds true for Ottawa, Toronto, Montreal and south into New York and New England. Overnight lows will be seasonable around 10C (50F) with fog developing in the typical spots.

Yesterday was a warm day right across the country with record heat in Manitoba and Saskatchewan in stark contrast to the snow and frost just 10 days ago. Estevan was the warmest place in the country at 34.4C (95F), while Assiniboia and Gravelbourg reached a record breaking 34C (94F). Regina and Moose Jaw broke records as well reaching 33C (92F). Cooler weather will arrive this weekend in western Canada and spread east by next week. Some showers will also arrive in our region by Monday.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

25th Anniversary of Hurricane Hugo - Carolinas to Montreal

Powerful Hurricane Hugo making landfall at midnight on September 22, 1989. Just 24 hours later the storm would be near Ottawa and Montreal.
Long before hurricane Sandy, Irene, Juan, Katrina and Andrew among other infamous storms, there was Hugo. Hurricane Hugo was a tight but powerful Atlantic storm that developed off the coast of Africa on September 10, 1989 and moved rapidly across the  northern Caribbean and into the Atlantic. Hugo would reach Category 5 at his strongest with winds over 260km/h. The storm took on odd approach to the coast slamming into the low country of South Carolina with 140mph winds at midnight on September 22. Hugo was devastating with a record storm surge of nearly 20 feet north of Charleston and south of Myrtle Beach. The infrastructure and dune system along the coast was demolished from extreme southern North Carolina to northern Georgia. But hardest hit were the communities north of Charleston where the surge virtually wiped the area clean. 49 people lost there lives along with a record (at the time) $7 billion dollars in damage.

Environment Canada map showing the path of tropical storm Hugo across eastern Canada. (Double click map for a closer look).
Quebec & Ontario
Inland Hugo was fast and furious with winds that produced major damage from North Carolina towards the southern Great Lakes.The hill country of central and western North Carolina was hammered by high winds that leveled entire forests. Trees took out power lines, landed on homes and cars. Power was out for weeks as a result. Further north Hugo entered southern Ontario late on September 22nd and moved rapidly from Kingston towards Ottawa and into the Laurentians. Montreal was on the warm south side of the storm. We had lots of wind but little rain. In Toronto 75km/h winds and 47mm of rain occurred, but only 11mm of rain in Montreal. The wind in Ontario cut power to thousands of homes. In southern Quebec the storm arrived around midnight on Saturday, September 23rd, just 24 hours from South Carolina to Montreal. I was working for the Montreal Gazette at the time driving in the Lasalle and Verdun area. It was a wild night with winds gusting from 70-95km/h in the St Lawrence Valley and stronger on the south shore, 98km/h at St. Hubert. Numerous trees fell and power went out to over 13,000 homes in metro Montreal including my home in Verdun for 12 hours. Another feature of the storm was the warm tropical air that arrived with Hugo. Montreal reached 29C (85F) on September 22nd and it was still nearly 24C (76F) at midnight on the 23rd. But as the storm pushed through the region the mercury fell rapidly and dropped to 5C (41F) by 11pm on the 23rd.

Hugo then affected New Brunswick with a peak wind gust to 124km/h at Moncton. Power was out to nearly 15,000 New Brunswick homes. The 1989 apple crop took a beating with much of the fruit stripped from the trees in New Brunswick. Heavy rain fell north of the track across Labrador and into Newfoundland. Hugo dissipated on September 25th.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Fall arrives at 10:29PM with perfect weather ahead

The growing season is not quite done for 2014. Despite the cold weather and frost this past week, I still have spectacular flowers growing on L'Ile Perrot.
The first day of Autumn 2014 is here after a rather warm and humid weekend in the St. Lawrence Valley. Temperatures were in the mid 20's with showers and even an isolated thunderstorm over the weekend. Not much rain fell in Montreal with 5.8mm here on L'Ile Perrot and officially 6.2mm at Trudeau Airport. It has been windy overnight with gusts over 50km/h across the island of Montreal. Much colder air has settled into southern Quebec this morning with the temperature down to 9C (48F). Expect a cloudy and windy day in Montreal with the temperature only gaining a degree or two. That is the bad news, the good news is we are in for a spectacular week of weather. Once the skies clear this evening, we will have nothing but sunshine right into next weekend. Along with the sun will be a period of very warm weather for late September. Expect temperatures to warm through the high teens into the mid 20's by next weekend a full 8-10 degrees above normal. Highs may even approach 27C (80F) in some locations next Saturday. After the drizzle this morning, no precipitation is forecast through the end of the week.

