Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Heavy rain & windy for Christmas 2014 in Montreal

The storm system that will be responsible for our wet and windy Christmas in Montreal, spawned several rare December tornadoes Tuesday from Louisiana to Mississippi. (WDAM News)
Southwest winds 60-100km/h Christmas Day.

It looks like those of you who wanted a wet and green Christmas will have your wish come true. Rain is falling across the northeast and southern Ontario into Quebec on this Christmas Eve. Low pressure is lifting north from Mississippi towards Lake Huron. Mild air will surge north into our region guaranteeing rainfall for the next 24 hours. The rain combined with snow melt will produce some localized flooding. There may even be a thunderstorm is some locations especially in Ontario. Temperatures will warm from current readings around 5C (41F) up to 10C (50F) by Christmas morning in Montreal. The high temperature record for today is 8.3C (47F) set in 1957, that one should be ok, but we have a shot at the warmest Christmas record high of 11.7C (53F) set in 1964.

Besides the 25mm (1 inch) of rain expected in the St. Lawrence Valley, winds will increase sharply on Christmas morning in advance of a cold front. Southwest wind gusts to 80km/h are possible in Montreal with 100km/h possible in Ontario. Warnings will likely be posted later today for that element. The wind could lead to power outages or some trees toppling. Skies will clear for Boxing Day with a cooler high of 3C (38F), still well above normal. Unsettled weather returns over the weekend with a chance of rain or snow and then snowy and much colder into the last week of 2014.

This same weather system spawned severe thunderstorms and tornadoes on Tuesday along the Gulf Coast from Louisiana to Mississippi. Thousands were left without power and numerous buildings were damaged or destroyed. Sadly, 4 fatalities and multiple injuries were reported in Columbia, Mississippi. Severe weather will stretch from Florida to the North Carolina today with thunderstorms possible as far north as New York and Ontario.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Freezing Rain Warning for Montreal & Eastern Ontario

Santa may have trouble landing the sleigh in rain across Ontario and Quebec this Christmas Eve. (TWC Image)
A warm front approaching the St. Lawrence Valley early this morning is producing a wide area of light snow and freezing rain from Kingston across upstate New York and into southern Quebec and the Ottawa Valley. Light snow and sleet are falling in Montreal with slippery roads and a current temperature of -4C (25F).

Warnings are in effect for 2mm to as much as 10mm of frozen precipitation throughout the day in Quebec, enough to make travel very icy. Already this morning Highway 401 east of Kingston, Ontario is closed due to a crash, traffic is at a standstill according to MTO cameras. If you can wait to travel today, best to do so at least until late afternoon when temperatures should warm above freezing south and west of Montreal. It will take longer northeast of Montreal, likely into the overnight hours to warm up. By Christmas Eve everybody should be above freezing as a second more intense storm arrives in western Quebec.

This second storm, developing along the Gulf Coast, will send a surge of mild air and deep moisture north Wednesday into early Christmas Day. Montreal and most of eastern Ontario can expect a decent rainstorm with over 25mm (1 inch) of rain and winds increasing out of the west to over 50km/h. Temperatures may approach record high values in some parts of eastern Ontario and southwest Quebec Christmas Eve and Day. Look for highs to rise through 0C (32F) today up to between plus 7C and 10C (45 to 50F) Wednesday. There may even be a rumble or two of thunder Christmas Eve, just to add to the odd weather. On Christmas Day look for clouds along with a shower and mild highs of 5C (41F). A cold front may produce some flurries along with colder weather into Boxing Day. It will become very windy as well.

Winter enthusiasts don't despair, it looks like much colder and snowier weather to end the year, more on that later.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Windy - wet Christmas Day for Quebec & Ontario

Just a typical scene from Montreal during winter in the 1970's. I was blessed to be a child in this city during that time.
Happy Winter, the season arrived at 6:03pm Sunday evening.

If there is one thing I hate, it is rain on Christmas Day. You have to understand, I am a child of the 70's, as far as I am concerned, the best decade out of the last 5. The 1970's were just awesome at Christmas time. A look back at the stats for Montreal backs that up with lots of snow at Christmas time for sledding and skiing and ice at the park to skate on. I remember 1975 for example, 74cm of snow for the month, 3 storms including a Christmas Day storm that dumped 27cm into Boxing Day. There were others as well throughout the decade. This was my childhood, snowy Christmas after snowy Christmas throughout the 70's until 1979 that is. It seemed to change overnight as the decade was coming to an end. Christmas Day 1979 was green, the first of my childhood. It rained, over 31mm on the 25th. The month was very mild with only 8cm of snow, but 64mm of rain. It could be global warming, it could be the fact I turned 13, but either way the magic for me ended in 1979. After that, and certainly in the last 20 years, you have a more than even chance of rain and a green Christmas as you do for snow on December 25th in Montreal.

That brings me to Christmas 2014 and the likelihood of heavy rain and gusty winds throughout the middle portion of this week. To start the week we have chilly temperatures along with some fog and perhaps a few flurries. Low pressure developing along the Gulf coast will combine with another over the Great Lakes to create a potent storm by late Tuesday. This system will draw mild air into New England, Ontario and Quebec. Temperatures will begin warming by Tuesday and rise above freezing through Christmas Day. Heavy rain, from 25-50mm (1-2 inches) is likely from Wednesday into early Thursday. There may be a little freezing rain early on in the event on Tuesday afternoon. Temperatures will warm to 5C (41F) in Montreal and as warm as 10C (50F) in Toronto by Christmas Eve. Winds will also increase with this storm gusting well in excess of 50km/h by Wednesday. A cold front will bring an end to the rain late Thursday with perhaps a few flurries into Friday.

