Friday, December 31, 2010

Happy New Year

Parts of the world are ringing in the New Year already including Taiwan and Hong Kong. It has been a good year for me and for weather, much better on both accounts than 2009. What will 2011 bring? Who knows, as the seemingly endless grab bag of weather continues across Canada and North America. According to Environment Canada, 2010 was the warmest on record for all of Canada including here in Quebec. The wild swings in extreme weather are only expected to worsen a our planet warms up.

Today the freezing rain threat is over here in the south as temperatures have soared above freezing and will stay there right into late Saturday night. North and east of Montreal it remains slippery on highways especially towards Quebec City. Heading west all is well until northern Ontario where heavy snow and freezing rain is expected.

Thank you once again for reading and commenting on the 315 posts this year, and for pushing my hits over 100,000. It is a thrill to talk about the weather with all of you. My warm wishes to all of you for 2011 and please lets take the time to be good to each other. We have the power... Stephen B

Happy New Year!

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Freezing Rain Warning

Environment Canada has issued freezing rain warnings for the overnight and early morning period for extreme eastern Ontario and southwestern Quebec including metro Montreal, Ottawa and Cornwall. A warm front to our west will cross the region overnight. Mild air aloft will produce some very light rain and drizzle that will freeze on contact with below freezing surfaces. The threat for icing will diminish in our region by mid-morning Friday as temperatures warm well above freezing to a forecast high of 4C. Fog may also develop locally overnight reducing visibility at times..

Light precip to start New Year

More water, mud and flooding for California yesterday. (LA Times)

It has been quite a stormy holiday period, just not in southern Quebec. The weather map this morning features that departing monster northeast storm finally moving east of Atlantic Canada. That storm by the way had a low barometric pressure reading near Nantucket similar to that of a Category 3 hurricane at 28.44". Another powerful storm hammered the California coast yesterday with more flooding and mudslides. The storm has now moved into the Rockies with a surge of warm air on the east flank of the storm and bitter cold on the west side. Snow and blowing snow with blizzard conditions are spreading across most of the Rockies and northern plains north into extreme southern Saskatchewan and Manitoba. The snow will spread across the upper Midwest and northwest Ontario today. Further east the threat will be in the form of light freezing drizzle or rain across Ontario and southern Quebec, but it will be very light and brief later New Years Eve. If it becomes a problem and impacts travel I will post that later today or Friday. Today will be cloudy and mild with a flurrie or two. Temperatures will nose above freezing today in our region and remain there into the weekend.

Further south a big warm up will occur melting some of that snow that fell earlier this week. There will also be a threat for severe weather across portions of the southern US to end 2010. Looking ahead the weather will be seasonable and cloudy to start the New Year in Ontario and Quebec with no major storms in sight at this time.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Dirty high pressure

I should have known when I washed my car yesterday on the promise of three or four days of dry weather, that snow would soon follow. I awoke this morning to a flurries and some menacing freezing drizzle that has forced road crews to put sown a layer of salt to combat the black ice. As a result no more clean car. So why the precipitation? Well we are under what is known as a dirty high pressure ridge. Normally temperature cools with altitude. In this case we have a layer of slightly warmer air above the surface (an inversion), that is trapping pollutants and moisture at the surface. Add to that a light flow of moisture from a water source, Atlantic or Great Lakes, and presto cloud cover and very light precipitation. The visibility is down to 6km at Dorval this morning with light snow and freezing drizzle (-5C). It should break up by afternoon but could redevelop tonight. Temperatures will be mild for December right into New Years.

Meanwhile the storm in Atlantic Canada is finally loosening its grip on the region with seas and winds subsiding today. The area was hammered yesterday with heavy rain and snow and strong winds. Widespread power outages were reported and another storm surge caused considerable damage. In New Brunswick alone, the price tag from 4 storms this month is expected to exceed 50 million dollars.

Our attention will now turn to another storm taking shape in the southwest US. It is forecast pass well west of Montreal putting us in mild air with showers on the weekend. However if you are traveling north or east of the city, a period of freezing rain is possible. In northwest Ontario, Manitoba and Saskatchewan, it will be heavy snow, windy and cold. We will have more on that as the day and week move along.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Warming trend to end 2010

While we missed out on the most recent storm, the cold of the past month has allowed the more than 70cm of snow that has fallen on Montreal to remain on the ground and in piles around the city. It will warm up above freezing Saturday with some melting occurring. ValleyWX Pic

Our major northeast snowstorm is now well into Atlantic Canada with seas and winds expected to subside later today. Winds have been fierce in the region with a 104km/h gust at Miscou Island, NB and 152km/h at Grand Etang, NFLD and 165km/h at Wreckhouse, NFLD. Warnings remain in effect today as snow and wind continue. Over 40cm has fallen in Bathurst with more snow expected today across northeast New Brunswick and the Gaspe. This was the fourth storm in a month to cross the area.

The rest of us are in for a breezy and cold day with wind chills in the minus teens and some areas of blowing snow especially across Vermont and New York. We are then expecting a major pattern change towards the weekend with much above normal temperatures into New Years Eve and Day. Expect sunshine until Friday and then a few clouds and showers for the weekend with temperatures up to 4C expected.

It is cold this morning all the way south in Florida with 19F at Tallahassee and 23F at Jacksonville.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Blizzard pounds New England

Satellite image from the NWS shows just how close the clouds and precipitation came to Montreal. The center of the storm can be seem swirling off the coast east of Cape Cod.

11:30am UPDATE: Low pressure is moving northward along the Maine coast and into Nova Scotia at this hour. Warm air on the east side of the storm has pushed temperatures to almost 10C in Halifax with steady rain expected. Meanwhile cold north winds have produced low wind chills and lots of snow and blowing snow on the west side of the storm. Some totals to 11am this morning include a trace at Montreal and Plattsburgh to 2.5" at Burlington and 18" at Wells River, Vermont, with up to 2 feet in New Jersey and metro New York. Airports in Boston, NYC and Newark remain closed.
An area of moderate snow has developed in the Champlain Valley at 11am and has nosed just northward into southern Quebec. It will coat the roads quickly so if you are travelling south of Montreal on Highway 15, I-89 or I-87, keep this in mind. It will taper off this afternoon, but remain very windy and cold with areas of blowing and drifting snow.
Strong low pressure located near Cape Cod continues to produce heavy snow and 40mph winds across much of Vermont and New Hampshire this morning southeast towards the coast. Montreal remained on the western edge of the cloud shield from the storm with high pressure in control. It is blustery and very cold this morning but the region has only had a few flurries. You have to go south of the border towards Burlington before travel problems with snow and low visibilities begin.

The snow has been very heavy across Vermont with reports of over a foot in the southern half of the state. Travel along the east coast is nearly impossible this morning with thousands of flights cancelled. The NFL game between Philadelphia and Minnesota was cancelled last evening due to the storm. Amtrack rail service has also been postponed between New York and Boston. Precipitation will taper off today as the storm moves towards Nova Scotia. Winds however will continue to produce biting cold, blowing snow and a pounding surf across a wide area of New England and eastern Canada. More coastal flooding is forecast in hard hit Atlantic Canada and eastern Quebec. The area has been hammered by several storms this December producing lots of flooding and damage to coastal infrastructure.

I am still digging around for snow totals, but one that impressed me late last night was 18 inches at Cape May, New Jersey, while less than 100 miles away, Philadelphia only had 4 inches. This storm, while being very intense, has a sharp cutoff in the snow as you move west away from the center. While locations in southern Vermont have had close to 20 inches of snow, Swanton on the Canadian border has had a trace.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Montreal remains on edge of blizzard

Travel was poor on I-40 in North Carolina on Christmas Day. (Asheville Chronicle)

A major east coast storm will shut down Holiday travel today from the deep south into Atlantic Canada. Low pressure will deepen rapidly of the Carolina coast and lift to just off Cape Cod by Monday morning. Heavy snow has been falling west of the storm track across the deep south since yesterday. Places like Atlanta and Birmingham had their first white Christmas in decades. The heavy snow across North Carolina has prompted a State of Emergency. Meanwhile a large amount of Blizzard and Winter Storm Warnings are scattered across the middle Atlantic and New England with snow from Virginia Beach north. From 12-20 inches of snow is expected in New York City and Boston. The heavy snow will be accompanied by strong north winds up to 35mph. The heavy snow and wind will spread across Maine and into New Brunswick and Nova Scotia into Monday.

