Friday, January 29, 2010

Arctic chill

Bundle up venturing anywhere out of doors for the next 24 hours. It is currently -18C in Montreal with a west wind at 28 gusting to 46 km/h and a windchill of -30C. Ottawa is even colder at -21C and a windchill of -33C. Some of the 6cm of snow that fell yesterday continues to blow around making travel icy and slow at best. Conditions will not improve today with cold temperatures and strong winds. The winds will ease a little tonight but it will be very cold down below -23C in many regions. Saturday will be sunny and cold before a milder Sunday in advance of another cold front approaching the region. Some light snow will occur again along that front before another shot of very cold air to begin next week. It looks like all of next week will be very chilly for early February. Wind chill warnings are posted in New York and Vermont today. There are no warnings on this side of the border but really we are splitting hairs. The criteria for dangerous wind chills is at or below -40C. But at -33C you are not going to know the difference, it is bloody cold out there!

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Dangerous Windchills

Snow and blowing snow ushered in arctic cold this evening in Montreal. SB Pic

The temperature has been free falling since 4pm when it was a reasonably mild -4C to the current reading of -11C. It was roughly at that time that the arctic cold front crossed the Montreal region with heavy snow and winds approaching 70km/h. The sudden snow and low visibility sent numerous cars into ditches and caused a traffic nightmare for the evening rush hour. The snow added about 30 minutes to my commute. The snow is over and the cold is settling in on strong northwest winds that will gust over 50km/h for the next 24 hours at least. This, combined with the biting cold, down around -18C tonight and not much better than -16C on Friday, will produce wind chill values below -30C. Windchill warnings are in effect across large areas of eastern and central Ontario as well as portions of Quebec, New York and Vermont. The wind should ease by Saturday but it will remain very cold. The gusty winds are still producing blowing snow across open areas south and west of the metro region.

Snowsquall Warning

Heavy snow with blowing snow is occurring in the Montreal area as a sharp cold front crosses the city. The snow will reduce visibility and ice roads along with dropping temperatures through to 6pm.

Weather Warning

Arctic Boundary

Cold air is on our doorstep. The temperature currently is as warm as it will be for the next week or so. Radar is showing steady snow falling along a cold front moving across Ontario. Ahead of the front strong southwest winds are driving snow squalls off Lake Ontario and down the St. Lawrence Valley. The heaviest snow is falling in northern Jefferson and across St. Lawrence County in New York and into eastern Ontario along the 401 corridor from Kingston to Cornwall. Look for 15-25cm in those regions with a general 5-10cm in all other areas today. If you are traveling along the 401 today expect periods of snow, heavy at times with lots of blowing snow and reduced visibilities. Winter Weather Advisories and Special Weather Statements are posted for those areas. Locally the light snow will pick up and become quite heavy with the frontal passage, before tapering to flurries late tonight. Winds will increase as well out of the southwest and then back to the northwest tonight at speeds from 40-60km/h. The combination of falling and blowing snow will make travel poor this afternoon into early this evening. Once the front passes the temperature will fall to -16C overnight and remain nearly steady on Friday. Skies will eventually clear Friday but winds will make it very cold with wind chills approaching -30C across southwest Quebec and eastern Ontario. It will be a sunny and cold weekend.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Colder Weather

Our mild spell is just about over. Cold arctic air pooling over the central part of the country will slide across the Great Lakes and into Quebec by late Thursday. A shot of steady snow along the arctic boundary will cross the area during the daylight hours Thursday, with a general 5-10cm of snow along with gusty southwest winds and blowing snow. Behind the front, temperatures will plunge to -20C in Montreal and Ottawa by Friday night and "warm" only to -14C for Saturday.

