Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Winter Storm Warning

Deep low pressure this morning is moving from southern Minnesota eastward into the central Great Lakes and eventually south of Montreal on Thursday. This storm has been responsible for near blizzard conditions across the upper Midwest and northern plains along with severe weather and tornadoes overnight across the central and southern plains. One storm hit the entertainment town of Branson Missouri overnight with damage and injuries reported. One fatality has been reported so far by state police in Kansas.

Meanwhile well east of the low is a warm front approaching central New York state and southern Ontario. Precipitation is focused along the front in the form of snow and freezing rain. At this hour freezing rain is approaching southern Ontario with widespread warnings from the GTA west towards London and Sarnia.

Tornado damage overnight in Harveyville, Kansas near Topeka. (AP Photo)
As a result of the approaching warm front and low, a winter storm warning has been posted for Montreal and southwestern Quebec. Snow will develop later today and become moderate overnight with widespread blowing snow developing as northeast winds increase in the St. Lawrence Valley. The snow will continue Thursday before tapering off to flurries. At this time is looks like 15-20cm for Montreal and points south with 10-15cm in Ottawa and points north. Warnings are also in place for northern New York and Vermont. Thursday will be a very slow travel day across the region with steady snow and gusty winds from 30-50km/h. Temperatures are starting off chilly today in the -15C range this morning but will warm to -4C today where is will remain steady into Thursday. There is a slight risk of a little sleet or freezing rain mixing with the snow at times.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

More snow on the way

Just when it seemed like winter was over, the season is taking a few parting shots at us. I'm sure most of us are well aware of how nasty late February and March can be. This morning we are seeing a few flurries come to an end across southern Quebec and New England as weak low pressure races off to the east and into Atlantic Canada. We had little more than a dusting here in Montreal overnight with up to 2cm off island. Skies are slowly clearing this morning and it is chilly at -8C but with wind chills in the minus teens. High pressure will be in control of our weather today and most of Wednesday. Meanwhile strong low pressure is organizing in the southwest US and will move towards the lower Great Lakes by late Wednesday. This storm will spread blizzard conditions across the northern plains and upper Midwest with severe weather expected across the deep south. A warm front will develop out ahead of the storm and start to produce some light snow in southern Quebec by late in the day tomorrow. On Thursday precipitation may become moderate across the region with a snow and freezing rain mix likely. At this time amounts and type are rather difficult to predict but we may be looking at more than 10cm of snow here in Montreal and up to 20cm in New York and Vermont. As a result a winter storm watch has been posted for all of northern New England and New York State, with a special weather statement from Environment Canada for Ontario. No warnings or statements at this time for southern Quebec, but is is early in the forecast period. I will update this upcoming storm as information becomes available today.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Active weather week ahead

For the first time in its 54 year history NASCAR had to postpone the Daytona 500 on Sunday due to heavy rain. More rain is forecast for central Florida today possibly delaying once again the scheduled 1pm start.

It looks like an active weather week to end February and start what is meteorological spring. While we are not expecting any big storms, we will have a chance for precipitation every second day into next weekend. We will start with this most recent storm that brought southern Quebec anywhere from 15-25cm of snow along with strong winds on Saturday and lots of blowing and drifting snow. In many ways it was the biggest storm of the winter thus far. In Vermont upslope snows dumped over 30 inches on Jay with 1-2 foot reports across the Green Mountains. In the lower elevations it was generally around 6 inches.

Today we have a clipper system moving across Ontario and into southern Quebec. A little light snow is forecast this afternoon into the overnight period with perhaps 5cm for Montreal. High pressure will build into the area for Tuesday before another storm from the northern plains arrives on Wednesday. A mix of snow and perhaps some freezing rain may occur with this next storm, with amounts generally in the 10cm range with precipitation lingering into Thursday. Friday will be fair with the third storm arriving for Saturday. This will likely be the strongest of the three, but also the warmest, so at this point we are looking at a rain event for southern Quebec. Temperatures are chilly this morning at -9C with a gusty wind making it feel colder. We will see highs of around -4C today.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Slow clearing

