Thursday, December 01, 2016

Welcome to the start of meteorological winter

Heavy wet snow has caused numerous accidents and power outages in Quebec City this morning. (Photo via Twitter @audebrassard)
December 1st is upon us... time to open your advent calendars, oh and prepare for winter. You would be forgiven this morning if you were not thinking about snow and cold, at least here in Montreal. The current temperature at my home on L'Ile Perrot is 8C (48F). The normal high should be 1C (33F). Heavy rain and strong winds spread across southern Quebec overnight. Some thunder and lightning was even observed across the border in Ontario. Northeast of Montreal, the rain transitions to heavy wet snow around Quebec City. Numerous power outages are being reported by Hydro Quebec. Snowfall in excess of 20cm is expected for portions of the lower St. Lawrence today.

Here in Montreal, the temperature will remain steady or slowly fall today, as strong low pressure moves from the Great Lakes into Quebec. The heaviest precipitation is east of Montreal, but scattered showers should persist for most of the day and even into Friday. Temperatures will remain above seasonal norms well into the weekend. The sun may make a brief appearance by Sunday.

December will turn much colder and snowier across most of Canada. This December will not be a repeat of the record-breaking one experienced in 2015. Arctic air is forecast to plunge into the Prairies by early next week, and then slowly spread east. Some snow and much colder weather is forecast for Montreal by next weekend.

A firestorm rages out of control in Gatlinburg, Tennessee early Wednesday morning. (Tennessee Highway Patrol)

Over the last 48 hours, very active weather has prevailed in many regions of the country. Freezing rain in Ontario and Quebec produced multiple accidents on Tuesday morning, some fatal. Heavy snow fell across portions of southwest Manitoba, southeast Saskatchewan and North Dakota. In some cases, over 30cm was reported. In the southern US Tuesday, a prolonged drought helped a wildfire spread out of control, engulfing the tourist town of Gatlinburg, Tennessee in the Smokey Mountains. The fire forced the rapid evacuation of 14,000 residents, sadly, with seven fatalities reported so far. Hundreds of structures, including a 16-storey hotel, were damaged or destroyed in the firestorm. Investigators fear the fire may have been human-caused. The misery continued on Wednesday, as a strong cold front produced heavy thunderstorms and tornadoes. The tornadoes resulted in at least three additional fatalities in the region.

Monday, November 28, 2016

Sunshine to make a brief appearance in Montreal

A transport truck lies on its side during 100km/h winds on the Seal Island Bridge in Cape Breton, Nova Scotia. A Nor'Easter produced heavy snow and rain on Sunday, from Atlantic Canada into far eastern Quebec. (NovaScotia.ca)
Welcome to my 2500th Blog Post. As always, thank you for stopping by. I appreciate your time, and enjoy talking about the weather so much, as I have since I was 10. Life has become a little challenging this year, so I do apologize for the breaks between posts at times.

November is living up to its reputation of being one of the cloudiest and dreariest months of the year. The last week has been solid proof of this in the St. Lawrence Valley, with low clouds, fog and mixed precipitation. Most of the snow that fell last week has melted away in the city. If you like the sun, try to get outside today. High pressure will nose into the region, with breaks of sunshine from time to time. Temperatures will be close to normal, with highs near 2C (36F).

The break from the poor weather will be brief, as clouds will be increasing overnight. Strong low pressure, developing in the central plains, will become our next weather maker. The storm is forecast to move from the Dakotas slowly into the Great Lakes, and eventually Quebec as the week progresses. A warm front will approach southern Quebec, overnight, with a period of mixed precipitation. Light rain and snow is possible, with perhaps a period of freezing rain, especially north of Montreal and in the Ottawa Valley. A second area of low pressure will develop along the northern Gulf Coast and move towards New England. All of this next system's precipitation will be in the form of plain rain for the balance of the week, as temperatures warm well above normal to between plus 6 and 8C (42 to 48F). Overnight lows for the week should remain above freezing as well.

Winter Tires!
Briefly looking ahead into December, early indications are for a cold and stormy period. Arctic air is poised to dive into the southern Prairies by next weekend and spread eastward into the Great Lakes. This will combine with an active storm track across the northern US and produce snow in Montreal during the first week of December. If you have not prepared your car or home for winter, take advantage of the mild week ahead to do so. I can guarantee you one thing, this December will not be anything like last year.

Monday, November 21, 2016

First winter storm splits southwest Quebec

Heavy snow fell on L'Ile Perrot late Sunday and overnight, with nearly 15cm reported. Only 5cm fell at Trudeau Airport. (ValleyWeather)
Strong low pressure, located near Quebec City this morning, will lift off towards the northeast today. Wrap-around moisture continues to impact southwest Quebec and Ontario, in the form of light snow. As expected, the rain changed to snow on Sunday, from west to east as the day progressed. It left a deep snow pack for some locations, with very little in the way of accumulations elsewhere. At my home on L'Ile Perrot, the rain changed to snow around 3:00pm. The snow fell steady for most of the evening, into the wee hours this morning. I measured a good 15cm (6 inches) of snow at 6:00am this morning, but higher amounts fell southwest of the city, in Valleyfield and across eastern Ontario.