Snow will also fall in our region with the northern extent being near the US border with Vermont. The National Weather Service in Vermont has winter weather advisories posted for northern Vermont with 2-7 inches expected, with Winter Storm Warnings for southern Vermont for 7-14 inches. The snow will edge very close to Montreal but I expect only a few flurries here, with very cold north winds and chilly temperatures. Clouds will be on the increase today with winds becoming northeast and then north from 30-50km/h. If you are travelling south expect poor weather to develop near the US border later today. Travel is not recommended south of Plattsburgh, NY or Burlington this afternoon and tonight (I-87/I-89/I-91). Travel east to Quebec City will become poor later tonight and Monday. Travel to Ontario will not be affected with this storm.

I will update this storm later today.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas

Happy December 25th everybody. Thank you so much for reading all year long. I appreciate it more than I could ever express on this blog. I have been talking about the weather since I was 5, and it is nice to have an audience now!

It is a chilly Christmas in Montreal, we dropped to -14C at the airport but much colder off island as low as -19C. We have very high cirrus clouds today with hazy sunshine and even a flurrie or two around the region. High pressure will remain in control for the next 24 hours before the weather get interesting, at least east and south of Montreal. Strong low pressure is forecast to develop along the southeastern US coast and move north towards New England. Winter Storm Watches have already been hoisted in the region, but there is great discrepancy in the forecast models and so confidence is rather low with the current forecast track. Apparently a recon flight is going to investigate the the weather off the coast later today and with the new information forecasters may be able to nail down a specific path. At this time it appears steadier snow will fall from central Vermont south and east towards the coast as well as Atlantic Canada and eastern Quebec. Any effects here in Montreal and points west into Ontario would only be in the cloud cover late Sunday. I will watch later forecasts and discussions to see if it will affect our weather at all. At this time if you are travelling towards Albany, NYC or Boston expect poor weather on Sunday and Monday.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Dry for Santa

Merry Christmas from ValleyWeather and my best friend Ginger...

It is hard to believe that another December 25th is just a few hours away, this year has sailed by. The weather forecast could not be better for travelling across the region. It was partly sunny and chilly today with temperatures reaching around minus 5C. Under clear skies in southern Quebec we should become quite cold tonight dropping down to the low minus teens. Christmas Day looks sunny with cloudy periods and perhaps a flurrie or two southeast of the city towards the US border. Temperatures will remain seasonable around -5C.

Strong low pressure is forecast to develop along the Carolina coast on Sunday and remain well offshore. While forecasters are expecting a decent snowfall for coastal southern New England and the Maratimes, it appears just clouds and light snow will work west into Vermont with only cloud cover for Quebec, Ontario and New York. Our fair weather is expected to last well into next week along with warming temperatures by New Years Eve.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

White Christmas

Steady snow continues to fall this morning across the Champlain and St. Lawrence Valley's. A burst of snow developed across the region late overnight and has put down a quick 5-10cm of snow across the city and southwest towards Cornwall, as well as upstate New York and Vermont. Visibility has been lowered to under a few kilometres in places and roads are snow covered or slushy in many locations.

The snow will taper off this morning from east to west followed by clearing skies. The entire Holiday period looks sunny and chilly with no precipitation in the region and ideal travel conditions.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

SNOW then clear for Christmas

Our white Christmas is guaranteed here in southern Quebec and most of Ontario as well as Northern New England. We will freshen up the snow pack today with about 5-8cm of snow region wide with the exception of eastern Ontario which will see less. The much anticipated snow has been slow to arrive, in the forecast since late Sunday. Expect a plume of moisture from a coastal storm in Atlantic Canada to spread west into southern Quebec this afternoon. Snow will begin after lunch and taper off by midnight with around 5cm in the city and slightly more east of the city in Sherbrooke and Quebec City. This morning a little light freezing drizzle is being reported in the St. Lawrence Valley of New York and Ontario with some slick spots on area roads. Once the snow ends tomorrow high pressure will build in and control the weather right through the holiday weekend with ideal travel conditions.

The same can't be said for the US where a powerful Pacific storm has produced nearly 200 inches of snow in portions of the Sierra Nevada mountains in California and Nevada with up to 20 inches of rain in the lower elevations. Today the rain continues with strong thunderstorms and another 2-4 inches of rain expected in Southern California. That storm will lift over the Rockies and produce snow and rain across the central portion of the country and into the southeast through Christmas weekend. it may threaten the east coast by early next week, but it appears at this time that is will stay well east of Montreal.

Meanwhile Air Canada resumed flights to London yesterday, nearly 5 days after a snowstorm shut down air and road travel in large parts of Europe.

Our snow is being generated by a strong coastal storm that has been pounding regions of Nova Scotia, PEI, New Brunswick and Eastern Quebec. Winds have gusted over 100km/h and a large and powerful storm surge has produced high waves and tides and widespread. Storm Surge Warnings remain in effect for most coastal regions surrounding the Gulf of St. Lawrence. These conditions will persist into Thursday.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Winter Solstice

Welcome to the first day of Winter 2010-2011. Winter arrived late last night across the country, although most of us have probably had enough of the snow and cold already. The good news is that the days will now begin to get longer. The official start of the season began at 6:38 pm EST. For the first time in over three centuries, the first day of winter coincided with the full Cold Moon and a lunar eclipse. The eclipse by all accounts was spectacular where you could see it. Sadly in Montreal, low clouds and flurries prevented us from viewing it, that, and the fact I was asleep by 10pm last night! The eclipse began around 1:33am EST and ended by 3:53am EST. The last time such an event occured with the winter solstice was in 1632 according to NASA.

A major storm over the Atlantic southeast of Nova Scotia will begin to slowly influence the weather in southern Quebec today. Some light snow can be expected over the next 24 hours, with gusty north winds. Look for the best chance of snow from late this afternoon into tomorrow morning, with about 5cm expected. Temperatures will be mild, close to the freezing point. Beyond that it looks like fair weather through the Christmas period with the next chance of snow late Sunday.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Freezing fog

Ice fog over the St. Lawrence River near Dorion on Sunday. ValleyWX Pic

Low level moisture and a light northeast flow in the St. Lawrence Valley have produced dense freezing fog over most of the region this morning. The fog extends south into the Champlain Valley and has put a layer of thin ice and frost on everything including roadways. An advisory was posted until 7am for this condition in the Champlain Valley, and this is affecting routes such as the 20/401/40/417 and south along I-87 and I-89. The fog has lowered visibility as well under 1km and the airport in Montreal since 10pm last evening and even lower off island. Conditions will slowly improve this morning, with partly cloudy skies for the day and a trend to increasing cloudiness by evening. It is a chilly start to the say region wide with temperatures around -8C.

There is so much weather going on, it is difficult to find a place to start. Lets look east of us into Atlantic Canada again. The same scenario that has delivered the last two big storms to that area will unfortunately do the same this week. High pressure stalled over Greenland will again force low pressure of off Cape Hatteras to take an unusual path across Nova Scotia and into Quebec as opposed to moving out to sea. This will produce very heavy rain again with flooding quite likely in Nova Scotia and the Gaspe, with heavy wet snow inland over western New Brunswick. Up to 60mm of rain is forecast with very strong winds to 100km/h and a strong storm surge producing coastal flooding and erosion.

This same storm will push a warm front west towards Montreal with light snow expected to fall Tuesday into Wednesday. At this time 5-10cm is not out of the question. Winds should be light and temperatures mild with this upcoming snow. The good news for the rest of the Christmas period through Sunday, at least in southern Quebec and eastern Ontario, is that high pressure should dominate with seasonable temperatures and dry conditions, ideal for travelling.

EUROPEAN COLD AND SNOW
I could never cover the situation in Europe with as much detail or expertise as my weather friend Mark Vogan. His blog is linked on my page year round, but here is a link to update you on the terrible, historic winter weather that is gripping much of Europe. The weather has stalled holiday travel, and that has had a ripple affect on air travel around the globe. Read his blog HERE .