Strong low pressure is well northeast of Montreal over Maine this afternoon. That has not stopped the gusty wind and snow from occurring in the metro region. Most areas in southern Quebec have received around 20cm of snow since it started on Friday afternoon. The snow mixed with a little rain south of Montreal last night but it quickly turned back to snow this morning. Strong winds are producing blowing snow across the St. Lawrence Valley and south to the US border. Wind gusts of 50km/h or higher can be expected this afternoon. Snow is rather light in Montreal but much heavier south and east of the city across the Eastern Townships as well as the Adirondacks and Green Mountains where winter storm warnings remain in effect. The snow should taper off in Montreal by late afternoon with the winds abating by midnight. Temperatures started the day mild at 0C but have since fallen to -3C in Montreal with a windchill of -11C, and -6C in Ottawa, where snow is still falling as well. Look for another 5-10cm of snow in most areas of southern Quebec today with as much as 25cm in the Townships and eastern Quebec.

Above: The heavy wet snow stuck to everything last night.
Below: My Bella loves the weather almost as much as I do.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Heavy wet snow

Highway 20 approaching L'Ile Perrot during the evening commute Friday. (ValleyWX Pic)

The steady wet snow continues to fall in and around Montreal at 8pm this evening with about 10-15cm on the ground here on L'Ile Perrot. Winds have lightened up quite a bit in Montreal down from the 30-40km/h range during the evening commute. They are forecast to increase once again overnight as the storm system passes to our south and off to the east of Montreal with gusts over 50km/h possible. Winds on the backside of the system have increased significantly with gusts up to 80km/h being reported along Lake Erie and Ontario. This includes a gust to 72km/h at Hamilton and close to 70km/h in Toronto. The storm has had far reaching effect with heavy snow in New York and across New England, and severe weather up and down the east coast from New Jersey to Florida. There were reports of tornadoes in the Carolina's and Virginia today. There were even some thunderstorms along the cold front near Albany, NY and into southern Vermont. Meanwhile heavy snow has prompted winter storm warnings for all of southern and eastern Quebec into Atlantic Canada where up to 30cm is forecast on Saturday.

Storm update

12PM UPDATE: At noon, snow is advancing northeast across Ontario and into southwest Quebec. The snow will start out very light this afternoon but become much heavier as low pressure deepens and moves south of Montreal by evening. Heavy wet snow and strong winds will continue into Saturday morning with 15-25cm forecast for southern Quebec by the storms end. Up to 15cm is expected in eastern Ontario and none now in the GTA with perhaps just a few flurries. Visibility will lower and travel become difficult in southern Quebec by the evening rush hour. 

7am Friday UPDATE: Snowfall Warnings have been extended to the metro Montreal region this morning for 15-25cm of snow over the next 18 to 24 hours. We have a deepening low pressure area over Lake Erie this morning that is forecast to move down the St. Lawrence Valley. A second low is forecast to develop off the Maine coast and deepen rapidly. This will result in precipitation across New England and Quebec for the next 24 hours.  Radar returns over Ontario at this time are not overly impressive, but there is some rain and snow being observed. Winds are also beginning to increase in eastern Ontario out of the east and northeast. For southern Quebec the snow will not get in here much before noon with the heaviest expected during the evening hours. Winds will also increase to between 30 and 50km/h. The temperatures will be right around the freezing point.

Previous Discussion
I had chosen not to call our upcoming weather a storm this morning but it seems the 15cm threshold may be reached after all in southern Quebec and possibly exceeded. At this time we have low pressure over Illinois that is expected to work its way across western New York and just south of Montreal by late Friday. Snow is expected to overspread the area beginning in southern Ontario tonight and reaching Montreal by mid morning on Friday. It appears the heaviest snow will fall across the region between the city and the US border as well as the higher elevations of the Laurentians, Adirondacks and Eastern Townships. Presently snowfall warnings are in effect from the GTA north and east into the Ottawa Valley as well as the area north of Montreal and from my region here on L'Ile Perrot south to the US border and east towards Sherbrooke. Amounts will generally be in the 10-15cm (4-6 inches) range with upwards of 20 to 25cm (6-10 inches) in the Adirondacks and Green Mountains of Vermont. Winds with this system will be gutsy out of the northeast 30-50km/h primarily in the St. Lawrence Valley, before backing to the northwest late Friday night. Temperatures will cool to -4C tonight and remain around 0C for the duration of the storm. Roads will become snow covered on Friday with low visibility in heavy wet snow which may fall at the rate of 2cm an hour or more for a time tomorrow.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Snow on the way