Meanwhile to our south from Arizona to Tennessee and especially Oklahoma and Arkansas, a strong winter storm will tap into the arctic air and Gulf of Mexico moisture, and produce a major winter storm across that area. FEMA is already sending supplies and generators into Oklahoma in anticipation of heavy accumulations of ice. They are expecting power outages that could last several days. Watches and warnings have been posted.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

January Thaw

Flooding in Buffalo, NY. Photo D.Gee, Buffalo News

Record breaking rainfall has changed to light snow this morning in Montreal as temperatures hover near the freezing point. Radar is showing a wide swath of light snow on the backside of Monday's powerful storm, across the Ottawa Valley, eastern Ontario and into Quebec. The snow should continue for most of the morning hours with gusty northwest winds. It is considerably colder this morning at 0C down from yesterday's high of 8C in Montreal. Heavy rain set records across the region with 32mm in Montreal, 38mm in Kemptville and 41mm in Ottawa. That amount in Ottawa broke a record for the 24 hour period set back in 1995 with 33.6mm. The moisture laden storm is now moving across Atlantic Canada and off the east coast.

Heavy rain also fell across most of Ontario and into New York and Vermont. Many localities recorded over 50mm including Buffalo and Trenton. There were numerous reports of flooding of underpasses and highways and along area rivers. There was even a mudslide in Montreal along St. Jacques Street West closing two lanes of the roadway. Rivers and streams will have to be closely monitored for the next several days. Remember that all ice is extremely unsafe and unstable at this time.

The balance of the week will feature a return to winter weather with periods of light snow and much colder weather into Thursday before high pressure clears us out for a cold and sunny Friday and Saturday.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Heavy Rain

Radar this morning is showing very heavy rain across eastern Ontario and southern Quebec. The rain will continue all day before tapering to a few showers this evening and eventually flurries overnight. Temperatures are very mild today already well above freezing in Montreal and points south and west. Very little freezing rain occurred locally, however it has been falling all night in Quebec City, and Highway 20 remains very poor in that area. Quebec City is still below freezing at 8am. Keep in mind that heavy rain warnings and flood advisories are in effect for our entire area from Ottawa to Montreal and south into New York and Vermont. Expect total rainfall amounts of 25-50mm or 1 to 2 inches of rain by the time in ends this evening.

On the cold side of the storm heavy snow and strong winds continue across Saskatchewan and Manitoba. Blizzard Warnings remain posted with travel not recommended. The visibility in Regina has only come up and over 1km in the last few hours after being under a kilometer for over 20 hours. Winds gusted over 80km/h with blowing and flailing snow as well as dropping temperatures. Power was out to thousands of homes with SaskPower unable to reach the hardest hit areas due to closed roads. Nearly 20 highways were closed at the height of the storm including the Trans Canada between Regina and Rush Lake. I have driven that road often, it is wide open and very dangerous with any wind and snow. Highway 11 was also closed northwest to Davidson. Conditions will very slowly improve in Saskatchewan today while remaining poor in Manitoba. There were several major accidents and fatalities on roadways this past weekend.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Rain moving in

Cirrus clouds veil the sun just west of Ingleside, Ontario along the frozen St. Lawrence Seaway this afternoon. Freezing rain is moving into the area at this time. This chip wagon is begging for some sun and warmth, and I could have used a fry!

Radar is showing the leading edge of precipitation currently moving along a line from Ottawa to Kingston as it presses northeast. I expect the precipitation to move into Montreal by 10pm. Temperatures are still below freezing from Brockville northeast towards Ottawa and Montreal and points north. Freezing rain will occur at the onset and deposit 2-4mm of ice before the changeover to steady rain occurs. Between 30-50mm of rain is possible in Montreal and most of southern Quebec into New York and Vermont. Heavy Rain Warnings are in effect along with Freezing Rain Warnings for Ottawa, Cornwall and the Laurentians north of Montreal. A Flood Watch is posted for all of northern NY and Vermont. Winds will increase as well and reach speeds of 50-70km/h overnight first out of the east, then the south. It will warm to 7C by Monday morning. Travel with great care this evening especially north and east of Montreal.

Heavy Rain Warning

Warnings stretch from west to east today as a reult an intense Colorado low

Strong low pressure will move from Colorado northeast across the central Great Lakes and towards central Quebec Monday. A warm front associated with this storm will move north across the St. Lawrence Valley tonight. Along this front heavy precipitation and very strong south winds will develop. The rain may begin as a brief period of freezing rain in Montreal but I expect it will rapidly change to rain. The rain will continue across our region well into Monday with 30-50mm (1 to 2 inches) forecast. There are some concerns about local flooding along area lakes and rivers as snow melt and the precipitation will cause water to rise. Stay of the ice.

