Thursday, December 31, 2009

SNOW

Simply put it will snow all weekend. Radar shows light snow over Eastern Ontario spreading into western Quebec at this hour of 8pm EST. This snow will taper Friday before another shot begins to wrap around a deepening storm near Cape Cod overnight into Saturday. That snow will become steady across the region especially south and east of Montreal. I think most regions of southern Quebec, New England and extreme eastern Ontario will see between 15 and 30cm by the time Monday rolls around. There may even be more at higher elevations. In addition to the snow winds will begin to increase out of the north on Saturday causing blowing snow. It appears that all forecasts are on track now keeping the mild maratime air well to our east meaning the precipitation will stay as snow. Travel safely...Happy New Year....

I may try to squeeze one more post in later on this evening before the bell tolls midnight. Thank you all again for reading. I have had over 37,000 hits this year. It means so much to me to share my passion for weather with all of you.
Be good, be safe... Stephen B.

Happy New Year

What has been a challenging year for so many, comes to an end tonight under partly cloudy skies and scattered flurries in Montreal. I wish everyone a healthy and happy start to 2010, a new year and a new decade. Be safe and please be good to each other...

Environment Canada has put out its annual list of the top 10 weather events for the past year. You can read them HERE.

STORM?
That storm system moving from the deep south towards Nova Scotia is becoming a real pain. Computer models have been all over the place with the forecast for this upcoming weekend. It will snow everywhere from the Ontario/Quebec border south and east. There is the potential for lots of snow in many areas, but where? Well that keeps changing with every model run. My best guess here, reading the area forecast discussions, is that we will have one of those long drawn out snow events lasting from New Years Day well into early next week. Montreal will remain on the western edge of a deepening storm that will move from Nova Scotia back inland across Maine and finally back out to sea. To complicate the forecast even more some models are predicting a warm front to usher in mild maritime air changing some of the precipitation to rain. As a matter of fact the high temperature forecast for Montreal by Environment Canada for Sunday is plus 5C, while the National Weather Service is forecasting highs below freezing for the same area. Whew! Ok so light snow all weekend. Roads will be slippery and snow covered and winds will be increasing from the north during the period. There is the chance for more than 10cm of snow and blowing snow by the end of the weekend. The storm will be far more intense from Quebec City eastward towards the Gaspe if your travels take you there. The forecast is very fluid so check back here often and prepare for winter weather if travelling.

Happy New Year!

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

New Year - New Storm

Some of the wind blown snow is plowed away (and blown away) in Beaconsfield yesterday.

Lots to talk about this morning in the weather department. First of all it is cold this morning, minus 18C here on Ile Perrot and -20C in the Ottawa area. Yesterday we had a blustery day with lots of blowing snow and biting wind chills around the mid minus twenties.

We can expect a sunny and chilly day today but the wind will ease. Tonight a clipper system approaching from the west will moderate out temperatures and produce a little light snow into New Years Eve. That will be followed by a impressive winter storm taking shape along the east coast of the US. Models have been all over the place with this storm. It is expected to rapidly strengthen east of Cape Cod before retrograding back towards the coast and into northern New England. Many questions are still up in the air regarding precipitation strength and location and wind. The potential does exist for a very heavy snowfall and wind event in the St. Lawrence Valley. The steady snow will begin New Years Day and continue well into the weekend. It is way to soon to pinpoint who will get what, but travel will be greatly impacted. More information will be posted later today on this storm which could be a big one for Montreal and southern Quebec.

• We have a second full moon this month tomorrow night to greet the New Year. The "Full Long Nights Moon" is classified as a "blue moon" because it is the second full moon this month.

• The NHL Winter Classic will be played outside at my favorite ballpark, Fenway Park home of the Red Sox. The game between the Flyers and the Bruins starts at 1pm New Years Day. The weather looks troublesome at this point from the same coastal storm we are concerned about.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Arctic front

An arctic cold front is currently pushing across eastern Ontario heading towards western Quebec. A brief period of heavy snow occurs along the frontal passage and drops several centimetres of snow in a very short period of time. Visibility in snow and blowing snow will drop to less than 1km rapidly. Keep this in mind if travelling the 416, 401, 417, 15, 20 or 40 in the next few hours. Radar is showing the front just west of Ottawa with heavy snow along the 417 to Renfrew. The temperature will fall rapidly with the frontal passage and winds will increase to 30-50km/h out of the northwest. North Bay has already fallen to -18C while Ottawa is -3C and Montreal -1C.