I don't want to use the word snowstorm for this next event, but lets say we have some weather on the way. Montreal had a few light showers and flurries overnight, not much at all really, but just enough to put a thin glaze on the roads this morning. Skies should partially clear today with another mild high temperature of 3C expected. The temperature will fall tonight with northeast winds developing to a low of -5C.

On Friday low pressure will move from Kansas across northern Ohio and down the St. Lawrence Valley. A general swath of snow north of the low will affect most of southern and eastern Ontario and Quebec with around 10-15cm forecast. The snow will begin after midnight in the Toronto area and reach Montreal by the early morning hours. While it will not be a storm as such, it will be tricky on the roads for sure, as the snow will be blown around by northeast winds of 30 to 50km/h. The only warnings in place so far are for the Eastern Townships where 15cm or more is likely. We may see additional warnings posted later today, particularly for the mountains of upstate New York and Vermont.

Once the low passes east of Montreal we can expect a slightly cooler weekend with some residual snow on Saturday and clearing skies on Sunday. Temperatures will remain above normal through the period.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Unsettled weather

We have a rather wet morning in Montreal and across southern Quebec today with mix of very light rain and snow that has been falling since about midnight. The temperature is currently a mild plus 3C (38F) here on L'Ile Perrot with a light south wind. A frontal system moving across the area will continue the light precipitation until about the noon hour followed by some partial clearing. The clearing will be very short as the next weak system is poised to move across the region tonight. The leading edge of light snow will move into Montreal late this evening with about 2-4cm forecast. This will taper off early tomorrow morning and likely melt quickly as temperatures rise above freezing once again to plus 2C. Friday we have a stronger system that is still giving the computer models fits and starts. Both the reliable European and American models take the system across the region Friday but at different strengths and with different temperature profiles. The European model even develops a second storm off the east coast near Cape Cod for Saturday. The best we can tell this far out is that we will have rain and snow both Friday and Saturday with perhaps a gusty wind. We will have to pay close attention to this, and I am, so check back later today or follow my twitter account for updates. There is the potential for a significant event and being that it has been such a quiet winter, any snow may cause travel delays.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Stormy weather by Friday

There is finally some activity locally on the weather map this morning. First we are dealing with another chilly morning at -11C here on L'Ile Perrot southwest of downtown Montreal. High pressure will keep skies clear today with just some increasing high clouds. A frontal system with limited moisture will approach from the Great Lakes tonight and produce a few flurries and showers into Wednesday. It will be mild with temperatures above freezing today and for most of the week. A stronger storm will move from the Ohio Valley late Thursday and down the St. Lawrence Valley by Friday. This system will be the strongest this month with the chance for up to 25mm or 1 inch of precipitation. The problem is what form of precipitation can we expect? At this time is looks like rain from metro Montreal south and a mix of rain, freezing rain or snow north with precipitation tapering off to all snow by late Friday as a strong cold front sweeps the region. Forecaster confidence is very low at this point as the two most reliable computer models argue with each other over the eventual details of the storm. In any event there will be some stormy weather Friday after what has been a very inactive month.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Is winter over?

I keep getting the same question from friends and family, is winter over? Any other year I would say no, because as we well know, March is a nasty month in Montreal with historically the biggest and wildest storms (1971, 1993 and others). This year however, I am inclined to say yes. There is just no serious winter weather anywhere in Canada, with perhaps the exception of a small area of Atlantic Canada in the last week or so. Montreal remains stuck at about 7cm of snow for the month, not even 3 inches!. Yes I know a southern storm over the weekend dumped up to 10 inches of wet snow in Tennessee and Kentucky as well as western parts of the Carolina's and Virginia, but these are fluke events. It will warm into the 60's (above 16C) early this week in those same regions, that is not winter. The same holds true for our region, I feel any snowstorm that may occur over the next month will be a fluke, a system coming up the east coast catching us on the backside or perhaps a wet snow event as temperatures cool overnight. There is no cold air forecast this week with sunny skies today and Tuesday and highs at or above freezing. A frontal system will bring rain by late in the week before a strong cold front moves across the region late Friday. That cold air may produce a little snow, but more mild air is forecast by early next week.