Friday, December 17, 2010

Weekend Update

The light snow of the last week or so will take a breather today as the sun makes an attempt to break through the clouds. Winds have also lightened up, but it will still be cold with high temperatures around -8C. More light snow will develop tonight with just a coating expected. The weekend looks seasonable with cloudy skies an light winds. Temperatures will be in the -3C to 5C range for daytime highs and chilly below -10C at night.

On Monday a potent storm system is expected to develop along off the Carolina coast and perhaps affect out region. Low pressure in northern Quebec will also provide some energy and potential snow. It is very early to determine track and type of precipitation but the potential exists for some snow Monday and early next week. A similar situation is possible as well closer to Christmas. I will update the blog as often as possible up to Christmas, as I can appreciate that many people are traveling. I wish I had better news for the Gaspe region, but it looks like more precipitation for that region next week. The region has already had 360mm of precipitation this month including 102mm on the 14th and 111mm on the 15th. Major flooding continues across the Gaspe.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

More light snow

Another 5cm or so of fluffy light snow that accumulated overnight across the region slowed traffic once again this morning in Montreal. The culprit today was snow removal operations of the more than 50cm that has fallen in the last week. Speaking of slow traffic I left the hockey game last night at the Bell Centre only to get trapped behind snow plows all the way home. Over 1 hour to the West Island.

This morning that same low pressure area continues to meander west into central Quebec. Light snow will continue for the next 24 hours or so with another 2cm expected. Meanwhile astonishing amounts of rain have fallen on the warm side of the storm across eastern Quebec and Atlantic Canada. The Gaspe region is under a state of emergency after 230mm of rain fell in 72 hours. The flooding is historical in places with homes and businesses under water and evacuations ordered. It should slowly dry out today but a new problem may develop as colder air moves into the region and freezes everything up.

Lake effect snow continues across Ontario and it will spread east along the St. Lawrence River today. Look for snow from Cornwall southwest towards Kingston along the 401 and south into St. Lawrence County, New York. From 5-25cm may fall locally in the region today with strong winds and blowing snow. Warnings are in effect for St. Lawrence, Franklin, Oswego and Jefferson Counties. This will affect travel on I-81.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Highway 402 remains closed - more snow for Montreal

The onslaught of winter weather continues from coast to coast in Canada. Starting in Atlantic Canada, a fierce coastal storm produced heavy flooding rain and strong winds yesterday. Winds gusted over 100km/h in Nova Scotia with numerous trees down, damage to homes and thousands without power. Thanks to that famous Greenland high pressure that is blocking the eastward movement of storms, that system is moving west into Quebec this morning with steady snow approaching Quebec City. That snow will reach Montreal this afternoon and continue tonight with gusty northwest winds producing blowing snow. A good 5-10cm can be expected from Montreal to Burlington, VT and northeast to Quebec City. Lesser amounts are expected in eastern Ontario with less than 5cm in Ottawa and Kemptville.

In Ontario lake effect snow continues to be a problem in the southwest and areas adjacent to Lake Huron. Over 50cm has piled up in the region west of London, driven by 70km/h winds producing blizzard conditions. OPP are still trying to reopen the 402 between Sarnia and London. They rescued nearly 230 motorists yesterday with the help of the Canadian Armed Forces and two helicopters from CFB Trenton. The task now is to remove the 200 trucks and 150 cars that have been left abandoned as a resilt of the storm. Some drivers were trapped nearly 24 hours in their vehicles.

Out west it is bitterly cold across Manitoba, and a Pacific air mass moving into Alberta and Saskatchewan has produced widespread freezing rain and icy roads.

There...that's is it for today. By the way the best city to be in in North America today, Dallas, Texas, plus 25C (77F) and sunny.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

More snow on the way

More heavy snow in Montreal today. It is 15 degrees colder than yesterday morning at this time with lots of ice around. ValleyWX pic

Lots to talk about this morning as an upper level low continues to spin just southeast of Montreal. Moderate snow is falling across eastern Ontario and into western Quebec. Traffic is crawling again this morning in metro Montreal with nearly 2 dozen accidents reported. Between 7 and 10cm of snow fell overnight and it continues this morning. It will taper slightly this afternoon. Winds will remain strong out of the northwest from 20-40km/h and with cold temperatures below -10C lots of snow is blowing around. Atlantic moisture will be drawn into the system overnight with a period of enhanced snowfall Wednesday. Winds will increase as well to 60km/h with lots of blowing and drifting snow Wednesday. Conservative estimates are for around 5-10cm but that could easily go beyond warning criteria of 15cm. The same holds true for upstate New York and Vermont with a little less in eastern Ontario.

Speaking of Ontario, more heavy lake effect snow and 70km/h winds have shut down the 402 between London and Sarina trapping more than 350 drivers in their cars. The heavy snow will continue today with slight improvement by late Wednesday. OPP on snowmobiles and quads have been bringing the stranded drivers provisions. So far everybody is safe.

One last note on this busy Tuesday, the arctic air has plunged all the way into the deep south with hard freezes in Florida and Georgia. It is -2C in Orlando this morning and -9C in Atlanta. The south will slowly begin to warm later today and tomorrow.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Snow and much colder

At 10pm snow continues to fall across the St. Lawrence Valley and in Montreal. Radar is showing a wide area of snow moving from south to north across the region as low pressure lifts north. Gusty northwest winds are causing blowing snow locally with very icy roads as well. The temperature has dropped to -8C with wind chills in the minus teens. Snow will continue across the region overnight with 5-10cm total accumulation by the mid-day Tuesday. It will remain breezy and cold Tuesday with temperatures near -8 or -9C.

Much colder

Snow pours through the roof of the Metrodome in Minneapolis after a blizzard hit the upper Midwest Saturday. (FOX)

8:51 AM Update: The cold front is moving through the Montreal area at this hour and rain has already changed to snow. We will rapidly drop to -5C by mid afternoon. Roads will become slippery with dropping temperatures and falling snow across the entire region.

The pressure in Montreal dropped as low as 985mb with this current storm system as it passed very close to the city overnight. The system will lift into central Quebec this morning with a strong cold front passing across the city this morning. Winds will increase out of the west and temperatures will drop rapidly below freezing. In Ontario the temperature in Kemptville has dropped from 0C at 3am to -6C by 7am. The temperature is 3C at 8am in Montreal but will begin dropping shortly and reach -8C by Tuesday morning. The same is true all along the 401 corridor as deep arctic air moves into the area. Rain has changed to snow and roads are very slippery. Closer to the lakes, the snow machine will crank up with a major lake effect snow event forecast for western New York and central Ontario into Wednesday. Meanwhile snow on the back edge of the departing storm will give Montreal and most of New York and Vermont anywhere from 5-15cm over the next 24 hours. The snow will be enhanced by wrap around moisture from the Atlantic. The National Weather Service has posted a Winter Weather Advisory for upstate New York and Vermont. Falling temperatures, gusty winds and snow will make travel poor by late afternoon today.

Yesterday Montreal recorded 22.2 mm of precipitation with 7cm of that being snow. The same storm dumped heavy snow on the Midwest including 17 inches in Minneapolis. The weight of the snow caused a large tear in the roof of the Metrodome (see above) forcing cancellation of the Giants and Vikings NFL game. The game will be played in Detroit this evening. Snow and strong winds caused travel delays from Illinois east to New York and southwest Ontario on Sunday.

Cold air has poured into the deep south with Atlanta at -4C (21F) this morning, much colder than Quebec, and snow as far south as northern Georgia.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Storm Update

Icy roads greeted travellers in Montreal this afternoon. It has since warmed above freezing, and rain is falling.

Freezing rain warnings have expired in the Montreal area as the temperature has risen well above freezing to 3C as of 9pm. It is a warm 11C in Burlington, Vermont with rain as well. Montreal had between 5-7 cm of snow and sleet before the changeover to freezing rain and rain.