A special weather statement is available HERE. Skies should clear early Tuesday but it will remain windy and bitterly cold. The cold air will remain with us for the balance of the week with a good chance of snow on New Years Day and Saturday.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Winter Weather Advisories

The National Weather Service has posted Winter Weather Advisories for New York and Vermont from 7am Monday until midnight . A winter storm watch for lake effect snow is also posted for numerous counties bordering Lakes Huron, Ontario and Erie on both sides of the border. A potent low pressure trough will slide across the region Monday with a general 5 to 15cm of snow and gusty northwest winds over 50km/h expected in Montreal, Ottawa and points south into the northern US. Conditions will start to deteriorate in the afternoon as the snow becomes heavier and winds increase. In addition to the snow and blowing snow region wide, temperatures will begin to drop to lows by early Tuesday morning of -17C. Travel may become difficult from midday Monday through Tuesday morning along area highways. More snow in the order of 20 to 30cm is expected in the snow squall prone areas around the Great Lakes.

Unsettled week ahead

The most recent rain and freezing rain event appears to be ending across the region with just light drizzle and fog left behind. Most region had an impressive 20 to 30mm of rain and freezing rain with more locally. Hundreds of accidents were reported on icy roads and there were isolated power outages and a few minor transformer fires in the Ottawa Valley. The problem this morning is huge puddles everywhere as the snow blocks drainage paths and the new rain and ice pools on roads. This will become problematic late Monday as an arctic front roars through the region with dropping temperatures. Speaking of that front it will drop a quick 5-10cm of snow in many regions of Ontario, Quebec, New York and Vermont accompanied by dropping temperatures and strong winds. It could be interesting travelling Monday across the area so keep that in mind. Despite all the precipitation that has fallen, today may be the better day of the next three for travel in Ontario and Quebec. In addition to the frontal snow, the lake machine will rev up again with the potential for significant squalls south and east of Lakes Huron, Erie and Ontario. That would include portions of the St. Lawrence Valley for a spell late Monday and early Tuesday from Brockville to Kingston. I will update this event later today. For the short term the ice is over and conditions are improving. Montreal is currently cloudy and 2C.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Icy Roads

The freezing rain began in the Montreal area just after the noon hour today and has continued most of the day. It fell quite steady around 6pm with several millimetres accumulating on trees and wires. The roads were in decent shape but many of the sidewalks and parking lots were treacherous. As of 11pm the warnings have been dropped for the immediate metro region, but I am still showing 0C with a sleet and freezing rain mixture here on Ile Perrot. Across eastern Ontario and the Ottawa Valley the warnings remain in effect, however they have been lowered for Kemptville.

The front will slowly lift north of the region overnight and temperatures should warm to just above freezing allowing the precipitation to be rain. Any untreated roads will remain very slippery.
The photo above is from Merrickville, Ontario. Thanks so much Andy W. for reading and for allowing me to use the photo. The one below is of the sleet and ice accumulating on my car here on Ile Perrot.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Freezing Rain Warning

Steady freezing rain is expected to move into the St. Lawrence Valley overnight and move northeast towards Montreal by noon Boxing Day. Low pressure over Iowa has an occluded front draped to a developing second area of low pressure along the east coast. The combination of both these storms will produce moisture that is falling into the cold air at the surface. Freezing rain is expected to be most prolonged in the St. Lawrence and Ottawa Valley's where 5-15mm of ice accretion is possible. Winds will be gusting out of the northeast from 30-50km/h keeping temperatures at or below 0C. The freezing rain will last well into the evening on Saturday. Travel will become difficult on Saturday and power outages may be possible as well. Freezing Rain Warnings are in effect for southwestern Quebec and Eastern Ontario with a Winter Storm Warning in place for the US side of the St. Lawrence Valley.

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas to all...

An active weather pattern is upon us with a major storm lifting north across the central US plains and into the Great Lakes. West of this system arctic air and strong north winds are producing a Christmas blizzard across the Dakotas, Minnesota, Nebraska, Wisconsin and north into northwest Ontario. Travel is nearly impossible with 30cm of snow and 80 to 100km/h winds. We will remain on the warmer side of the storm with freezing rain and rain. The precipitation has already started in southwest Ontario and is primarily rain. However temperatures at the surface remain below freezing in the St. Lawrence Valley as well as upstate New York and the Ottawa Valley. A winter storm watch is in effect for upstate New York while a freezing rain warning is posted for the Ottawa Valley and east central Ontario. I expect those will be shifted east into Quebec and Montreal. The precipitation will not start till overnight tonight and it will last well into Boxing Day. Look for 5 to 10mm of ice possible, enough to make travel very dangerous Saturday. Afterwards a strong cold front and cold arctic air will sweep the region Sunday with a burst of steady snow into Monday as the cold air deepens. Roads will be snow covered with low visibilities in blowing snow into Monday. Stay tuned for more information and an update on the warnings later today. Lake effect snow will also develop around the Great Lakes on Sunday.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Messy Boxing Day

I want to thank everyone for reading my blog on such a regular basis,
and wish you all a very safe and happy holiday season and a Merry Christmas.