Heavy snow and fog along I-75 in Tennessee on Sunday produced numerous accidents including this multiple vehicle incident that injured 60 motorists, 5 seriously.

The storm in the deep south yesterday is moving out to sea this morning well south of New England and Quebec. It produced a swath of snow that created dangerous driving and many accidents. The storm also cut power to thousands. Winds along the coast created coastal flooding in in portions of the middle Atlantic and North Carolina.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Gary "The Kid" Carter

Gary Carter in his practice jersey with the Montreal Expos back in the early 80's. I took out my identical jersey yesterday just to have a long look at it.

I am going to take a little break from the weather this morning.

We lost Hall of Fame catcher and former Montreal Expo Gary "The Kid" Carter to brain cancer yesterday at the young age of 57. No matter how you look at his 20 year career in the majors he was class all the way. He started his career here in Montreal and delivered so many memories to me as a child and later on in my teen years. My friend Steve D (yes another Steve) and myself were big baseball fans growing up. We had the privilege of watching some pretty amazing players pass through the Montreal organization, none with more energy and enthusiasm than Carter. He was the face of this franchise for the 12 seasons he played here. One big thrill was seeing him in the 1982 MLB All Star game right here at the Big O in Montreal, which luckily I attended. I still have my ticket stub!

Sadly in 1984 the Expos traded away Carter to the New York Mets. My friend Steve and I went in different directions. We were both angry at the Expos for trading him, Steve became an instant Mets fan while I became a huge Boston Red Sox fan. We both still are fans of our respective teams to this day. Well you can see where this is going, to the now famous 1986 World Series between the Mets and Sox. Carter kept the game going in the 9th inning with a clutch hit which later led to the Bill Buckner error and eventually a Game 6 win and World Series title. It would be Carters only championship in his long career. Looking back this morning, I am so glad the Mets won, if just for Carter. The Red Sox had bigger things ahead for them in 2004. It was Carter's well deserved World Series and looking back and reflecting, it was exactly how it was suppose to be.

Rest in peace Gary Carter, my thoughts and prayers to his wife and family.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Rain & snow mix

There is not a whole lot going on in the weather department this morning, it is mild at 0C here on L'Ile Perrot with some fog around. We had a little light rain and snow yesterday, about 2mm worth, hardly worth noting. It is becoming increasingly difficult to find much weather to write about here in Quebec and Ontario, a sentiment noted by other weather bloggers in the region. This winter is setting new records on being mundane, with only 7cm of snow this month and very little in the way of storms all winter long. So today we find ourselves waiting for another weakening area low pressure that will move from Illinois towards southern Quebec. In a normal year this would mean a storm, this year it means, well light rain and snow. The rain will arrive late today and taper to a few flurries on Friday. The only notable thing is that the winds may gust to 50km/h on Friday. Amounts will be light with perhaps 2-5mm of rain followed by a centimetre or two of snow. There may be a few slick spots on area highways both this morning and again overnight tonight. Temperatures will remain mild, above freezing for the next 24 to 36 hours between 2 and 4C. The weekend will feature clearing skies and near normal temperatures. With very little snow pack for outdoor activities and melting outdoor skating rinks, plan a shopping event this weekend or I guess a walk.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