Environment Canada has issued a Heavy Rain Warning for southern Quebec as well as a Freezing Rain Warning for areas north of the city across the Laurentians. Freezing rain is also expected in the Ottawa Valley and near Cornwall. From 2-6 hours of frozen precip is expected with some icing possible especially near Ottawa. The freezing rain should begin by late afternoon today.

South of the border in upstate New York and Vermont a flood watch has bee posted for the same hydrological concerns related to the 1 to 2 inches of rain expected. In addition to the rain, strong winds will gust from 50 to 80km/h across the entire region.
The storm is affecting a wide area from the Prairies east to Quebec and eventually into Atlantic Canada. Heavy snow and fierce winds are producing blizzard conditions this morning in Saskatchewan, and these will spread into Manitoba, with 15-30cm of snow expected.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Weekend Update

LA Times photo of a fire vehicle stuck in a mudslide. Below: Heavy mountain snows have closed roads across Arizona and northern California.

I am trying to make it through January. I find this the most difficult month of the year, dark and cold. Christmas has passed and baseball is oh so far away, but a least the sun will be out today. Low clouds prevailed yesterday delaying my promise of sunshine by one day. It will be out today across eastern Ontario and southern Quebec. Temperatures are chilly this morning but near normal. The high temperature today will be around -4C. The weekend will feature a sunny Saturday and an equally fair Sunday before that big Pacific storm moves into the region.

That storm hit Arizona and California hard yesterday. The third in a series of coastal lows dumped feet of snow in the mountains and over 10 inches of rain in the valley's around Los Angeles. There were numerous mudslides and flooding reported. Heavy mountain snows clogged roads and towering waves destroyed some coastal building and piers. There was even more tornadoes sighted along the coast, a very rare event for California. That storm will slide across the central plains and towards the central Great Lakes. Heavy snow and some freezing rain will prevail from Colorado north into southern Saskatchewan and Manitoba. Freezing drizzle is already icing roads this morning, and 10-20cm of snow is forecast across southern portion of those provinces with gusty winds producing near blizzard conditions over the weekend.

As the storm moves west of our region, warm air will push north with it and with mostly rain in Montreal and Ottawa. The precipitation will begin late Sunday as a little light wet snow but rapidly change to rain into Monday. From 15-25mm of rain is possible, so we will have to watch for ice jam potentials or flooding issues across the region.

I will update this weather event on Saturday. Enjoy the weekend and be safe.
Please keep the people of Haiti in your thought and prayers and donate if you can. The link to the Red Cross on the upper left is active.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Sunshine on the way

Heavy rain and snow caused mudslides,
power failures and evacuations in California. AP Photo

High pressure will bring us a steady period of sunny and cool weather from Thursday through Saturday. We have one more day left of low clouds, fog, flurries and some freezing drizzle today as a low pressure trough moves east of our region. Temperatures will be mild again today near 0C and slightly cooler through the weekend, but still above normal. Our next storm system will move from the California coast into the Great lakes on Sunday. Strong south winds ahead of the storm should push temperatures above freezing late Sunday with snow changing to rain across the region. Early estimates are for 15-25mm of precipitation with strong winds. This system bears watching for any possible change in track and precipitation type.

California is being walloped by three major storms this week. The third one has been a doozie with high surf and winds over 100mph. Heavy precipitation has caused flooding and mudslides with copious amounts of snow in the inland mountains of the southwest. Evacuations have been ordered as a result of flooding and many roads have been closed. Power outages have spread across the LA area and inland. There was even a brief and rare tornado yesterday afternoon along the coast southwest of downtown Los Angeles.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Typical El Nino pattern

We are really starting to see an El Nino pattern develop across North America. El Nino is (in a very simple explanation) the abnormal warming of the Pacific Ocean waters along the South American coast. It develops in varying intensities over the years and can greatly affect the weather patterns around the world. In Canada it basically means a more mild and zonal weather pattern with the cold air remaining far to our north and the storm track far to our south. A typical January with El Nino in Montreal is mild, dull with little sunshine and lots of moist air creating freezing rain, drizzle or light snow...check, check and check.