TRACK SANTA NOW WITH NORAD
The weather picture is looking calm in Ontario and Quebec for today and most of Christmas Day. Afterwards a messy low pressure area from Texas will move north towards the central Great Lakes. Two things have happened with this system as the week has moved along. First, much warmer air will be coming north with the storm and secondly it has slowed down somewhat. Therefore the precipitation will start later and we are looking at primarily rain or ice as opposed to snow. Some of the colder more sheltered valley's such as the St. Lawrence and Ottawa may have a prolonged period of freezing rain on Saturday which will make travel very poor and possibly produce some power outages. The good news at this point is that precipitation looks lighter, in the order of perhaps 10 to 15mm. More details need to be ironed out on this forecast and I will update the blog late tonight or early Christmas Day.

Plan accordingly if you are travelling. On Sunday a strong arctic front will move across Ontario and Quebec with gusty winds, snow squalls and dropping temperatures. So travel Sunday into Monday will be no better. Conditions should improve late Monday as the low pressure lifts north and east of the region.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Track Santa

Here is a great site for tracking Santa with a peak at the weather as well...

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Boxing Day Storm

It was a sharply cold morning today with temperatures at -16C at my home on Ile Perrot. I did not expect it to be that cold, add to that a west breeze approaching 20km/h and the air had an edge to it. Ok I am ready for summer now! I used my new snow blower and we are guaranteed a white Christmas so all is well, it can now warm up to 25 or 30C. On that note, in the irony department, places like Washington and Richmond, Virginia as well as large parts of North Carolina will have a white Christmas, while Buffalo, snow capital of North America has no snow cover at all and Burlington, Vermont only has a thin layer on the ground. Bizzaro Christmas!

A weak disturbance today will provide the area with a couple of centimetres of snow into Wednesday. While the accumulations will be minimal, the roads are icing up due to the cold. It should be very pleasant Thursday and Christmas Day with mild temperatures and sunny skies. The weather then becomes a challenge for traveling in Ontario and Quebec late Christmas Day and Boxing Day. As the storm develops over Texas and lifts into the Great Lakes, precipitation will overspread the region. It will begin as snow and then change to freezing rain and eventually rain in southwest Ontario and parts of upstate New York. It appears at this time, and we are several days out, that there will be an extended period of freezing rain possibly dare I say even an ice storm. But as I said, it is still days away and the track remains quite uncertain. There is also the likelihood of another low pressure area developing along the east coast of the US which would complicate the forecast, especially for us here in the St. Lawrence Valley. Stay tuned...but count on decent travel to your destinations, it just may be the return home that is complicated.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Christmas Day storm?

Downtown NYC in the snow Saturday. CNN.com

It was a blizzard for the record books across the middle Atlantic states and up into the extreme coastal areas of the northeast yesterday and today. Heavy snow whipped by 60mph winds fell in a narrow swath from western North Carolina and Virginia through DC and up into New York City, Long Island and Cape Cod. One to two feet of snow fell setting records. Nearly 2 feet fell in Philadelphia beating a record that dated back to 1932. The snow snarled traffic and closed airports in Washington, Baltimore and Philadelphia. Over 3000 accidents were reported in Virginia alone, with 3 fatalities. Washington recorded 18 to 22 inches of snow while parts of New York and eastern Massachusetts had 12 to 15 inches. In Suffolk County on the eastern end of Long Island, East Patchogue reported 27.5 inches of snow with 50 mph winds. The storm is now affecting eastern Nova Scotia with heavy snow.

Winter arrives tomorrow at 12:47 EST here in Montreal. It is just a formality as the cold and snow have been with us since the start of the month. This weekend was chilly but sunny across the region with just a few high clouds from the east coast storm. An Alberta clipper may give us a few flurries late Monday and into Tuesday. The real story will be a Texas low pressure area that is forecast to develop and move north towards the Great Lakes by Christmas Eve. This storm is expected to spread snow, freezing rain and rain across the Midwest and into Ontario and Quebec by Christmas Day. If you are travelling this week, please keep this in mind. The best chance of frozen precipitation will be Christmas Day in Ontario and Christmas night and Boxing Day in Quebec. Please check back often as the forecast is still 5 days out and lots can change.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Big storm...to our south