A little snow

A weak front moving northeast across the valley this morning is producing a little light and very wet snow. Montreal has seen a dusting to 1cm overnight and it should continue for the next several hours with perhaps another centimetre or so. It is just enough snow to make for a sloppy commute in the city. Otherwise look for cloudy skies and very mild temperatures up to about 3C today and Thursday. On Thursday a slightly stronger low pressure area will lift northeast from the lower Great Lakes and pass west of Montreal. This system has limited moisture but should be able to provide a rain and snow mix for most of the area. Precipitation amounts will be less than 10mm which should amount to less than 5cm of snow. The precipitation will begin in Ontario by midday and spread into the Ottawa Valley by evening. It will reach Montreal late in the day and taper off to a few flurries by Friday morning. While no major travel disruptions are expected, it will be enough snow and rain to make roads slick. Winds will increase as well out of the southwest. Skies will then clear for the weekend, and it will remain rather mild for February.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Warming trend

Happy Valentine's Day

We are seeing a wide range in temperatures this morning across the region. Montreal had clear skies and calm winds overnight, that combined with our snow pack (which many areas don't have) allowed temperatures to cool rapidly after sunset. I am showing minus 17C (2F) here on L'Ile Perrot with -14C (7F) at the airport, well below the predicted low of -5C. Meanwhile just to our south Plattsburgh, NY is at -3C (27F), while to our west Ottawa is -7C (20F). Everybody should warm to at or just above freezing today under mostly cloudy skies. The cloud is being caused by very weak low pressure over the Ohio Valley. We may see some snowflakes this afternoon, but nothing to get too excited about. There is another chance for some rain or snow by late Thursday, but again not a big storm.

Just how little snow has Montreal had this February? We are stuck at 7cm for the month, 5.2 of that falling on the first. Normally Montreal has about 45cm of snow in February with this month and March being our snowiest with the biggest storms. I am just not seeing anything at this time that would indicate a major change in the season long patterns. We may have a little snow by the middle of next week, but for the short term mild air is in place and if we get any precipitation with Thursday's system it will likely be in the form of rain showers.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Quiet February rolls along

It looks like much more of the same in southern Quebec this week as high pressure will dominate the weather until mid-week. We start with a rather weak warm front lifting north of the St. Lawrence Valley this morning, accompanied by a few flurries, perhaps 1cm in elevated locations, if we are lucky. Temperatures were rather cold this weekend, but will rise to well above normal again this week as the arctic air shifts back to the north where it has been trapped most of the winter. Temperatures will be in the -2 to -4C range to start the week but warm to above freezing by Wednesday. Low pressure will head into the Ohio Valley by Thursday and take aim at southern Ontario and Quebec. At this time it looks like rain and maybe freezing rain to start perhaps ending in a period of snow. It is still early for that system, so we will wait and see as the week moves along.

Moncton on Sunday morning (

The big storm this weekend was a rapidly deepening Atlantic storm that split the Maratimes in two with rain along and east of the track and heavy snow to the west. Snow fell fast and furious in Moncton and Charlottetown on Saturday night with between 25 and 40cm of snow. In Charlottetown, 32cm fell in just 6 hours. The storm also produced strong winds that cut power to wide areas of Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and PEI. In Newfoundland it was mostly a heavy rain event with some flooding reported as over 70mm of rain fell. Winds gusted to hurricane force with 107km/h observed at St John's, 124km/h at Burgeo and 148km/h at Wreckhouse. That gust at Wreckhouse damaged the anemometer, so that was the peak gust with the storm, but it might have been higher. Meanwhile in Labrador full blizzard conditions prevailed with heavy snow, gale force winds and windchill values as cold as -48C. It is frigid in Atlantic Canada this morning under clear skies and deep snow pack temperatures are in the minus 20's.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Blustery cold weekend

Cold air poured into southern Quebec overnight in response to an arctic front slipping south of the region and into northern New York. The temperature rose to a mild plus 2C (36F) on Friday before slowly falling to around -1C at midnight. The front passed through the region and the temperature tumbled to -7C (19F) in one hour at Trudeau Airport, accompanied by some brief snow and gusty winds producing a windchill of -18C (0F). It has continued to get colder into this morning with current readings of -13C (9F) at the airport and -11C here on L'Ile Perrot. In southern Ontario, Toronto has declared a cold emergency where the temperature is currently -15C.

The sat image above the left from 11am shows a massive winter storm about to affect Atlantic Canada with heavy snow and rain. It will give strong winds and a few clouds to Montreal, but no snow.