El Nino patterns also deliver punishing storms to the California coast. Such will be the case this week as a series of storms will produce significant weather in that state. Read about the amazing weather that is expected HERE.

Monday, January 18, 2010

More freezing drizzle

Low pressure moving off the New England Coast, combined with a trough over southern Quebec, is producing a moist northeast flow down the St. Lawrence Valley this morning. This flow is producing drizzle that is freezing on contact with the cold surface. This cold air has been in place in Montreal for the last 24 hours. Yesterday the mild air made it no further than the US border, at one point there was a 10 degree difference between Burlington, Vermont and Montreal. The cold air will be very difficult to move out of valley locations and I expect the freezing drizzle to continue until it changes to light snow this afternoon as the air cools aloft. The precipitation has caused very icy roads again across southwest Quebec and into eastern Ontario with numerous accidents reported. Many road crews were caught off guard as there was no mention of this in yesterday's forecast. We awoke this morning to a late issued weather warning from Environment Canada and the freezing drizzle. Unlike Friday morning I remained on my feet today!

Please remember to give to the Haiti relief effort. Use the link on the upper left. It just takes a few seconds to do, and your donation is being match by the Canadian federal government.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Icy start

Making the roads safe in Beaconsfield this morning. SB Pic

With the temperature above freezing, or so I thought (at least on my thermometer), I stepped out onto my driveway and swoosh or more like a bang, down I went. It seems that light drizzle is freezing on pavement this morning with the area just at the ground level still below the 0C point. The very thin layer of ice is making it very dangerous walking and driving as well. Numerous accidents were reported along the 15 north of Montreal. The drizzle should ease later today as the temperature nudges above freezing in all areas. The weekend will remain damp and unsettled but mild. Light drizzle, fog or even a few flurries is possible at any time. I don't expect much sunshine.

The federal government in Canada will match all donations to the Red Cross and other organizations for Haiti quake relief. Please give today. Use the link on the upper left.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Freezing Drizzle

The mild southwest flow that has begun to move into our region is encountering cold air at the surface in the St. Lawrence Valley. Cold air is very stubborn and heavy to move out. As a result some freezing drizzle can be expected today into this evening across Montreal and eastern Ontario. While it won't amount to much, all it takes is a couple of millimetres to make roads slick. Otherwise look for much milder temperatures into this weekend with daytime highs close to 0C.
I am watching a developing storm over the Gulf of Mexico that is forecast to move to Cape Hatteras by Sunday. Models disagree after that with once scenario taking it out to sea well south of New England while the other has it coming close to Cape Cod. The system will have to be watched for track and development but at this time we expect just flurries on Sunday.

Please keep the people of Haiti and the responding relief and rescue workers in your thoughts and prayers. Use the link on the upper left to make a much needed donation to the Red Cross or any other major relief agency.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Haitian Quake

Haiti will need all our help after a 7.0 earthquake caused major damage and loss of life.

A major 7.0 earthquake has shattered the island nation of Haiti leaving unimaginable devastation and loss of life. The quake struck around 5pm Tuesday evening with most buildings collapsing in the capital city Port Au Prince. A least 30 police officers from Montreal are among those unaccounted for at this hour. Relief efforts are just beginning, and details are limited with most communications down.

More information on how you can help can be found HERE

While information on the science of this monster quake can be found HERE

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

January Thaw?

Could our January thaw be in sight? It will be cold today, with temperature staying very close to where they are now (-12C). Skies will clear out slowly and it it will be a frigid night with low temperatures in the region around -20C. That will be the last arctic night for some time. Patterns are beginning to change to a more typical El Nino winter. Mild pacific air is establishing itself across the west, and that will move rapidly eastward into the Midwest and eventually the east coast. The main storm track will remain well to our south from California towards the Carolinas and out to sea. This will likely mean a warming trend beginning tomorrow and lasting well into next week. As a matter of fact we should go above freezing by Friday. This would be the first day above 0C since Boxing Day and prior to that late November. A few snow showers will occur tomorrow with the arrival of the warmer air.