When arctic high pressure meets moisture you get snow, plain and simple. A strong area of high pressure currently over Quebec is producing the coldest air of the season with temperatures this morning in Montreal and eastern Ontario colder than -20C at numerous locations. It will "warm" to the minus teens today, but not much better. The weekend looks fair but cold with an increase in cloud cover and possibly a flurrie or two along the US border. The clouds and flurries will be in response to a big winter storm taking shape over northern Florida today. Last night an amazing 7 to 14 inches of rain fell in Broward County alone. The low pressure will deepen rapidly and move east of Washington D.C. late Saturday. Heavy rain along the coast will mix with and change to very heavy snow just inland. Over 2 feet may fall in the mountains of western North Carolin and Virginia with 6 to 12 inches closer to the coast. The snow will be driven by 30-50mph winds in some cases. A slew of warnings are flying this morning from the southeast all the way north to Long Island and southern New England. There is even a Blizzard watch for Long Island. In addition to the heavy precipitation, the wind will create high surf with the potential for coastal flooding and beach erosion. This will be a big and paralyzing storm for many east coast cities so if your travel plans take you there be advised there likely will be major delays and closures. I will update this storm later tonight.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Arctic Chill

Deep cold arctic air is moving into eastern Canada along a cold front today with plenty of instability and breezy conditions. As a result, an area of snow and flurries has developed and has become quite steady in Montreal and along the St. Lawrence Valley. The snow is being enhanced near any body of water as the cold air continues to flood into the region. The snow will continue intermittently for most of the day and a few centimeters may accumulate locally. Roads will become snow covered and slippery in the cold temperatures. We have likely reached our high for the day and temperatures will remain steady or drop slowly. Tonight skies will clear, and with the fresh snow cover temperatures will drop into the minus 20’s in eastern Ontario and southern Qu├ębec. It will remain cold right into this weekend.

Monday, December 14, 2009

More fog and ice

Ottawa Citizen photo of the carnage on Highway 416 this morning.


If you are travelling around eastern Ontario and southern Quebec tonight be prepared for icy roads and low visibility in fog. A moist air mass in place is creating ideal conditions for ice fog to form. Fog this morning led to two major multi vehicle collisions on Highway 416 between Ottawa and Manotick. Nearly 70 cars were involved in the crash with only minor injuries reported. The highway was closed for several hours. Similar conditions are possible tomorrow morning along with light snow and freezing drizzle. Radar tonight is showing precipitation in the region along the 20, 401 and 416/417. The air will dry out later in the day and it will turn sharply colder.

-46C!

At one point yesterday, Edmonton International, south of the city centre, was the coldest major city on the planet. The airport hit -46.1C at 5am yesterday morning, and warmed to a sultry -33C for a daytime high. The cold arctic air has the west in its grip with some relief in sight by the end of this week. In the meantime windchill warnings are in effect for all three Prairie provinces. It does not take much of a breeze to produce dangerous wind chills when the temperature is below -30C let alone -40C. The cold has established dozens of records in Alberta and Saskatchewan. The cold air has spread west over the Rockies and along the Pacific Coast. Couple that with moisture moving inland and you get heavy snow, lots of it in Vancouver and Victoria and inland. Some areas will have 20cm along the coast and up to 50cm inland by late Tuesday.

Montreal can expect an arctic front to cross the region Tuesday with a few centimeters of fresh snow and much colder air from Wednesday on. We can expect up to 5cm of snow with the front, along with gusty winds and the risk of some freezing drizzle. Temperatures will drop into the minus teens for the balance of the week.

Yesterday's little episode of snow dumped 7cm in Montreal and 10cm along the 401 at Cornwall. It was far more than the 2-4cm forecast, and it fell in under three hours. Numerous cars hit the ditch as roads became snow packed and visibility dropped to well under 1km. (See below).

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Snowy Sunday

Travel southwest along the 401 and 20 was difficult this afternoon. PJ photo


That little bit of "light snow" this afternoon put down a quick 5-10cm of snow in the St. Lawrence Valley between 1 and 5pm this afternoon. I was attempting to drive from Ile Perrot to Kemptville, and gave up at Cornwall. The snow was heavy and wet with significant accumulations on the 401. The visibility in heavy snow was under 1km most of the afternoon with several cars in the ditch and travel slowed to under 70km/h. It has since tapered off to flurries. It is not to often I get caught in a missed forecast but today was one of those days. The warm air never made it down to the surface in the St. Lawrence Valley so instead of the precip changing to rain, it remained snow. The enhancement of the snow was from a frontal trough sliding southeast into New York state.

Light Precipitation

A low pressure passing well north of the region today will slide a frontal trough through the area. A shot of steady precipitation is accompanying the trough in the form of snow and rain with patchy freezing rain. The precipitation should taper off this evening with a total of about 2-4cm of snow and a few showers. There have been freezing rain warnings posted for southern Ontario as well as winter weather advisories for the Adirondacks and Green Mountains.