Strong low pressure over Atlantic Canada combined with arctic high pressure over Ontario will produce a tightening pressure gradient over Ontario and Quebec. The result will be increasing northeast winds into Sunday here in Montreal. Temperatures will fall to -19C tonight, combined with strong winds increasing to 30 to 50km/h producing dangerous wind chill values of at least -30C (-20 to -25F). A windchill advisory may be needed for a portion of the area for Sunday. Conditions will be mainly dry for the most part with just the occasional flurrie here in Quebec. The heaviest snow with the Atlantic storm will fall over New Brunswick. Meanwhile Windsor, Ontario has about 12cm of snow overnight, and some lake effect snow will continue today of Lake Huron and Georgian Bay. Temperatures will moderate on Monday. No big storms on the horizon for Montreal at this time.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Weekend arctic air

We are looking at a mild Friday across eastern Ontario and the St. Lawrence Valley as well as much of southern Quebec with current temperatures just below freezing here in Montreal. Temperatures under bright sunshine and a gusty southwest wind will rise to about 3C. A strong arctic front will cross the region beginning late this afternoon in Ontario and this evening in Montreal. Along the front a brief period of snow along with gusty winds are possible with perhaps as much as 5cm locally. The biggest amount of snow will be near the Great Lakes. Once the front passes south of the region very cold northwest winds to 40km/h will drive temperatures down to the minus teens where they will remain until Monday. It won't be frigid, but cold, especially after the recent mild weather.

So where are all the storms? Well Europe is being hammered with snowstorms and fierce cold with snow being measured in feet and not inches. Also Alaska has had one traditional winter with frigid temperatures and hundreds of inches of snow for the season. For now the storm track remains well to our north with very little in the way of activity in the lower 48 and most of Canada. The exception will be portions of Atlantic Canada. This morning some snow is falling in Newfoundland as a coastal storm pulls out to seas. A second storm will develop near Cape Cod and move towards Nova Sctoia. Heavy snow is possible on Saturday across New Brunswick and PEI with as much as 30cm possible. In Nova Scotia it will be a snow rain mix with lesser amounts. Winds will gust over 70km/h at times producing blowing snow in New Brunswick.

Thursday, February 09, 2012

Cold weekend on the way

It will be a very mild and pleasant end to the work week today and Friday as high pressure noses into the region from the Ohio Valley. Southwest winds will push the temperature just above the freezing point in Montreal along with abundant sunshine. It will cool only to -5C tonight. Late on Friday a strong cold front will approach southern Ontario and Quebec likely sliding across the St. Lawrence Valley by the early evening hours. The front will be accompanied by gusty winds and some brief heavy snow flurries or squalls. A quick 2-5cm of snow will likely accompany the front followed by a flash freeze up making roads very icy by evening. Along with the snow and wind will be plunging temperatures as the cold air surges into the region. Temperatures will fall into the minus teens by Saturday with a gusty northwest wind. A second front will cross the area late Saturday with a reinforcing shot of Arctic air. Sunday will be sunny, windy and very cold with high temperatures staying in the minus teens and wind chills below -20C. It will warm next week with perhaps some snow by Tuesday.

Above: I thought I would post one more image from the great Northeast Blizzard of 1978. It is a street that many from Montreal and Quebec are familiar with, Ocean Blvd in Hampton Beach during the aftermath of the storm. This link has some great stories HERE.

Wednesday, February 08, 2012

Arctic air for weekend

It is much colder this morning than it has been during the last week or so. Still not much in the way of weather going on across Canada for February. I am showing -15C here on L'Ile Perrot with a light wind. Winds will pick up today, gusting to 40km/h at times creating a bit of a chill in the air, but the mercury will recover to -4C under bright sunny skies. High pressure should hold into Friday with seasonable temperatures for the region. On Friday and arctic boundary will sink southeast into southern Quebec, Ontario and New England with a push of very cold air. Some snow or flurries will occur along the front late Friday into Saturday along with falling temperatures to as cold as -20C by Saturday morning. The cold will be with us for the weekend before a moderation into next week. Once again, as I have said most of this winter, there are no major systems on the weather map at this time. The only exception could be an ocean storm that brushes Newfoundland by the weekend.