As mentioned the Fall Equinox occurs at 10:29pm EDT today. The Latin term equinox means equal night with the idea being that there is equally 12 hours of daylight and darkness today. From this point on the days become increasingly short as we head towards the winter solstice. In fact the sunrise today in Montreal is at 6:43am and sets at 6:52pm, so daylight is still winning for now with 12:08 minutes of daylight.

Friday, September 19, 2014

After the frost - a warmer weekend ahead

Not a very dramatic photo, but it does tell the story, frost on this last week of summer. The temperature dipped to 1C (33F) on L'Ile Perrot this morning with patchy frost around, two to three weeks ahead of the average date.
After we get the nonsense of this first frost out of the way, it looks like the weekend will be much warmer. Fall does not arrive until Monday but the geese are heading south this morning, and I wish I could join them. Temperatures under clear skies dropped quickly last night, but a northeast breeze saved us here in Montreal from widespread freezing temperatures. The low on L'Ile Perrot was 1C (33F) just after 4am. The mercury dropped to -1C (30F) in Cornwall, -3C (27F) in Kemptville, and a very cold -5C (23F) in St Jovite, 1 hour north of Montreal. There is patchy frost on the ground here in the city, and a coating of thin ice on some windshields including mine. Other regions around us were much colder as noted, with several hours of freezing temperatures including the Adirondacks, Laurentians, Townships and rural eastern Ontario. Lows in those regions ranged from 0 to -5C.

We will recover nicely today under sunny skies with highs near 14C (56F). Clouds will be on the increase tonight as a warm front moves into the St. Lawrence Valley. The front will bring scattered showers on Saturday, it will be windy and warmer with highs near 22C (72F). Most of the day will be dry and great for outdoor activities. By Sunday a cold front will bring more general showers, a wet and cloudy day can be expected, but it remain mild, near 22C.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Frost Advisory for Southern Quebec - NY & Vermont

Our average frost in Montreal typically does not happen until the first week of October on average. But here we are, the last week of summer 2014, and is it not fitting that we have a frost advisory in effect. The entire region is under the advisory with the exception of metro Montreal near the St. Lawrence River and the Richelieu River Valley. A cold front has slipped south of Montreal early this morning. The front produced between 4 and 5mm of rain overnight and now a stiff northerly wind will develop along with steady or slowly falling temperatures. The high here on L'Ile Perrot was 13C (55F) at midnight and we have been falling since. It is currently a chilly 9C (49F). Look for partly sunny skies today and clear skies tonight. Temperatures will fall tonight to around 0C (32F) in most regions of southern Quebec but as cold as -2 to -4C in the Townships and Laurentians. The same cold conditions can be expected in Eastern Ontario and northern New York and Vermont. Freeze and frost advisories/warnings are in effect in those areas as well. We will see sunshine on Friday with temperatures a little warmer, near 13C (55F). Low pressure will affect Montreal over the weekend with showers developing Saturday and lasting into Sunday. It will be much milder with temperatures near 20C (68F) both days.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Below normal temperatures to continue in Montreal

The sun breaks through the clouds early Sunday morning on Mount Washington, NH. It was a sign of the seasons as cold temperatures produce rime ice and there was even some freezing rain over the weekend.
This is the last full week of summer, but if you stepped outside at any point this weekend, you would think it has checked out already. It was a weekend more suited for mid-October, with cold temperatures, lots of cloud cover, and at times heavy rain on Saturday. Saturday produced 15-25mm of rain across southern Quebec, far more than I was expecting. What should have been spotty showers, turned into a deluge through the middle afternoon. I recorded 18mm here on L'Ile Perrot. The clouds and rain kept temperatures cool with highs near 13C (55F) well below the normal of 19C (66F). Sunday was a touch better, dry, but just as cold with highs near 11C (52F) and lows near 4C (39F).

We nearly had frost early this morning here on L'Ile Perrot with the temperature bottoming out at 2.8C at 3am. The coldest readings were observed across the Townships with several reports of 0C. Clouds and fog developed after that point helping the temperature to warm a few degrees to 7C where we sit now. The week looks rather unsettled but with a very slow warming trend, and by Saturday we should be back to normal, 20C. In the short term clouds today with some sunshine and much warmer highs of 17C (63F). Overnight will be milder but with showers developing that will persist into midday Tuesday. By Wednesday skies should clear out but it will be cool once again with high in the lower teens. The next risk for frost will come by early Thursday morning as lows again head towards 0C across southern Quebec and eastern Ontario.