Once this system moves out another low will enter the region late Monday with yet another round of rain and snow. This will set us up for an Arctic front late Tuesday the will usher in the coldest air of the season and more lake snows for Ontario and New York. Speaking of lake snows, the radar shot above shows one of the plumes of snow off Lake Huron and Georgian Bay this past week. The wind was so strong aloft and the squalls so intense that they reached into southern Quebec, a distance of over 800km. I have never seen a squall off Lake Huron reach into this region before. The snow fell heavily all the way east to Lanark County where over 30cm fell in Franktown. Closer to the lake shore over 75cm of snow fell in the Grey and Bruce regions as well as the Muskokas. The same was true east of Lakes Ontario and Erie. Snow fell all the way east into Vermont. As much as 4 feet fell on the Tug Hill Plateau south of Watertown and in ski country south of Buffalo. More will fall later this week, but I don't expect them to be as intense.

The snow that fell on Ile Perrot last Thursday depositing a paltry 5cm originated all the way from Lake Huron. Hard to believe for certain.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Weekend Weather

The weekend weather looks windy and chilly for Saturday with another chance of some light snow or flurries for Sunday. Temperatures will be cold Saturday in the -5C range but warm Sunday to near zero.

Yesterday strong winds and the occasional snow squall made travel icy and slow in places across southern Quebec. Believe it or not a couple of centimetres fell on Ile Perrot from a plume of snow extending inland from Lake Huron over 800km to our west. That plume of snow was driven by 100km/h west winds of of all the Great Lakes. The snow piled up nearly 80cm in parts of central Ontario with as much as 20cm all the way east towards Smiths Falls and Lanark County. The Lake Ontario snow band dumped 2 feet of snow on parts of Oswego and Lewis and Jefferson County in western New York and extended as far inland as the Green Mountains of Vermont and the Seaway Valley.

The snow will continue today but shrink to the more traditional spots along the shore lines. Travel today on Interstate 81 and 90 is not advised in the warning areas adjacent to the lakes.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Flurries & Windy

The clean up is underway this morning slowing
morning traffic more than yesterday's storm did!


The big clean up has now begun across the Montreal area from the 28cm of snow that fell yesterday and overnight. It will take 96 hours and over 3000 pieces of equipment to remove the snow from city streets. It will also take 17 million out of the yearly snow budget to carry out the operations.

Another 3-5cm of snow can be expected today. Radar is showing narrow bands of steady snow off Lake Ontario in the traditional snow belts. These snow squalls are being driven unusually far inland by 100km/h winds and reaching far down the St. Lawrence Valley. They should begin to affect the Montreal region this morning. The heaviest snow, measured in feet, will occur in Jefferson and Oswego County in New York. The snow will fall for the next 24 to 36 hours. The same is true off the other Great Lakes. Buffalo even reported a thunderstorm with the snow during the last hour. Snow will also fall along the 401 from Brockville to Kingston.

Other totals from yesterday's storm include 20cm in Cornwall and 22cm in Ottawa. The other factor today will be the surface winds blowing out of the southwest at 40-70km/h in Montreal. They are bringing in much colder air. We have reached our high today of 1C and temperatures will begin to drop. As the snow becomes more granular, blowing snow may also become a problem especially south of the city.

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Windy & White

The massive winter storm that has produced heavy snow, rain, wind, thunderstorms and flooding is now over Lake Huron and will slide east across Ontario and Quebec. The storm is dragging a sharp cold front across the region tonight with winds shifting from northeast to southwest and eventually northwest on Thursday. They have been gusting in Ontario to 111km/h at Long Point, 91km/h at Windsor and 74km/h in Toronto. Those same winds will invade the southern portions of Quebec overnight and I expect gusts to 70km/h. The wind will cause considerable blowing and drifting snow. Nearly 22cm of snow has fallen in Montreal (I measured 30cm on my deck here in Ile Perrot) with another 5-10cm quite possible through Thursday morning. Travel will be difficult in rural areas Thursday due to blowing and drifting snow.

In western New York an intense lake effect snow event is about to take place. Strong southwest winds will blow at 30 to 50mph off both Lakes Erie and Ontario and dump 1-3 feet of snow around Buffalo and Watertown, New York. Travel into or through those regions including Interstate 90 and 81 is not advised until at least Saturday.

In addition to the heavy snow, a lake shore flood warning is in effect as Lake Erie is expected to surge over 9 feet high with crashing waves into the shoreline around Buffalo and Niagara.

The pressure in this storm was so low today it resembled that of a Category 2 hurricane. The pressure continues to fall in Montreal and is currently at 987mb. The lowest I saw today in observations on this side of the border was 977mb at Wiarton, Ontario.