Next week is looking quite mild as well with more above freezing weather expected. Over the weekend here in the Montreal region two snowmobilers, a father and his young son drowned in the Lake of Two Mountains after they went through the ice late Sunday. Remember please stay off area lakes and rivers. The ice is very changeable this winter with a late and fast freeze with lots of snow and now milder weather coming. This was not a good scenario for thick, hard ice. Play it safe and stay on marked trails or off the water all together. More safety information can be found at this like HERE.

Monday, January 11, 2010

A few flurries

The weather appears to be settling down somewhat across North America with a moderation in temperatures and no big storms around. A couple of very weak frontal systems will give Ontario and Quebec a few flurries today and again Wednesday. The system on Wednesday may have a very brief period of steady snow. Otherwise conditions look a touch milder than last week, but it will remain below freezing. The harsh cold that has gripped the deep southern US will begin to ease this week. The cold sent subzero readings all the way into Florida. The freeze caused millions in losses in agriculture. It was cold enough for sleet and snow in Daytona Beach on Saturday morning. This morning another hard freeze is occurring in central and northern Florida. Jacksonville has the same temperature as Montreal this hour, both at -5C. Daytona Beach is -1C. Temperatures should begin to moderate this week, but not before one more night below freezing tonight. The cold and ice has also caused hundreds of accidents across the south and Midwest and is responsible for at least nine deaths.

Friday, January 08, 2010

Sunshine returns

An Alberta Clipper is sliding eastward across the Great Lakes and just south of our regions today. Most of the steady snow will remain south of the border, however we could see a centimetre or two during the day. This system will be followed by high pressure with cold temperatures beginning tonight. Overnight lows across the area will be close to -18C and it will only warm to around -11C on Saturday. It will warm up a little on Sunday. Conditions will be dry for most of the upcoming week with seasonable temperatures.

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

January blues

Above: This was a gift at Christmas titled "Fenway Blues" so true.
Below: My favorite puppy models here latest outfit. I don't think she is too impressed!

For someone who loves sunshine and plus 27C weather, I find the cold, short and dark days of January so difficult. I long for Red Sox baseball, shorts, bike rides and mowing the lawn over shoveling snow. But in a cruel twist of fate here in Quebec, and the rest of Canada we begin our coldest, darkest time of the year with no holidays in sight until Easter! We need a February holiday like they have in Ontario now. Anyway what can you do...that is life up north. At least we have the Olympics and my hopes for gold in hockey *not silver - no pressure at all!

It remains cloudy in our region due to that big low pressure area over the north Atlantic. The storm will continue to send moist unstable air down the St. Lawrence Valley producing more light snow in spots and perhaps a shot or two of freezing drizzle. Steady freezing drizzle during last nights rush hour here in Montreal, made the drive home a little challenging. The storm total by the way for the weekend system was 24.5cm for Montreal. We could see another 1 or 2cm over the next 24 to 36 hours, with a slight chance of 1 or 2cm on Friday.

The balance of the week will be damp and chilly with sunshine finally by Saturday. It will turn colder over the weekend, but the sun will be most welcome. Daytime highs of -2 to -5C will drop to -7 to -11C by the weekend.

Sunday, January 03, 2010

Bizzaro Storm

Burlington Free Press photo of the record snowstorm being cleared up this Sunday.

It has been a very interesting 24 hours with this major coastal storm. The western edge of the precipitation has been falling quite steady in Montreal for about 24 hours with over 20cm in the region. This storm has produced heavy snow in some very odd places with very little elsewhere. Here are just a few anomalies with this storm. In Burlington, Vermont, over 32 inches (77cm) of snow has fallen, making it the biggest snowstorm in that city in 120 years of weather records. The previous record was 29.8 inches in December 1969. Meanwhile just a few exits down Interstate 89 in Stowe they have received only 4 inches. Plattsburgh, New York just a stones throw across Lake Champlain had only 6 inches. Meanwhile in our region, normally frigid Quebec City went above freezing at 3am last night and stayed there most of the day. They went from -1C to 4C in less than one hour with snow changing to rain. Meanwhile we did no better than -5C and Drummondville just down the 20 from Quebec City was -8C while Quebec City was at plus 4C. Other storm stats: Yarmouth, Nova Scotia had 33cm of snow, and Woodstock, Nova Scotia 45cm. In the wind department, Grand Etang, NS had 163km/h winds, Quebec City 107km/h winds and Montreal gusts of wind in the 50km/h range with the lowest pressure recorded at 997mb. It is still snowing lightly in Montreal, but winds have eased somewhat and visibilities are on the rise.