The rain/snow split on the island of Montreal seems to have occurred around Trudeau Airport in Dorval, where 5cm fell, along with 10-15mm of rain. As you move west from the airport, the snow gets deeper; moving east it tapers off rather rapidly. The weight of the snow in my area has crushed some hedges and trees. Numerous power outages have also been reported by Hydro Quebec, with over 16,000 customers in the dark this morning. Most of these are located southwest of Montreal, and north of the Ottawa River. In Montreal, the morning commute is very slow. The major highways are in good shape, but most city streets are iced up. Light snow will continue today, with another 2-4cm possible. Gusty northwest winds will reach 40 to 60km/h, producing some blowing snow, especially along Highway 20 towards Ontario. Temperatures will be cold today, remaining steady near -1C (30F).

Sunday, November 20, 2016

The first snowfall of the season today in Montreal

AccuWeather radar shows the precipitation changing from rain (green) to snow (blue) across eastern Ontario and the Ottawa Valley early Sunday morning. The snow will spread into Quebec later today.
Temperatures are dropping rapidly this morning in Montreal, behind a potent cold front. At 7:30 am, the temperature was 2C (36F) here on L'Ile Perrot, down from 7C (45F) at midnight. Rain has started this morning and will gradually change to wet snow this afternoon. The snow will persist into Monday, with accumulations of 5 to 10cm (2 to 4 inches) forecast for the city. Heavier snow and blowing snow is expected across eastern Ontario and far western Quebec, including the 401 corridor towards Kingston. These regions are under a snowfall warning through Monday. Accumulations in those areas, including Ottawa, will be in the 15 to 30cm (6 to 12 inch) range. Gusty northwest winds are already reaching 70km/h in southern Ontario, spreading into eastern Ontario and southern Quebec later today. Winds of 30 to 70km/h will persist into Monday afternoon.

Low pressure located over northeast Ontario will move into central Quebec today. A second area of low pressure is currently developing over southern New England and will lift into eastern Quebec. Abundant moisture, along with cold northwest winds, will produce snow over the entire region. The snow will not taper off until late Monday. The temperature will fall to -2C (29F) tonight and rise only to 0C (32F) on Monday. The Monday-morning commute will be challenging in Montreal, to say the least. Give yourself plenty of extra time.

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Calm before the storm for southwestern Quebec

Blizzard conditions pounded sections of Minnesota and northwest Ontario on Friday. Numerous accidents were reported along with several fatalities from the first storm of the season. The snow arrives in Montreal by Monday. (KARE 11 Photo via Twitter)
Dense fog has developed once again this morning in Montreal. The fog is expected to dissipate by mid-morning allowing sunshine to warm temperatures to 13C (55F). The record high for November 19 is 16.7C set in 1953. We have an outside shot at this, if the wind can shift out of the northeast. On Friday, a northeast breeze resulted in a high of 9C (48F) in Montreal. At the same time, over a dozen locations in Ontario reported record highs, including Windsor at 21.6C (71F), eclipsing the record of 18.9C set in 1971.

We now shift our attention to the first winter storm of the season. Low pressure over northwest Ontario this morning is forecast to move eastward into western Quebec by Sunday. A strong cold front will sweep across the St. Lawrence Valley overnight with rain developing. Temperatures fall rapidly behind the front, with rain changing to snow in Ontario during Sunday and towards Montreal by Sunday night. A special weather statement is currently in effect for southern Quebec as well as eastern Ontario. South of the border, winter storm warnings are in effect for the St. Lawrence Valley of New York, as well as the Adirondacks and Green Mountains.

So what does all this mean? Basically we are looking at a 24 to 36 hour snowfall from late Sunday into Monday night for the entire region. Amounts will be based on elevation and how rapidly any location changes form rain to snow. At this time, the heaviest amounts are expected across the mountains of southern Quebec and New England. However, western regions of our forecast district, including Cornwall and the Seaway Valley, may see 10 to 15cm of snow by late Monday. I think Montreal will settle into the 5 to 10cm range. Temperatures will turn much colder, and strong northwest winds are forecast, a far cry from what we have been experiencing so far this fall.

Friday, November 18, 2016

Wild weather weekend for Montreal: from record warmth to snow

Dense fog slowed the Friday morning commute in Montreal. Several accidents were reported, as the visibility fell to under 0.5 kilometres. (Valley Weather Photo)
A large winter storm continues to develop over central Minnesota this morning. This system has produced snow from Colorado northeast into western Ontario. Heavy snow and strong winds are creating difficult travel conditions for a wide area of the northern plains and upper Midwest. In excess of 30cm (1 foot) of snow is forecast for Thunder Bay and the surrounding regions of western Ontario. The storm is forecast to move east into Ontario and Quebec over the weekend. On the east side of the system, in advance of the storm, warm air will surge northward into southern Quebec. High temperatures are forecast to be in the low-to-middle teens today and Saturday in Montreal. Thick fog is expected for both mornings. Once the fog burns off, expect a sunny and warm day, with near record-high temperatures for Montreal.