Storm Update

Staying ahead of the storm today in Kirkland, Quebec. SB Pic

Our major winter storm is located along the shores of Lake Michigan this afternoon. It has deepened to a 978 mb low with strong winds and intense precipitation. Steady snow continues to fall in Montreal with more than 15cm this morning. A storm total of over 30cm is expected. Winds have been increasing all day in the St. Lawrence Valley. Visibility has been under 1km for most of the morning at Trudeau Airport. The storm has a nasty cold front that is producing severe thunderstorms in western New York this afternoon. The precipitation will become light this evening in our area but continue through the night. Winds will increase as the cold front approaches and cause considerable blowing and drifting snow. The winds could gust to 70km/h late tonight and Thursday. Behind the front arctic air will pour into the region dropping temperatures and producing heavy wind driven lake effect snows in Ontario and New York.

Storm hits region

NOAA satellite photo of impressive winter storm early this morning.

10am Update: Heavy snow continues to spread north into the St. Lawrence Valley. Cornwall has visibility less than 1km with gusts of wind over 50km/h and Plattsburgh, N.Y. has near zero visibility in heavy snow. Travel is not advised today. Montreal is currently -5C, northeast wind gusting to 41km/h and 0.8km visibility.

The snow started shortly after 7am this morning on the west end of Montreal Island and is spreading rapidly north and east. The heavy snow is just southwest of our region. Already visibility has gone from 24km to 2km at Trudeau Airport and dropping. Winds are in the 30km/h range and will continue to increase as the morning moves along. The center of the intense low pressure area is approaching Lake Michigan at this hour with a wide swath of heavy precipitation along the (warm front) eastern flank of the storm. The heavy snow will continue all day today across eastern Ontario and western Quebec with he heaviest amounts in the St. Lawrence Valley from Montreal northeast where 25-35cm may fall. Ottawa and eastern Ontario is forecasting 15cm with 10-15cm across New England as a mix of sleet or rain mat occur. It remains very chilly in Montreal at -6C. Winter Storm and Wind Warnings are in effect for the entire region. Precipitation will become more scattered this evening before another burst of heavy snow along a powerful arctic front tonight. This will be followed by strong west winds Thursday from 50-70km/h causing cold wind chills and considerable blowing and drifting snow.

**Visibility is now down to 1km in Montreal as of 8am with winds increasing. School bus service has been canceled across Eastern Ontario and several school boards south of Montreal have canceled classes. Call ahead to the airport as flights are beginning to be delayed as well, especially to Toronto and the Midwest US. Drive slowly today or cancel travel all together.

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Winter Storm Update

The big winter storm continues to rapidly deepen as it move northeast across the central plains and into the Midwest. Over 30 States have warnings posted along with three provinces at the moment. Winter Storm Warnings are in effect for all of southern and eastern Ontario and southern and Central Quebec. Heavy snow will move from southwest to northeast in the pre dawn hours Wednesday and reach Montreal by mid morning. The snow will fall heavily before mixing with sleet and maybe rain south of the city late in the day. I expect a good 15cm in all regions with 30cm locally. Winds will be fierce gusting 50-90km/h and up over 100km/h in Quebec City. The wind will greatly reduce visibility on area highways and may make travel along the 20 east towards the old capital impossible.

Stats are impressive so far with the storm with wind gusts over 90 mph in the southwest US. Over 250,000 people lost power in Phoenix last night as the cold front associated with the storm roared east. This will be a storm to remember. There is a real threat of power outages in many areas. South of the border in western New York, flooding is even possible along Lake Erie from a storm surge associated with the strong winds.

Here is a quote from the weather discussion out of Quad City, Iowa.

THIS STORM IS IMPRESSIVE. SNOW AMOUNT WISE...IT HAS BEEN ABOUT 10 YEARS SINCE SNOWS OF THIS MAGNITUDE AND EXPANSE HAVE BEEN SEEN. STORM STRENGTH IS ANOTHER MATTER. BASED ON THE CURRENT FORECAST OF A 980MB OR BETTER SURFACE LOW...IT HAS PROBABLY BEEN 20 TO 30 YEARS SINCE A WINTER STORM OF THIS MAGNITUDE HAS BEEN SEEN IN THE AREA.

I will update the situation early tomorrow morning.

Snowfall Warning

Light snow along the Kemptville Creek in North Grenville yesterday. Just a "warm up" for the main event tomorrow. Photo by J. Kinnear

Environment Canada has posted a snowfall warning for southern and central Quebec for Wednesday. In Ontario for some reason no warnings have been issued yet despite a similar forecast for the St. Lawrence Seaway and Ottawa. I guess with the precipitation primarily falling as rain in the GTA, there appears to be no rush to advise the public of this dangerous winter storm. As the first storm of the year, it will be impressive tracking from Colorado towards Chicago and then north of Montreal. A heavy burst of snow will develop Wednesday morning in southwest Quebec and spread north and east. The snow will mix with sleet and rain in the afternoon in Montreal. Accumulations in our region will be in the order of 15-30cm with 15 at the US border and 30cm in the mountains of New England and north of Montreal. In addition to the snow gusty east winds will approach 60km/h before backing to the northwest Thursday and reach speeds up to 90km/h. The winds will blow around whatever falls.