Above: Boston during the blizzard of 1978 (

The Blizzard of 1978
I missed an anniversary yesterday that I had really not mentioned before on this blog. It was the 34th anniversary of the massive blizzard of 1978 that affected a large portion of the eastern US and Canada but especially Boston and coastal New England. The storm had its origins off the coast of the Carolina's as a sub-tropical low. It rapidly deepened while moving to a point off the New England coast and hanging around for a few days. The powerful storm produced hurricane force winds along the coast with widespread coastal flooding and damage in Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island and Long Island. Record snow fell, virtually closing down transportation and stranding thousands of motorists in their cars. Over 26 inches of snow fell in Boston with as much as 50 inches in other parts of New England. Power was out for days and schools shut for over one week. The storm claimed nearly 100 lives, many dieing in their cars from carbon monoxide poisoning. Montreal and southern Quebec remained on the western edge of the storm but still managed 10cm (4 inches) of snow along with a wind gust at Dorval to 76km/h. There are many great sites on the web with photos and stories from the storm including here at

Tuesday, February 07, 2012

Colder Tuesday

Ice coats cars along Lake Geneva as Europe shivers while Canada remains relatively warm. (National Post)

A strong cold front swept across the region overnight with very little in the way of precipitation, but a wind shift and much colder temperatures this morning. Several records were established yesterday across New England, Ontario and Quebec including 5.1C in Ottawa beating the old record of 3C from 1991. It was 4C in Montreal, 8C in Toronto and 9C in Burlington, Vermont. Most areas south and west of the city have very little snow left to speak of, here on L'Ile Perrot we have an icy 10cm (4 inches) or so still lying around. No major storms are in sight this week and into the weekend. The only weather to speak of will be another arctic front Friday night that could produce a period of flurries and perhaps a squall or two with its passage. Otherwise high pressure will dominate the week with temperatures mild for February. Highs have been reached today with temperatures falling by afternoon and evening down to -14C in Montreal. The balance of the week will see highs near -3C and lows around -16C. The weekend looks a little colder but again no major storms on the horizon.

The cold this February appears to be trapped across central and eastern Europe where some of the coldest and snowiest weather in over 25 years is affecting regions from Scandinavia east into Serbia and Romania. Governments have declared states of emergency with the death toll now exceeding 300 from the extreme cold and storms. Record lows have been established in many areas including as cold as -40C in the Czech Republic. The cold has frozen waterways across Europe including ice on the canals in Venice. Schools were closed in Rome as heavy snow fell.

Monday, February 06, 2012

Tropical devlopment?

There is not a lot going on in the weather department this morning. We are coming off a rather regular February weekend with chilly mornings and sunny, pleasant afternoons. Temperatures were as cold as -17C Sunday morning, but as warm as 0C by late in the day. We sit at 1C this morning along with a gusty southwest wind that has reached nearly 50km/h at times. The wind will continue for most of the day and tonight with a mild high of 3C expected in the St. Lawrence, Ottawa and Champlain Valley's. A cold front will approach from Ontario late this evening and overnight accompanied by some decent snow showers, much the same as Friday night when a quick 1-3cm fell across the city. Winds will be gusty and temperatures will cool behind the front to about -5C Tuesday and down to -17C by Wednesday morning. The rest of the week looks fair with perhaps another cold front by Friday. There are no major storms in sight at this time.

Meanwhile it remains mild everywhere for February with several record highs in Manitoba yesterday. Included were normally frigid Churchill Falls at -1.8C (-5.6, 1961), and Pilot Mound in the south at 8.8C (8.3C, 1963).

NOAA Image of the Gulf of Mexico and Florida with what appears to be a tropical system in the southeast corner of the image.

Another item that had the weather geeks buzzing yesterday was the formation of what appeared to be a tropical type system (depression/storm) in the Florida Straits. A rare February special statement was issued by the National Hurricane Center saying the likelihood of development was virtually zero percent with no circulation present. Nevertheless the system will move to the northeast bringing south Florida and the Keys a drenching rain and some gusty winds.