It is a very busy travel week for many and warnings may be required by Tuesday. I will update the blog as often as needed through Christmas Eve.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Potential Christmas Eve storm Ontario & Quebec

Wrapping up the snow clearing operation on L'Ile Perrot from last weeks storm. (ValleyWX Photo)
This dreary, soupy weather we have been in for at least a week has become rather tiring. The last week has seen low clouds, fog, light precipitation and temperatures hovering around 0C (32F) all the time here in Montreal. This morning is no different with a current reading of, you guessed it, 0C. We will remain steady there today into tonight as low pressure deepens in the Atlantic Ocean east of Nova Scotia. This system is producing quite a decent snowfall in Maine and New Brunswick with 15-20cm falling. The western edge of it is producing light snow across southern Quebec with 5-10cm for Sherbrooke and Quebec City and 2-4cm for Montreal. The snow should taper by noon for Montreal followed by cloudy skies. Temperatures will be a little cooler tonight under clearing skies with lows of -5C. Friday into Sunday should be partly cloudy with temperatures near -1C.

A pattern change looks likely for the week of Christmas across Ontario and Quebec. Much colder air is forecast to arrive by Boxing Day with the increasing potential for a major storm for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. Some computer models have a very deep storm system over the central Great Lakes by next Wednesday producing heavy amounts of snow north and west of the track and mixed precipitation here in Montreal. It would be a very windy system as well. There remains lots of uncertainty with this forecast as to timing and location of specific precipitation, however with it being a busy travel week we need to put it out there early. Have a back up plan ready just in case, this applies to our entire region into Ontario and south into the Ohio Valley, New York and New England.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Dreary but mild week ahead for Montreal & Ottawa

The storminess has shifted to the west coast of North America with heavy rain and snow as well as very strong winds and coastal flooding from B.C. to California. The dramatic photo above is from Mission Terrace, California. The storms have killed three in California producing flooding, landslides, power outages and massive transport delays. (Photo via Twitter,
Low clouds and fog and in some cases freezing drizzle continue to prevail across eastern Ontario and southern Quebec this morning. It is quite mild at -2C with very little movement in temperature over the entire weekend. Low pressure that brought us our first big snow last week is now located well east of the region over the Atlantic. High pressure has been trying to clear skies out since Saturday but to no avail. Moisture trapped at the surface has created a temperature inversion and left us with solid cloud cover. Sadly the clouds will hang on until the arrival of the next weather system, so it does not look good for any sunshine. Temperatures will be mild in Montreal for the next several days, near 0C (32F) today and Tuesday and above freezing to 2C (36F) on Wednesday. Low pressure will move very near the St. Lawrence Valley on Wednesday with a period of rain or mixed precipitation before changing to snow Wednesday night.  This is not a big storm, so amounts will be on the light side. It nevertheless will make for some slippery driving mid week. Temperatures will trend colder by the end of the week but no real arctic air is forecast until after Christmas.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Storm lessens grip on region

An emotional goodbye to Montreal Canadiens great Jean Beliveau  took place on Wednesday, played out in typical Montreal hockey weather. Despite the heavy snow and strong winds thousands gathered for the funeral. This included hundreds of fans who lined the streets for the two hour funeral, watching it on frozen big screens outside the church. (CTV News)
The first big winter storm of the season for metro Montreal will begin to slowly taper off today. Nearly 27cm (11 inches) of snow has fallen in Montreal with a general 15-30cm (6-12") across the entire region. The snow has been wet and heavy and difficult to clean. Temperatures for the duration of the storm have been within a few degrees of 0C. The official high at Trudeau Airport on Wednesday was 0.2C with a low of -0.8C, not much range. Typically coastal lows pass very quickly on the way to Atlantic Canada but not this one. It has lingered over New England now for 48 hours and will continue to do so well into Friday before weakening. The result has been lots of Atlantic moisture being transported inland as far west as Toronto this morning. Light snow will continue into Friday before ending with perhaps another 5cm for Montreal. The weekend at this time looks fair and mild for the big cleanup.

Rainfall has exceeded 100mm (4 inches) across portions of New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and PEI, while heavy snow and freezing rain knocked out power to over 20,000 Hydro Quebec customers, mostly in the Quebec City and the Eastern Townships. Winds around Quebec City and the lower St. Lawrence were as high as 100km/h on Wednesday. Numerous flights in and out of Trudeau Airport were either delayed or cancelled. The roads were terrible during the evening commute with a number of major accidents and even the closer of Highway 20 east of Quebec City due to whiteout conditions.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Long duration storm for Quebec, NY & Ontario

Around 10cm of wet snow fell on L'Ile Perrot overnight. More on the way this afternoon. (ValleyWX)
 Low pressure this afternoon is located over southern New York State. The system continues to send moisture across New England and into New York, Ontario and Quebec. Around 10cm (4 inches) of very dense heavy wet snow has fallen in Montreal and west into eastern Ontario with areas of freezing rain across the Townships. Quebec City has had 8cm of snow. Winter Storm Warnings and Snowfall Warnings remain in effect across the region. Another surge of moisture should arrive in Montreal by this afternoon with an additional 10-15cm (4-6") forecast into Thursday morning. Strong winds are also occurring today with gusts to 60km/h in Montreal.

Green Mountain Power crews in Vermont are keeping busy after heavy snow brought down trees on power lines. Over 35,000 customers were without power overnight. (NECN)
 Hydro Quebec is reporting nearly 10,000 customers without power due to the storm across the province, while Green Mountain Power in Vermont has nearly 17,000 blacked out. This number in Vermont is down from a high of 35,000 overnight. It may take days to restore all the power in Vermont, depending on how this next batch of moisture plays out. Roads are in good shape right now in metro Montreal, mostly slushy with the temperature stuck at 0C (32F) since 3am this morning. That may change as more snow arrives later this afternoon.