We are not alone with this storm. Strong winds and heavy snow are falling from Arizona to Illinois with blizzard warnings in effect on the backside of the storm. In the warm sector severe thunderstorms are expected from Texas to Georgia.

Closer to home a Winter Storm warning is in effect for the Adirondacks and Green Mountains, with a Winter Weather Advisory in the Champlain and St. Lawrence Valley. A High Wind Watch has also been issued for New York and Vermont.
This is a difficult storm to forecast with bitter arctic air to the north and very warm air streaming in aloft. The forecast is very changeable so watch for updates today and prepare for nasty weather.

Monday, December 07, 2009

Storm update

Sorry folks, I am a little late on this update. Things are still on track for a big storm beginning late Tuesday in Ontario and Wednesday in Quebec. This is a difficult forecast because of the track of the system which appears to be from Colorado towards Chicago and then Ottawa. The facts are that it will be an intense low pressure area with lots of moisture (over 1 inch liquid) and very strong winds. It will be followed by the coldest air of the season on Friday. It is possible that Montreal and Ottawa could see 10-20cm of snow followed by mixed precipitation. It is also quite probable that we will have wind gusts approaching 100km/h. There are a slew of warnings out tonight across the US from the Rockies to the Great Lakes. I imagine we will see some watches posted locally by tomorrow morning.

The cold air that will invade our region set several record lows in Alberta this morning including -37.5C in Edmonton shattering the previous record of minus 35C in 1972.

BIG storm this week

The mainstream media is finally picking up on what we have been talking about on this blog for a week, the first big winter storm for southern Quebec. While many parts of the country are already having mid winter weather, such as the Prairies and the region around the snowbelts of Lake Huron, we have been relatively mild and snow free. A burst of flurrie activity overnight put down 1-2cm of snow across our area. Another weak area of low pressure will move across the valley this afternoon with another 1-3cm of very light fluffy snow. This is just a warm up for what lies ahead. Tuesday will be the calm before the storm as high pressure dominates with clear and cool weather.

975mb Low
Low pressure will emerge from the southern Rockies and move to near Chicago on Wednesday and just north of Montreal on Thursday. This low is expected to intensify rapidly to a 975mb low. The intense storm will produce heavy precipitation north and east of the system. It appears that snow will start across Ontario late Tuesday and spread into Montreal by Wednesday morning. The onset will be all heavy snow with 10-20cm expected before a push of warmer air and a transition to freezing rain and sleet from Montreal south. From Montreal north it should remain all snow with 25cm plus expected. There may even be some rain along the US border. There is still some question as to the track of the system, but the described scenario above is becoming more clear with each computer model run.

Another component of this storm will be fierce winds. Winds will be northeast from 30-60km/h and then backing Thursday to the northwest 50-70km/h and gusty. These winds will cause blowing snow and reduced visibility. Air and road travel will be impacted all over the Northeast, New England, Ontario, Quebec, the Midwest and eventually the Maratimes. Plan your week accordingly.
The next update will be no later than 7pm this evening.

Saturday, December 05, 2009

First Snow Alert



Snow in Clagary (left) and Houston. Our turn will be this week.
CBC.ca and the Houston Chronicle.


I have been interested in weather since I was a child growing up in Verdun. I began keeping daily weather records in 1979, yep 30 years ago! I used to go by the name VAWB (Verdun Amateur Weather Bureau). It was a little harder in those days, not the same technology we have now, you really had to watch and understand the weather to make a prediction. One thing I liked to do back then was issue my own warnings for people when I felt the forecasters were being a little cautious. One such warning was only issued once a year, the first snow alert. So today I am warning all my readers and friends, we have a first snow alert posted for Montreal, southwest Quebec and all of eastern and Southern Ontario.

Here is the long played out scenario: First of all the Houston snowstorm will move off the middle Atlantic coast today and hit the Maratimes tonight. The Calgary storm that produced visibilities of less than 1km for over 10 hours will slide just south of Montreal on Monday and produce a general 1-3cm snowfall in our region. Cold air will then pour into the region behind that storm while low pressure begins to organize in the US southwest.

The southwestern storm will then move across the Midwest and to near the lower Great Lakes on Wednesday. This storm will have good atmospheric support, a strong wind field and plenty of moisture as it passes just south of Montreal mid week. Combine that with the newly arrived cold air mass, and we are looking at our first snowstorm potential for Wednesday and Thursday. It is early yet, but successive computer model runs are pointing to s significant winter storm for Ontario and Quebec. Stay tuned folks!