A dry slot had worked its way into the Montreal region during the last few hours but radar is showing moderate rain just south of the border in the Champlain Valley moving north. Meanwhile the balance of the province is under rain and snow warnings with strong winds expected as well. Low pressure near Toronto tonight will move down the St. Lawrence Valley and then north into central Quebec. Snow and blowing snow will fall north and west of the track with mostly rain south and east of the track. Rain is changing to snow across Ontario tonight with rapidly dropping temperatures. The colder air and snow will move across eastern Ontario including Ottawa and Kemptville overnight with a flash freeze, and eventually into Quebec by late afternoon Monday. Look for snow showers and colder weather for the balance of the week.

Freezing Rain Warning

11am Update: Freezing rain warnings remain in effect for the region. Snow began around 8am and is still falling here in Ile Perrot. I would say close to 5cm has accumulated. It was mixed for a period with sleet and freezing rain, but since has gone back to steady snow. The temperature here is -1C so the snow is quite wet in nature. Temperatures are close to if not above freezing to our south and east so expect precipitation to become rain as the afternoon moves on. Roads will remain slippery.

Morning image of the large winter storm over Ohio moving into the St. Lawrence Valley. (NOAA)

Sorry for the delay folks in updating this current storm, it was a busy Saturday ending with the trimming of the tree!

A large winter storm over the Great Lakes this morning will pass close to Montreal overnight and then north into central Quebec. A wide variety of weather is on our doorstep. Most forecasts are in agreement now with a warmer solution for the region, as a result Freezing Rain Warnings are in effect for Montreal, Ottawa and Kemptville. Virtually all of Quebec and a large portion of Ontario is under some sort of warning. Basically north and west of the storm snow and blowing snow are expected with 15-25cm total. Along the storm track through the St. Lawrence and lower Ottawa Valley's, precipitation will start as snow very early this morning and then transition through a wintry mix of sleet and freezing rain and eventually rain overnight then back to snow early Monday. South and east of the storm, a mostly rain event, with flooding rains possible in portions of New England and Eastern Quebec into Atlantic Canada. With a strong southeast flow in those regions, Atlantic moisture could produce up to 80mm of rain in the Gaspe, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia. Meanwhile the central and western Great Lakes are experiencing blizzard conditions as frigid air pours in west of the storm. That cold air will arrive in our region by late Monday. Light snow and squalls will contiue the rest of the week.

Winds will be an issue as well gusting 40-60km/h in our region from the northeast and eventually southwest today and tonight. Meanwhile across the Adirondacks and Green Mountains, they could easily gust over 100km/h. This has prompted wind warnings for those regions.

This morning radar is showing precipitation advancing into our region rapidly. With temperatures well below freezing still in eastern Ontario and southern Quebec, expect the precip to be frozen. Roads like the 20 and 401 will ice quickly. I will update this weather situation by mid morning today.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Weekend Update

Computer models are beginning to handle a little better the upcoming storm this weekend, but just a little better. Type and quantity of precipitation are still up in the air for Montreal and the valley. Today was a cold start dipping to -17C before "warming" to -15C. Temperatures will continue to warm right through the day and night up to Saturday's high of -1C. A weak Alberta Clipper will past north of the region producing just flurries, really just flurries this time and gusty southeast winds.

Our bigger storm will begin to take shape Saturday over the Midwest US and move towards the Great Lakes while rapidly deepening. It will pass very close to Montreal Sunday with secondary development possible along the east coast. Plenty of variables have to be sorted out, but it looks like a decent rain/snow event with lots of wind. It will not be until later today or even Saturday morning before we can determine the exact timing of the snow/rain and just how much. The storm will continue into Monday with colder temperatures and all precipitation back to snow. Travel will be impacted all over Ontario, Quebec, New England and New York Sunday and Monday so plan your travels accordingly. This forecast applies to Montreal and points north and west. South and east of the city, it will be a different story with much warmer temperatures and lots of rain and perhaps some freezing rain.

Stay tuned!

Thursday, December 09, 2010

More snow by the weekend

Heavy snow has closed down London, Ontario. Canadian Press photo.

The next storm is on the horizon, but first one more comment on this last storm. To show you how difficult a forecast it was, Montreal received 32cm at the airport or about 13" with perhaps a little more in the off island suburbs. Meanwhile Plattsburgh, NY, less than 1 hour to our south had nothing. Parts of Vermont had nearly 75cm of snow while the greater Burlington region had less than 15cm. This storm in the most simple explanation possible moved the wrong way and produced wind and snow where it would normally have not and produced rain where they usually receive snow.

Now I wish the next system would behave, but computer models are having trouble with this one as well. There has been no consistency from run to run. It appears snow will start late Saturday in Ontario and spread north and east into Quebec. This system will have warmer air so the threat for ice and rain exists as well. It is too early to pinpoint amounts and type of precipitation, but it looks significant for Montreal, Ottawa and the entire St. Lawrence Valley. Behind it all, early next week, the coldest air of the season will pour into the region with flurries and gusty winds.

Cold morning

Just a quick entry this morning before I leave for work, I will update the blog by 9am this morning. The snow is finally over in Montreal. We recorded between 30-40cm across the region. It is the coldest morning of the season at -12C here on L'ile Perrot. Today will be breezy and cold with a few breaks and a high of -8C.

Meanwhile the snow is still falling in a narrow band south of Lake Huron towards Lake Erie. London, Ontario has had 60-80cm since Saturday while the tiny town of Lucan not far from Georgian Bay has recorded an astonishing 177cm since the lake event began. The snow should slowly taper today giving them a chance to dig out.

There is another major storm heading for Ontario and Quebec this weekend. I will post more about that shortly.

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Not an exact science

Low pressure continues to lift into northern Quebec tonight as the snow has eased in the Montreal area. Radar shows more snow showers along a cold front over eastern Ontario swinging towards Montreal. Another 2-5cm will fall overnight before this latest storm is over. That will bring storm totals to above 30cm across the region. Not bad for a 2-4cm forecast.

Lets talk about the forecast. As the title says, weather forecasting is not an exact science. Lots of variables have to come together at any given time for storms to occur. I would never make any excuses, but lots of Montrealers are upset over the recent missed forecast. Readers of my blog will notice that I mentioned this possibility as early as last Friday. When we are dealing with coastal systems the difference of 100 miles can mean a storm or nothing. With Great Lakes systems often for Montreal just a few kilometres can mean snow instead of rain or freezing rain. This was a difficult forecast from the start. Computer models are not very good at handling odd weather situations. Low pressure moving from Bermuda to Maine and then northwest towards James Bay is one of those moments. It was the perfect track for a windy, snowy event in Montreal and southwest Quebec. Where Environment Canada dropped the ball was not realizing just how quickly the snow was moving towards Montreal and just how hard it was falling. Looking at radar and observations yesterday morning it was obvious heavy snow was heading for the city. Oddly they issued a warning at 11:30am this morning, pretty much when the event was over.

We can expect a break in the weather for a day or two before the next big storm takes aim at the northeast, Ontario and Quebec by this weekend into Monday.

NEW warning issued for more snow

This is what it is like at 1:30pm in Pointe Claire. The snow and wind continue with 25cm on the ground officially. More in places and drifts three feet high. ValleyWX

This is from Environment Canada during the last hour. Better late than not at all I guess! So far between 20 and 30cm in on the ground. Winds continue over 50km/h with blowing snow and poor travel.


Metro Montréal - Laval
11:35 AM EST Tuesday 07 December 2010
Snowfall Warning
Bands of heavy snow will bring 10 to 15 cm of snow to these areas through this evening.

An intense low pressure system over Lake St-Jean continues to track northwestward and will lie east of James Bay by the end of the day. Bands of intense snow are developing near the St Lawrence River and are moving southeastward. These bands will generate another 15 cm through this evening between Montréal and Québec City. In the Eastern Townships, the snow will continue throughout the night.

Strong winds are already affecting Northwestern Québec and will become high from Waskaganish to Wemindji tonight. These winds mixed with snow will produce widespread blowing snow or blizzard conditions over these areas today. Blizzard conditions will continue over coastal areas of James Bay on Wednesday.