Saturday, January 02, 2010

Storm update

Low visibility and snow covered roads along the St. Lawrence River in Verdun today.

This is the latest information available on tonight's snowstorm. A heavy snowfall warning is now in effect for all of the areas just south of metro Montreal including Vaudreuil, the South Shore and east into the Townships. Winter Storm Warnings remain posted for New York and Vermont. Heavy snow is moving west towards the regions at this hour. Look for the light snow that has been falling all day (a good 5cm worth added to yesterday's 5-7cm) will intensify tonight and continue into Sunday. A total of 15-30cm is possible in Quebec with 25-40cm over New England. Winds have been increasing as well and will gust out of the north at 30-50km/h causing blowing snow. The blowing snow has already been occurring in Montreal with visibilities down to under 2km at times. Another factor has been the dropping temperatures. Montreal was at -4C at midnight, and that was our high. We are currently at -11C with a windchill of -20C. Travel will become poor across the area tonight with near blizzard conditions expected in Vermont. Some milder air will try to make it into the area later tonight. I am not certain that will happen, but time will tell. Travel with great care tonight or even better stay in and have pizza and a cold beer like we are!

Winter Storm Update

Heavy Snowfall Warning: Sherbrooke, Townships, areas south of the St. Lawrence Valley
Winter Storm Warning: Vermont and northern New York counties

Low pressure has finally developed off the southern coast of New England and is slowly moving west towards Maine. This system will be enhanced by a second area of low pressure in the upper atmosphere and become quite intense later today and tonight. Models have it as low as 970mb. The forecast has been very hard to nail down with this system because it is breaking some of the usual rules. The result of the storm moving west will be increasing deep Atlantic moisture across all of our area including eastern Ontario, Quebec and south into New England and New York. Radar is already showing a shift in precipitation, now coming from the northeast to the southwest. I believe any warm air as depicted in the Environment Canada forecast will stay well east of our area. As a matter of fact we are currently -6C here on Ile Perrot, down several degrees from this morning. In addition the snow and wind have been picking up. It will continue to do so for the balance of the day and Sunday. Total storm accumulations will be 25 to 35cm for New England, 20-30cm for the regions south of the St. Lawrence Valley and 15-20cm for all other regions. While no warnings are posted for Montreal, the weather will make travel difficult later today and especially tonight.

Closer to the center of the low, heavy precipitation, fierce winds and a storm surge are affecting coastal Maine and Nova Scotia. Heavy snow is falling inland in New Brunswick and PEI and over the Gaspe. Winds are expected over 150km/h at Cape Breton.

Friday, January 01, 2010

Happy 2010

Above: Cleaning the snow on Ile Perrot today.
Below: AP Photo of the NHL Winter Classic at Fenway Park in Boston.

Happy New Year...year 6 of my weather blog and year 31 of keeping weather data is underway.

Today was quite snowy across the region with a good 4 to 7cm accumulating here on Ile Perrot. The snow was very light and fluffy. The reason for this snow is a low pressure trough draped across the region. The main pulse of energy will move off the New England coast tonight and join forces with a developing storm east of Maine. This low pressure area will retrograde into the Gulf of Maine on Saturday before moving back east out to sea. The result will be steady snow late Saturday into Sunday morning. Winter Storm Watches have been hoisted for Vermont and all of upstate New York including the counties bordering our regions. No watches on this side of the border at this time. It appears the snow will remain light but steady for Montreal. By the time the weekend ends a good 15-30cm will accumulate across the area. Winds will pick up as well gusting to 50km/h especially in the Quebec City region. Travel may become difficult late Saturday in snow and blowing snow.

This has been a very changeable forecast and a storm that has not followed any of the rules, so things may still change yet. We should know more by tomorrow morning.

• The NHL Winter Classic was played at historic Fenway Park in Boston today. Despite predictions of stormy weather, it remained calm and mild during the game with near perfect conditions. Over 38,000 fans watched the Bruins beat the Flyers 2-1 in overtime. It was quite the event to watch at the old ballpark.