Friday, December 04, 2009

Snow in Houston

Interstate 10 in Houston, Texas today.

Quite the weather event taking place today across the deep south. Snow has been falling in the Houston metro area most of the day with a couple of inches of slushy accumulation reported. Winter weather advisories are in effect and freezing temperatures are expected right down to the Gulf of Mexico. When I checked about an hour ago Galveston was actually colder than Montreal with a reading of 2C and light snow.

The winter weather is being caused by an upper level low that is expected to lift northeast from the gulf states towards Cape Hatteras. Snow will spread across the deep south tonight and northward into the middle Atlantic and southern New England. This will be a coastal event with very little effect here in Montreal. Some light snow may spread into southern Vermont. Nova Scotia has posted winter storm watches for their province. Depending on the exact track of the low pressure, 15-25cm of snow could fall.

Southern Saskatchewan and Alberta are bracing for blizzard conditions tonight as cold air pours into that region. 10-15cm of snow with winds up to 70km/h is expected to produce dangerous travel and zero visibility. As the cold air moves south and east we can expect temperatures to gradually lower in Quebec and Ontario as well over the weekend. It will be a slow process. Snow may affect our region by next Wednesday as another storm lifts out of the US towards the Great Lakes. Speaking of the lakes, snow is falling around them in western New York and central Ontario today. Some portions of upper Michigan saw over a foot of snow yesterday.

Of Note: Houston has had more snowfall than Burlington, Vermont this year to date!

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Warm vs Cold

It was a very different weather day today depending on which side of the country you reside. Along the east coast heavy rain and mild temperatures made it feel more like September than December. Dozens of record highs were established for the date in New England including 20C (68F) in Boston and 14C or 57F in Burlington, Vermont. Burlington has yet to have any snow this season which means it is just short of the record for the latest start to winter. That occurred in 1937 when it did not snow till December 7. Winds in the northeast gusted out of the south over 50mph in many areas including Boston. South of Boston at the Blue Hill Observatory a gust to 70 mph was observed.

Montreal was 8C today with about 25mm of rain here on Ile Perrot just southwest of the city. The mild air is being chased out by gusty Northwest winds tonight. It will be cooler this weekend but the main batch of Arctic air will hold off till next week. There is a chance we could see measurable snow on Monday with a greater chance of a storm by Wednesday or Thursday of next week.

Prairie Blizzard...
In the west it is a very different story. Temperatures struggled today to reach -10C across Alberta and Saskatchewan and they have fallen back tonight to -17C in Regina and -20C in Assiniboia. This is just a taste of what is on the way. Winter Storm Warnings have been posted for most of central and southern Alberta for Friday, and they will likely be extended east into Saskatchewan. A strong arctic cold front will slide southeast across the region Friday with intense winds in excess of 50km/h, snowfall of over 15cm and dropping temperatures. Blizzard conditions are likely outside of the major urban areas and travel will be difficult. The front will clear the region and in its wake leave an arctic air mass with temperatures in the minus 20's. It will remain cold all next week.

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Heavy Rain Warning

Low pressure with a wide swath of heavy rain is moving north towards Ontario and Quebec tonight. Radar at 10pm is showing bands of very heavy rain with some freezing rain in isolated pockets moving into the region. The heavy rain will begin overnight and taper off late Thursday. Total amounts of 30-40mm are forecast. In addition to the rain strong winds will develop in the St. Lawrence Valley and gust to over 60km/h. Environment Canada has posted a heavy rain warning for Montreal and the surrounding regions. Currently it is 4C on Ile Perrot so I expect straight rain in the region.

Heavy Rain

Snow and cold temper spirits in downtown Regina yesterday.

Low pressure deepening over the Gulf states is expected to lift north across upstate New York over the next 24 hours. The inland track of this storm will guarantee Quebec and eastern Ontario mild air and rain. Today should be sunny and mild with high temperatures around 5C. Clouds will rapidly thicken tonight, and the rain should begin by midnight. Mild air tomorrow will push temperatures to near 10C with a steady rain all day. Indications are that 25-35mm will fall. It will be windy with gusts over 60km/h expected. This would have been a great first snowstorm!

Winter is settling into portions of the country. It has turned sharply colder across the west with snow falling from Calgary eastward towards Winnipeg. Some parts of southeastern Saskatchewan had 15-20cm yesterday, and it was blown around by cold northwest winds over 50km/h. It is bitterly cold this morning with reading in the -10C to -20C range in Alberta and Saskatchewan, including -20C at Stony Rapids. That arctic air mass will move east but modify as it moves into Ontario and Quebec. Temperatures will cool significantly this weekend with flurries possible, especially around the great Lakes. Low temperatures will be in the -7C range with highs staying below freezing at -1C.