Storm continues

Above: more gridlock in Montreal this morning.
Below, starting the clean up. ValleyWX Pic


Low pressure is lifting into central Quebec this morning as cold northerly winds and snow fall in Montreal. Over 15cm has fallen at the airport with over 25cm at my home on L' Ile Perrot. I live at the top of an escarpment, so when the winds are out of the west we usually see enhanced snowfall. This time was no different with winds gusting to 60km/h and easily 25cm of snow on my driveway this morning with two foot drifts.

The wind is gusting to 50km/h with visibilities less than 1km in southern Quebec. It is cold as well with temperatures at -6C. The snow and blowing snow will continue today with a storm total of 20-30cm across southern Quebec. Travel is very slow at best with all highways snow covered and icy and visibilities very poor especially outside of the metro area. Numerous accidents have been reported including a fatal collision on the south shore last evening.

Snow is also falling in eastern Ontario. Heavy lake effect snow is still falling in southwest Ontario with 114cm reported at Lucan near London since Saturday. The snow and wind will slowly diminish by this evening and overnight as the storm moves into northern Quebec. Wednesday will be cloudy with flurries and breaks and a lot calmer, clean up day before the next storm poised to affect the region by the weekend.

Monday, December 06, 2010

Near blizzard conditions

10pm Update: At 10pm radar continues to show a nearly stationary band of moderate snow over the island of Montreal. Over 20cm has fallen since mid-afternoon here on Ile Perrot with winds gusting over 55km/h. Temperatures remain cold and travel is not advised in southern Quebec and eastern Ontario tonight. Snow extends all along the 401 and 20 from Kingston to Quebec City and roads are icy and snow covered. Visibility in southern Quebec in most cases is less than 2km. Snow and blowing snow are also occurring in Vermont and New York. Winter Storm Warnings are in effect there with 4-8 inches expected near Lake Champlain and 8-16 inches in the Green Mountains and Adirondacks. Avoid travel tonight on area highways.

St Charles Blvd in Kirkland during the start of rush hour tonight. ValleyWX

They say timing is everything. I just arrived home from work at 8:30pm. I left work at 5:30pm. Montreal traffic was nearly at a standstill as near blizzard conditions developed late this afternoon. Heavy snow and blowing snow have already snarled traffic and delayed commuter trains by up to 2 hours tonight. When I arrived home on L'Ile Perrot, trusty yardstick in hand, I measured 20cm in my driveway. Environment Canada was expecting 2-4cm but they have changed that to 10-15cm. Radar is showing a nearly steady band of snow over the western tip of the island of Montreal. Low pressure is backing into Quebec at this hour from the Atlantic with copious moisture. If you read my blog at all in the last week you knew this was a possibility. Too bad Transport Quebec does not read my blog. Very little plowing and salting has been done.

As of 8pm the temperature at Dorval had dropped to -5C at the airport with a windchill of -14C. Winds were gusting to 52km/h with a pressure down to 988mb and it was snowing. The visibility was under 1km. I will update the weather again within the next hour or two.

Blustery week ahead

5pm Update: The snow became much steadier in Montreal around 2pm today as low pressure moved from Maine into eastern Quebec. Winds have increased, the pressure is dropping and visibility is down to 1km at the airport. A few centimetres are down on the ground, and snow and blowing snow will continue overnight with 5-10cm expected. No warnings are in effect in southern Quebec, but they are for Vermont and New York. Regardless, the roads are snow covered, visibility is poor, and travel in and around Montreal has become very difficult.


High pressure near Greenland continues to block weather systems from moving east across Canada. The result is low pressure moving inland across Maine and into Quebec today. Heavy rain, strong winds to 100km/h and coastal flooding are affecting Nova Scotia. Meanwhile west of the storm center cold northwest winds are keeping temperatures below freezing with snow developing. Radar this morning is showing snow moving west through the St. Lawrence Valley. It is already snowing in Quebec City with heavy snow expected shortly. Winter Storm Warnings are in effect with 15-25cm expected. Winds will increase to 50km/h causing blowing snow and low wind chills. The snow will move into Montreal after lunch but will be light with only 5cm expected.

Meanwhile well west of the low across Ontario snow has been falling south of Lake Huron all weekend. The heavy snow bands have worked there way south right into the GTA and along the 401. Some regions near Collingwood and the Bruce Peninsula have had over 40cm of snow. Strong winds are producing dangerous travel along the 400, 401 and 402. In Eastern Ontario a steady stream of light snow has been falling from Ottawa south along the 416 and towards Brockville. A few centimeters have fallen from the first storm. It appears limited moisture from the second storm will make it into this part of Ontario with only flurries expected.

It will be windy and cold today and Tuesday with temperatures around -2C. The temperature is -7C this morning in off island and -4C at the airport with a gusty northwest wind.

Sunday, December 05, 2010

Cold and snowy

We have a difficult weather scenario setting up early on this Sunday morning. Lets start with yesterday, it was a chilly, breezy and in some locations in southern Quebec, snowy Saturday. We have a blocking area of high pressure located over the far north Atlantic. This is steering weather back west into eastern Canada, and blocking any southern or western systems from moving east. We call this retrograding when low pressure acts against natures "rules" and moves the wrong way. Low pressure one was fairly week and produced that light snow yesterday. This morning we have a brisk northwest flow of cold air pouring into the region. I had -7C this morning with a gusty wind. It will remain cold today struggling to reach -4C with an increasing wind to 40km/h. These winds will turn on the snow machine around the Great Lakes with heavy snow forecast southeast of Lake Huron all the way down to the shores of Lake Erie and Ontario including portions of the GTA and Highways 400 and 401.

The cold air will only deepen on Monday as another stronger storm approaches form the Atlantic and is drawn into Quebec. This storm will produce snow and blowing snow with winds increasing to 60km/h over southern Quebec including Montreal. Quantities of snow are difficult at this time to predict. Winter Storm Watches are in effect for portions of the St. Lawrence Valley north and east of Montreal where 15cm or more is expected. So far Montreal is forecasting 5cm as we will be on the western edge of the precipitation. It will be windy and chilly right into Tuesday. Any snow that does fall will be blown around. Travel could become a challenge for Monday and Tuesday. Eastern Ontario including Ottawa and Kemptville will be windy and cold with flurries, sandwiched between the system snow in Quebec and lake effect in Ontario.

I will update this potential storm as the day progresses.

Friday, December 03, 2010

Snow this weekend

New York State Police tend to drivers stranded on the Thruway near Buffalo. NBC News

A word to the wise when traveling at this time of year. If it looks wet, treat it as ice, and always check the forecast and listen to the warnings before leaving on any trip, cancel it if necessary. This advice comes on the heels of numerous accidents in Montreal this morning because of black ice, or driver indifference, your choice of wording and the 13 miles of New York State Thruway closed south of Buffalo after a much anticipated and well forecasted lake snow event trapped drivers. Both created massive traffic jams and in the Buffalo case stranded drivers all night. Some situations are unavoidable, but as far as black ice goes, it is sunrise in December, expect black ice on elevated surfaces.

Our weather will become difficult to predict this weekend as high pressure over the Atlantic blocks the movement of weather systems to the east. Low pressure will retrograde into Maine and eastern Quebec and send deep Atlantic moisture into our region. Snow showers and gusty winds will prevail all weekend with some areas seeing a significant amount of snow, especially across the higher terrain. It is quite possible that over 5cm may fall in Montreal, but it depends on how far inland the moisture moves. These conditions will persist into next week with another low pressure backing into our region. It does not appear that the pattern will break until late next week. Meanwhile lake effect snow that has deposited nearly 2 feet south of Buffalo will continue to weaken today before possibly starting up again over the weekend. Lake effect snow warnings are in effect for the regions south of Buffalo as well as Jefferson, Lewis and Oswego Counties off Lake Ontario. Warnings are also in effect for the regions in Ontario bordering Georgian Bay and Lake Huron for upwards of 15cm of snow.

Across our region today and over the weekend expect temperatures to be with a degree of two of the freezing point for highs and lows.