Friday, February 03, 2012

Weekend Update

Phil surprised everybody with his message yesterday!

I guess our little furry forecasters were at odds yesterday with Wiarton Willie here in Ontario predicting an early spring and Punxsatawney Phil in Pennsylvania saying it will be at least six more weeks of winter. Either way, as I said yesterday, good news for most of us. It has been a tame winter across the country with winter coming in pieces as opposed to an entire season. Most of the really cold air and ferocious storms have been occurring in Alaska where they have had just an extreme winter. Today it is the US Rockies turn for a day of winter weather. A snowstorm is producing heavy snow, from 1 to 2 feet and strong winds across Colorado and into the high plains of Nebraska. This included the metro Denver area where visibility was down to 1/8 of a mile in heavy snow and blowing snow this morning.

For us here in Quebec and eastern Ontario it will be a quiet weather weekend with just a few flurries possible late tonight but otherwise sunny and seasonable. High temperatures will be in the -5C range with lows overnight, chilly around -12C or so. The weather will be perfect for outdoor activities, assuming you can find some snow that does not have a half inch layer of ice on top of it. Or better yest skate, either here in Montreal at the Old Port or on the Rideau at Winterlude in Ottawa. Enjoy the weekend and be safe.

Thursday, February 02, 2012

Groundhog Day 2012

Nearly 18,000 people are waiting this morning for Phil's prediction in Pennsylvania. Photo

From Phil at 7:25am - shadow seen, six more weeks of winter.

We have made it to Groundhog Day 2012. I love the day, if nothing else it brings everyone into my weather circle for just a few moments. In reality the day goes back to the Festival of Candlemas which simply stated says, if it is sunny on February 2 six more weeks of winter, cloudy, an early spring. Either way as Canadians we win, 6 weeks would be an early spring. Now I know most of us in North America have had very little winter this year. However, as I walked my dog this morning around our ice encrusted neighborhood, I realized our winter has been pretty miserable. We have had bouts of very cold weather, punctuated with freezing rain every week and my yard has been snow covered since Christmas. So not a traditional winter, but winter just the same.

As we wait for predictions from Wiarton, Ontario and Punxsawtawney, Pennsylvania, I like the quote on Phil's accuracy via Inner Circle VP Mike Johnston, "He is not burdened with the necessity to be site specific". I guess we are, and yesterday was one of those days where location was everything. The best we could do in the temperature department in Montreal was -3C. This meant all our precipitation, about 6mm of it, fell as freezing rain. We had lots of ice and accidents to go along with it. In all we ended up with about 10cm of snow and 6mm of rain, but no mild air at all. One of the most difficult forecast situations here in the St. Lawrence Valley is predicting when a warm front will scour out the cold air at the surface. Some days it happens quickly, and others like yesterday, it does not happen at all. You had to head into Vermont and New York for that where Burlington reached 8C (47F). The cold air was just too dense to budge off the valley floor.

Wednesday, February 01, 2012

Icy morning

An icy start to the day on L'Ile Perrot (ValleyWX pic)

We are in the middle of a bad dream that never seems to want to end this winter. We have a major weather event underway this morning with freezing rain falling steadily in the city right during the morning commute. The ice has coated everything from cars to trees, and has slowed traffic to a crawl and closed schools.

To start, a freezing rain warning is in effect for southern Quebec and eastern Ontario. They have also been extended in the form of winter weather advisories for northeast New York and the US side of the St. Lawrence Valley. We managed around 9cm of snow yesterday in Montreal before it changed to freezing rain overnight, with about 2-5mm of ice forecast. The cold air remains well entrenched in the valley location with areas south of us already above freezing, nearly record setting. Here on L'Ile Perrot I am showing -5C, while in Burlington, Vermont it is plus 7C (46F) and 8C (48F) in Toronto. A warm front remains draped to the south of Montreal with very warm air to the south and cold air trapped to the north of the front. It may lift north of the region by late morning with precipitation tapering off. If we are lucky here in the city, the temperature may climb to plus 1C. The weather has resulted in the closure of numerous schools north of the city, delayed air travel at Trudeau and closed Highway 15 on the South Shore due to a major accident at this time.