A sign of the seasons; The Denver metro area had a record high of 27C (80F) on Wednesday. Less than 36 hours later, snow fell, causing hazardous driving conditions and hundreds of accidents. (AccuWeather)
First Snowfall for Montreal
On Saturday night, a strong cold front, associated with the aforementioned winter storm, will slide across eastern Ontario and into the St. Lawrence Valley. A period of steady rain is expected into Sunday, along with rapidly dropping temperatures and increasing northwest winds. By Sunday night, temperatures will approach the freezing point, with rain changing to snow in Montreal and southern Quebec. Snow is forecast, in varying intensities, through Monday morning. At this time, accumulations are very difficult to pinpoint, due to the warm weather in advance of the snow. However, expect a dusting up to as much as 10cm (4 inches) in some locations by Monday. Roads may be snow-covered and slippery, so prepare now for winter driving during the Monday morning commute. I will update this situation later today and over the weekend via The Suburban Twitter feed and Facebook page as well as at valleyweather.blogspot.com

Thursday, November 17, 2016

First snowflakes of the season expected in Montreal

Snowy commute on L'Ile Perrot, November 24, 2015. This could easily be the scene by Monday morning. Much colder weather and the chance of some snow is expected by the end of the weekend and next week. Get your snow tires on now.
Roughly in-line with 2015, the first snow of the season is forecast for Montreal by the end of the upcoming weekend. Before we reach that point, very mild air will surge northward into Ontario and Quebec to end this week. Clearing skies today will allow for moderating high temperatures to 10C (50F). Clear skies are expected overnight for the entire area, along with patchy fog. The forecast low will be either side of 0C (32F) in metro Montreal. Friday and early Saturday will be breezy and very mild, with high temperatures approaching the low teens. The record high for both Friday and Saturday in Montreal is 16.7C (62F) set back in 1953. We may have an outside shot at that Saturday, depending on how much sunshine we receive. This is where the good weather news comes to an end.

Install your snow tires NOW
Strengthening low pressure is expected to move from North Dakota into the western Great Lakes by Friday. This storm will provide the first blizzard of the season for portions of the western Great Lakes, upper Midwest and western Ontario. Strong winds will combine with 20cm (8 inches) of snow, to provide very poor travel weather along the Trans Canada Highway either side of Thunder Bay, Ontario by Friday morning. As this storm pulls east, a strong cold front will sweep across southern Quebec late Saturday. Temperatures will plummet from near record highs Saturday, as the coldest air of the season arrives. Daytime temperatures on Sunday in Montreal will actually fall most of the day. Overnight lows by Monday morning may be as cold as -5C (23F), with daytime highs on both Monday and Tuesday near 1C (33F). There is also a good chance rain will develop late Saturday and mix with snow by Sunday evening into Monday. Accumulations are difficult to pinpoint at this time, but expect slippery driving conditions early next week. Looking ahead into the middle and late portion of next week, the weather will remain cold in southern Quebec, with another chance of rain and snow by Thursday.

First snowflakes of the year expected in Montreal

Snowy commute on L'Ile Perrot, November 24, 2015. This could easily be the scene by Monday morning. Much colder weather and the chance of some snow is expected by the end of the weekend and next week. Get your snow tires on now.
Roughly inline with 2015, the first snow of the season is forecast for Montreal by the end of the upcoming weekend. Before we reach that point, very mild air will surge northward into Ontario and Quebec to end this week. Clearing skies today will allow for moderating high temperatures to 10C (50F). Clear skies are expected overnight for the entire area, along with patchy fog. The forecast low will be either side of 0C (32F) in metro Montreal. Friday and early Saturday will be breezy and very mild, with high temperatures approaching the low teens. The record high for both Friday and Saturday in Montreal is 16.7C (62F) set back in 1953. We may have an outside shot at that Saturday, depending on how much sunshine we receive. This is where the good weather news comes to an end.

Install your snow tires NOW
Strengthening low pressure is expected to move from North Dakota into the western Great Lakes by Friday. This storm will provide the first blizzard of the season for portions of the western Great Lakes, upper Midwest and western Ontario. Strong winds will combine with 20cm (8 inches) of snow to provide very poor travel weather along the Trans Canada Highway either side of Thunder Bay, Ontario by Friday morning. As this storm pulls east, a strong cold front will sweep across southern Quebec late Saturday. Temperatures will plummet from near record highs Saturday, as the coldest air of the season arrives. Daytime temperatures on Sunday in Montreal will actually fall most of the day. Overnight lows by Monday morning may be as cold as -5C (23F), with daytime highs on both Monday and Tuesday near 1C (33F). There is also a good chance rain will develop late Saturday and mix with snow by Sunday evening into Monday. Accumulations are difficult to pinpoint at this time, but expect slippery driving conditions early next week. Looking ahead into the middle and late portion of next week, the weather will remain cold in southern Quebec, with another chance of rain and snow by Thursday.