Thursday, December 02, 2010

Lake Effect Snow

A strong band of lake effect snow has dumped nearly 2 feet of the white stuff on Buffalo's southern suburbs since mid day yesterday. The snow is all part of the same low pressure and cold front the produced damaging winds in Vermont and New York and flooding rains across the northeast, Ontario and Quebec. In Montreal 51.4mm of rain fell over a 36 hour period with a few snowflakes to end the precipitation last night. Kemptville had 35.7mm. The front was heralded by strong winds that gusted over 50mph in Vermont causing major property damage and knocking down trees and power lines. Peak winds in southern Quebec were around 85km/h in Vaudreuil. Flooding has been reported along the Ausable River in northern New York. The front drooped the temperature from a balmy 12C in Montreal last evening to 1C in just a few hours.

LAKE EFFECT SNOW
South of the Great Lakes heavy snow fell from Buffalo south for a few miles in a narrow lake effect snow band. The band dropped 1-2 inches of snow per hour along with strong winds, thunder and lightning. State Police were forced to close I-90 south of Buffalo stranding hundreds of drivers overnight. They became buried in the falling and drifting snow and had to be rescued. The nature of lake snows was so evident last night with no snow in Buffalo's northern suburbs, 2-4 inches at the airport and 16-22'' in the south towns, all this is only a 5 mile span!

Above right: Motorists trapped on the New York Thruway ( I-90) south of Buffalo as heavy lake snow piles up around them late last night.

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Colder weather on the way

Storm damage north of Atlanta late yesterday. CNN.com

A very slow moving cold front is pressing across Ontario and New York this morning and should pass through Montreal by this evening. Very heavy rain is falling along the front and will continue in Montreal most of the day before changing to a period of wet snow after midnight and then tapering off by morning. Nearly 20mm of rain has fallen in the city with an additional 25-50mm possible today followed by 2-4cm of snow, especially north of the city. Winds are increasing as well and will continue to do so out of the southwest from 50-70km/h. The temperature is very mild this morning near 10C, but it will begin to fall by afternoon and drop below freezing overnight. It is already near freezing west of Toronto with wet snow this morning.

Last evening an American Airlines Boeing 737 from Dallas to Montreal slid off the runway at Trudeau Airport. Nobody was injured in the 8pm accident, and the cause is yet to be determined, but it was breezy and raining steadily at the time.

The rain is part of a large storm system that has been producing late season severe weather across the southern US. Several tornadoes were reported yesterday including one in the northwest suburbs of Atlanta. This morning tornado watches are in effect from Georgia to Delaware. Further north flood watches and warnings are in effect with 2-4 inches of rain expected. As the storm swings east cold air is pouring into the region with lake effect snow expected to start up late today south of Buffalo and Watertown across the Tug Hill. Over 1 foot of fresh snow could fall by late Thursday affecting travel on I-90 and I-81.

Low pressure is expected to stall east of the region for the next few days with cloudy, cool weather forecast and an increasing change of snow here in southern Quebec.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Storm Update

Heavy Rain Warning : Montreal and southern Quebec, eastern Ontario. (50-100mm)
High Wind Warning: Regions bordering the St. Lawrence River south into the US. (50-90km/h).
Lake Effect Snow Watch: Western New York counties including Jefferson and Lewis.
Flood Watch: Adirondacks and portions of western and northern New York.

We have weather people. It looks like an interesting pattern shaping up across the region starting this evening. The rain is underway across Ontario and southern Quebec with between 50 and 100mm forecast. The culprit is a slow moving - moisture laden cold front to our west that is pushing strong southeast winds and plenty of Gulf of Mexico rain into our regions. The radar is showing waves of precipitation moving east - northeast across the region. Winds are forecast to increase as well especially along the south shore of the St. Lawrence River. Wind warnings are in effect in southern Quebec as well as central New York and the Green Mountains of Vermont. Look for winds gusts to 90km/h by daybreak and into early Wednesday morning. As the day progresses on Wednesday, colder air will work in behind the cold front and change any leftover rain to snow with a few centimetres possible in many locations. The threat will develop once again for lake effect snow off Lakes Erie and Ontario and the NWS has posted watches in those lakefront counties including Jefferson and Lewis.

Into the weekend an omega block will be setting up to our east with high pressure preventing systems from advancing eastward. As a matter of fact some computer models are picking up low pressure southeast of Nova Scotia and retrograding it back towards eastern Quebec. The possibility exists for some measurable snow this weekend even away from the lakes. I will have more on that as the week progresses. In the meantime expect abundant rainfall tonight with rain changing to snow tomorrow night and then colder with flurries into the weekend.

Wet & Windy

The snow and wind has brought travel to a standstill across South Dakota.

A strong storm centered over the upper US plain states is moving north into Ontario today. An equally strong frontal system associated with the storm is separating very cold arctic air from warm, moist Gulf of Mexico air on the east side. The result has been copious amounts of moisture streaming northward along the front. This frontal boundary is forecast to continue to move very slowly eastward over the next 24 hours and be the focus for very heavy rain in our region. The rain will begin today over Ontario and spread slowly northeast across Quebec and New York. The rain will become very heavy at times overnight and into Wednesday with the potential for some flooding. Temperatures will be very mild ahead of the front, approaching 10C, but drop rapidly behind the front towards the freezing point overnight Wednesday. Any leftover rain at that time will switch over to snow.

At this time a heavy rain event is forecast with Heavy Rainfall Warnings in effect for all of eastern Ontario and western Quebec. Flood Watches are posted for upstate and western New York. Between 40 and 80mm of rain is expected. In addition to the rain strong southwest winds are forecast to develop and gust up to 90km/h. Wind warnings and advisories will likely be needed later today.

This storm is producing all kinds of severe weather. On the western side of the system 20-30cm of snow is falling from the Rockies across the Dakotas and into Minnesota. Winds are creating near zero visibility with numerous travel delays. Across the deep south severe weather in the form of thunderstorms and tornadoes are expected from Louisiana into the middle Atlantic. Several tornadoes occurred overnight including a damaging storm in Yazoo City, Mississippi.

The balance of the week across the northeast and Quebec will be unsettled and chilly with flurries and clouds expected through the weekend.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Rainy week ahead

There is a little black ice around the city this morning as temperatures just touched the freezing point around sunrise. Temperatures will warm well above freezing today, close to 4C with sunshine.

After a brief taste of winter over thew weekend, it will be back to fall like weather to start December. Strong low pressure over Nebraska is forecast to move towards the western Great Lakes, and then east into central Quebec by Wednesday. A strong southerly flow of mild and moist air is forecast to develop ahead of the system and push temperatures well above normal in Ontario and Quebec. With this type of a track, rain is expected in Montreal with any snow confined to northern Quebec and the extreme northwest portion of Ontario. It looks like the rain will begin in eastern Ontario during the middle hours of the day on Tuesday and spread east into Quebec by evening. At this time no warnings are posted, but we could see over 50mm of rain. Winds will increase as well with this system. By later in the week colder air will be moving into the region with flurries forecast by Friday and into next weekend.

Congratulations to the Montreal Alouettes who beat the Saskatchewan Roughriders 21-18 yesterday in the 98th Grey Cup played in Edmonton. It was the second cup in a row for the Als against Saskatchewan. I lived in southern Saskatchewan for three years, so I know how important that team is to the province. Sorry - but despite the three years there, my allegiance has to lie with my home team since birth. The weather for the game was cold but not the crazy arctic chill of last week. The temperature at game time was -4C and dropped to -10C by the end of the 4th quarter. Thankfully winds were light.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Snow Squalls cross region

IMG_4636 (768x1024)Sun and cloud are mixing with periodic snow squalls to make it an interesting weather morning here in Montreal. The temperature is hovering around the freezing point with frequent snow and gusty winds at times. Around 5cm has fallen at my place southwest of Montreal island. The watch was upgraded to a warning for the regions between Dorion and the Ontario border including both the 20/401/40 and 417. Travel is poor in squalls with low visibility in heavy bursts of snow.

The flurries and gusty winds will continue into the afternoon before tapering off. A cold front attached to strong low pressure in central Quebec is producing the rounds of snow this morning. Skies will clear out tonight and it will turn colder.

From ICE to SNOW

Ile Perrot this morning. Our first snow of the season. ValleyWX Pic

A snow squall watch is in effect this morning for southern Quebec. Gusty southwest winds are bringing moisture from the Great Lakes into the St. Lawrence Valley. A quick inch of snow fell early this morning in Montreal and winds gusted to 52km/h at the airport with one squall. Low pressure over Central Quebec continues to spiral bands of precipitation across the region this morning. The winds will shift to the northwest later today and the snow should slip south of Montreal into New York. During the snow early this morning visibility dropped below 2km and the roads became snow covered quickly. The entire region can expect up to 5cm of snow today in these bands with low visibility and strong winds. Further west around the Great Lakes much heavier snow is being driven off the open waters. Lake effect snow warnings are posted with upwards of 30cm possible around Georgian Bay, Lake Erie and Lake Ontario. Over 25cm has already piled up in Beatrice Ontario just north of Bracebridge, with equal amounts south of Buffalo and Watertown, NY.

St-Anne radar is showing multiple squalls across eastern Ontario moving southeast towards Montreal at 7:30. Travel with care this morning.

Friday, November 26, 2010

School closings & accidents


We are still under a freezing rain warning at 9am. it is 0C in the city with steady freezing drizzle. Roads are very slowly improving but travel remains slow and dangerous in places especially off island. I took the photo above showing the salting and ice in the West Island of Montreal. Buses and public transit remains very slow and many are late for work. Most schools are closed.

I thought I had lots of stairs to salt. A worker salts the steps in Point Claire. All photos from ValleyWX.


ALL REGIONS: Freezing Rain Warning and Winter Weather Advisories

Freezing rain has been falling across the region since 4am this morning. Roads are slick and in many cases closed. The Montreal Transit Corporation has pulled most buses off the road and over 100 schools are now closed. The 640 north of Montreal is closed. There are literally hundreds of accidents, most minor. The 20 west of Montreal towards Ontario is blocked by an overturned truck and closed at Valleyfield. Laval has also taken there buses off the road. We remain below freezing at Montreal with -1C at the moment. Radar is showing another batch of precipitation moving in from the west. Winds will increase from the west and southwest at 40-70km/h. We should warm above freezing by mid morning.

School Buses are cancelled as well across most of Eastern Ontario, including Ottawa and the Valley as well as Cornwall, SD & G and Leeds and Grenville. The schools are open.

All I can tell you first hand is my street was salted in the last hour. I have not ventured out yet but will do so soon and update the blog when I get to work. The entire landscape is one shiny, icy layer.

Once the precipitation ends in the region skies will break and then we await the arrival of a potent arctic front that will usher in colder air with snow flurries and squalls later tonight and Saturday. The snow will be heavy in the lee of the Great Lakes with as much as 1 foot (30cm) in the most persistent bands. Here in Montreal and along the St. Lawrence Valley up to 5 cm may fall Saturday.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Freezing Rain Warning

12pm Update: A Freezing Rain Warning has been issued for Metro Montreal and all of southern Quebec. A strong low pressure area is heading for the western portion of the province accompanied by snow and freezing rain. Precipitation will begin this evening in the Ottawa Valley and Eastern Ontario and spread east. Up to 5mm of ice is expected. Roads will become very slippery overnight. Tomorrow a strong cold front will produce some snow, gusty winds and snow squalls in the region.

Freezing Rain Warning :
Eastern Ontario and Southern Quebec for tonight.

Winter Weather Advisory: New York, Vermont, New Hampshire for tonight.

Lake Effect Snow Warning: Lewis, Jefferson and Oswego Counties of central New York, beginning late Friday.

An intensifying low pressure area in northern Minnesota is forecast to move east and pass just north of Montreal on Friday. A warm front ahead of the system will be the focus for a prolonged period of freezing rain tonight into early Friday morning. As a result warnings have been issued for numerous regions surrounding Montreal, but for some odd reason not the city. (I imagine they will change that today just as they did on Monday morning). Conditions will deteriorate overnight with precipitation beginning after midnight and tapering off by noon Friday. Expect between 2 and 4mm of freezing rain along with a mix of ice pellets and some snow. Temperatures should warm above freezing later on Friday with any leftover precipitation changing to rain.

Behind the system gusty southwest and eventually northwest winds will develop between 40-70km/h on Friday. These winds will turn on the lake effect snow machine for the first time this season. Snow and blowing snow will move in bands off Lakes Ontario, Erie and Huron into central Ontario and western New York. The poor weather will affect the 400 and 402 in southwest Ontario as well as Interstates 81 and 90 in New York. Up to 30cm or 1 foot can be expected in the most persistent bands in places such as Goderich, Buffalo and Watertown.

In Montreal we are off to a cold start this morning at -8C at the airport and -10C on Ile Perrot. Compare that to Alberta this morning where Calgary has warmed to -2C and Edmonton -4C. Look for fading sunshine today as the cloud from next storm slowly thickens throughout the day. it will be chilly at -2C.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Next storm on the horizon

A cold front has left the air this morning crisp and chilly in Montreal. Winds are gusting over 30km/h adding a nip to the air. Temperatures are around -1C and will not climb much more than that today. Tonight will be clear and with diminishing winds, we should see our coldest night of the season approaching -10C across the area. This pales in comparison to western Canada where Bow Island and Sundrie, Alberta were down to -38C yesterday morning. That was the air temperature and did not take into account any wind. Today more harsh weather is affecting the west with snow and blowing snow in Saskatchewan and Manitoba, and more snow for Victoria and Vancouver. Meanwhile the cold persists in Alberta however a slight warming trend is in the forecast, but ever so slowly.

Our next weather will come from an approaching warm front and low pressure area that is affecting the western Great Lakes and northern plains today. Snow is causing Thanksgiving travel delays from Kansas northeast towards Michigan. This system will move north and east and push the warm front towards the St. Lawrence Valley late Thursday. Clouds will increase with precipitation beginning overnight into Friday. With cold air at the surface, expect another round of freezing rain before it switches to rain on Friday behind the warm front.

The current pattern is is something we did not see much of during the past two winters when we did not have many days of freezing rain. Until the systems begin to take a more southern route we will continue to see storms evolve in this manner. The same situation is expected again by next Tuesday, but lets deal with tomorrow's storm first. I expect icy roads overnight Thursday and into early Friday across the area from Burlington and Plattsburgh to Montreal and Cornwall as well as Ottawa. Further north and east snow is likely towards Quebec City and points north.

On Friday conditions should improve from Montreal south and west.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Anatomy of a warm front

The low clouds, drizzle and fog finally lifted this afternoon, pushed off to the southeast by an advancing cold front. The temperature was held down on the island of Montreal until late in the day today when it shot up to 13C. It only lasted a an hour or two until the cold air behind the front began to settle into the valley. We are heading below freezing tonight with a chance of flurries and quite breezy. I am posting the observations from Environment Canada's Montreal office below. You can see the bizarre temperature swings. Pay close attention to the wind direction. Note as well that while we were struggling to reach our high temperature today, just along the south shore they were 10C as early as 9am this morning. This is typical in Montreal in these situations where the cold dense air does not move off the valley floor. Freezing rain often last hours longer here than regions just to our north and south. We may see the same scenario play out Friday.

Early morning thunder

Frigid cold and snow in Winnipeg, Manitoba this past weekend.

That pesky warm front is still in the same position it was yesterday morning at this time, straddling the St. Lawrence Valley in southern Quebec. As a result northeast winds, and fog have kept temperatures chilly in Montreal as compared to other parts of the region. Temperatures are 10C on the south shore at St. Hubert while they are a chilly 3C in the west end of the island. This morning a cold front lies to our west and steady rain has developed again with even a rumble of thunder or two. The rain should taper and winds will increase from the southwest at 40-60km/h. It will become sharply colder tonight with lows down to -3C tonight and some flurries possible. Wednesday will be sunny and cold before another storm approaches the region for late Thursday with the likelihood of more freezing rain. Anyone traveling towards Quebec City today will continue to encounter icy roads as temperatures have remained below freezing there. Freezing rain has been falling most of yesterday and overnight.

Out west the early onslaught of winter weather continues with numbing cold in Alberta and Saskatchewan and snow in BC right down to the coastal areas. Edmonton is -27C this morning and it has been no warmer than -20C in the last 24 hours. It even snowed in Seattle yesterday bringing that region to a standstill and plunging many homes into the dark from the heavy wet snow. Today heavy snow, strong winds and dangerous cold are spreading from Colorado across the plains and towards the Midwest. A major storm will get wound up today and push towards the Great Lakes. Snow and blizzard conditions will spread across the Rockies towards the Canadian border and east into the Dakotas making the Thanksgiving travel period very slow and dangerous. Exactly how the western storm will impact us here in the east is yet to be determined. We will have to see how the track plays out.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Icy start

Icy roads are affecting regions from Minnesota across the Great Lakes
and Ontario and into Quebec. (CNN.com)


It is a very dark and icy start to the work week on this Monday morning. A warm front has lifted north of Montreal and extreme southwest Quebec and the freezing rain has changed to rain in the city. However the bulk of the rest of the region remains at or below freezing with warnings still in effect and very dangerous travel conditions. Already this morning one fatal accident was reported on Highway 10 along the South Shore of Montreal. Travel is slow especially north of Montreal where freezing rain continues. Many schools across the Laurentians and North Shore are closed today because it is just too icy for the buses. Temperatures will slowly warm above freezing with rain continuing into the afternoon. It will be mild today with temperatures reaching 7C and remaining there overnight. A cold front will produce more rain on Tuesday before a major drop in temperatures and some snow by Friday.

Several storms will move along an arctic boundary across the Midwest US this week. West of the front it is late December cold with temperatures in the minus teens and snowing. Snow was even reported in Vancouver and Victoria, unusual at anytime of year, but especially in November. Along the frontal boundary freezing rain is falling in Minnesota with over 400 accidents state wide and two fatalities. The poor travel weather will be reinforced by cold air and another major storm sweeping the middle portion of the continent by Thanksgiving.

The progression of the Arctic chill this week. AccuWeather.com

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Freezing Rain Warning

After a sunny but cold day, a warm front is slowly approaching southern Quebec. A narrow band of precipitation will accompany the front. Temperatures across all of southern Quebec are below freezing so expect a brief period of snow and freezing rain across Montreal before it changes over to rain. Elsewhere across southern Quebec and eastern Ontario, freezing rain warnings are in effect with 2-4mm of ice expected.

Yesterday we had a strong cold front cross the region in the early morning hours. A few squalls developed along the front with some snow and hail observed. Winds gusted to 65km/h with the frontal passage in Montreal, and there was even the rumble of thunder. Temperatures during the frontal passage dropped from plus 7C to 3C. It was cold overnight with low temperatures down to -6C in Montreal and colder across the suburbs. it will warm to 9C on Monday behind the front. If travelling tonight be aware that it only takes a little freezing rain to make roads treacherous. This will be the case especially north and south of metro Montreal and into the Ottawa Valley. It will take a few hours for the temperature to climb above freezing.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Winter on our doorstep

AccuWeather.com

We can only hold it off for so long, winter that is, and big changes are on the horizon. Cold air has enveloped most of western Canada and it slowly moving east. This morning it is -23C in Calgary, and -20C in both Edmonton and Regina. The cold will continue into next week across the west while slowly beginning to invade the east. A small clipper system will skirt along the US border tonight with scattered flurries and eventually showers in southern Quebec and eastern Ontario. Clipper systems are fairly weak with moisture limited to the immediate track, but a centimetre or two is quite possible in some locations, especially north of the city. Winds can be gusty with these low pressure areas and they will be tonight and Saturday. The light snow tonight will mix with rain by daybreak and eventually end Saturday morning. Temperatures will be chilly today but rise above freezing overnight. Winds will out of the southwest from 40-70km/h by Saturday morning, and slowly diminish by late in the day tomorrow.

Sunday another weak low will bring a similar weather day with flurries and showers mixed. The really cold air is expected to move into our region by late next week with the potential for a major storm to move from the deep south towards the Great lakes with snow and rain by Thursday in Ontario and Quebec. The first outbreak of lake effect snow is also quite possible by next Friday. This scenario has all the ingredients to become a reality, it will all depend on timing. I would keep this in mind and finish preparing your car and home for winter this weekend.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Prairie snow & cold

It has been a challenging forecast week as it can be at this time of the year. It remains quite warm over the southern US while mid-winter arctic cold is surging south into the prairies and northern plains states. Anytime that happens the weather becomes interesting and challenging. The difference of a few hundred miles in the trajectory of a storm system can be the difference between the warm side or cold side of the storm.

So lets wrap up this last storm that moved across our region and is now in Atlantic Canada. it dropped about 30mm of rain in Montreal with the lowest pressure recorded of 991mb, so a decent storm but not the worst by any measure. The winds became quite strong on the backside of the system late last night with gusts over 60km/h around the city. Today we are expecting a few sunny breaks and steady, cool temperatures around 4C. It will remain breezy from the west at 30-50km/h. Tonight clear skies and cold with overnight lows around -3C. Friday will start off sunny but then an Alberta Clipper will bring a little wet snow or showers, with some gusty winds by evening. After a fair but chilly day Saturday, the same will happen again Sunday before a warmer southern system brings showers and mild temperatures to start next week. There remains the possibility of colder weather and significant snow by weeks end next week but that is far away at this time.

Shifting to the west, another blast of cold air is producing widespread snow this morning from Calgary to Winnipeg. A narrow band of 10-15cm is likely along the Trans Canada corridor with gusty winds and poor visibility. The cold air will deepen tonight with temperatures dropping to -20C and wind chills as cold as -25C in Calgary and Edmonton. That cold will spread as far east as northwest Ontario, but that is it for the time being.


It took many residents of Calgary hours to get to and from work yesterday as winter takes hold of the southern Rockies and Prairies. CTV.ca

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Colder weather on the way

Update 11AM : URGENT - WEATHER MESSAGE
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE BURLINGTON VT
1109 AM EST WED NOV 17 2010
...WIND ADVISORY IN EFFECT FROM 4 PM THIS AFTERNOON TO 4 AM EST THURSDAY...
* LOCATIONS...ALL OF NORTHERN NEW YORK.
(this will impact the St. Lawrence Valley of Ontario and extreme southwest Quebec as well.)
* WINDS...WEST 25 TO 35 MPH WITH GUSTS UP TO 50 MPH. (50-90km/h)
* TIMING...WINDS WILL INCREASE SHARPLY FROM THE WEST THIS
AFTERNOON...AND PEAK DURING THE 10 PM TO 2 AM TIME FRAME. WINDS
WILL GRADUALLY DIMINISH TOWARD DAYBREAK.

Steady rain continues to fall in Montreal this morning and across eastern Ontario as strong low pressure lifts north across Lake Ontario and down the St. Lawrence Valley. Over 25mm of rain has been reported from the metro region north and west with heavier amounts locally including 53mm at Kingston, ON, since late yesterday. The rain will continue all day today with steady, mild temperatures around 12C. Winds are beginning to pick up on the back side of this storm across southern Ontario and these will spread east today. Southwest winds will gust between 30-60km/h with some gusts along area shorelines near 80km/h. A quick scan of the obs for Ontario shows gusts to 72km/h at Goderich, 71km/h at Long Point, 59km/h at Hamilton and 41km/h in Ottawa. Conditions will not improve until later tonight and overnight. It will turn much colder tomorrow with highs only reaching 5C. After a break in the weather Thursday and Friday, a couple of clipper systems will begin to affect the region. These storms will bring the threat of rain and snow showers to Montreal but most importantly will usher in much colder air. There is the potential for measurable snow next week here in the east that could disrupt US Thanksgiving travel, so stay tuned for more on that.

SNOW & COLD
The first arctic cold outbreak of the season has spread south across Alberta and Saskatchewan over the last 24 hours. Low pressure moved across the southwest corner of Saskatchewan and into Montana with steady snow and blowing snow. A general 10-15cm was reported with low visibilities and icy roads causing numerous accidents in Calgary and points east. The cold has really established itself this morning with temperatures in the minus teens. It will warm very little today as another clipper brings 5-10cm of snow and a reinforcing shot of cold air. Temperatures will drop into the -20's in Alberta tonight. The snow and cold will spread east along the Trans Canada towards Manitoba. Travel will be poor in blowing snow across southern Saskatchewan on Thursday.

Image from CTV.ca