Monday, September 29, 2014

Was that Indian Summer?

NOAA satellite image of the foliage bursting out in reds. oranges and yellows across the Adirondacks, Eastern Ontario and southern Quebec this weekend.
 What a spectacular weekend in Montreal by any standards, let alone late September. Montreal just missed a record high on Saturday as we reached 26C (79F) officially at Trudeau Airport. However most other locations around the city were between 26C and 29C (79-85F). The record for the date was 26.6C (80F) set in 2003. I recorded 27.7C (82F) at my home on L'Ile Perrot. Sunday was an exact replica of Saturday with warm sunshine, humid and a light breeze. The temperature again reached between 25-27C (77-81F). High pressure responsible for the summer like weather has drifted off the east coast this morning and a very weak backdoor cold front has settled across the St. Lawrence Valley with clouds and a few sprinkles. The temperature remains mild for this time of year, currently at 18C (65F) it will slowly drop as winds turn out of the northeast in the valley and increase up to 50km/h. The normal high is 16C (60F). We will have clouds tonight and again Tuesday with temperatures settling back to near normal. By Wednesday more sunshine and above normal temperatures will return lasting through Friday when a strong cold front will approach Montreal. No really cold air is on the horizon however as the jet stream remains well to our north keeping the arctic air where it belongs.

Indian Summer
Sure it was a perfect weekend, but was that Indian Summer? The broad definition of the term Indian Summer, dating back to 1700's New England, varies depending on which source you look at. It has many different definitions and interpretations. It is generally defined as a period of above normal temperatures with hazy skies and warm southerly winds at least here in southern Quebec. It  can last several days with temperatures well above normal, and typically occurs after the first frost. According to Native Americans it occurred very late in the fall season between November 11 and 20. However the National Weather Service in the US has it occurring anywhere between late September and middle November. There was a light frost in southern Quebec on September 19, and that was a three day period of well above normal temperatures, so we may have indeed just had Indian Summer. But it is still early in the fall season and if that was Indian Summer, I expect it will not be the last.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Spectacular Fall Weekend for Ontario & Quebec

L'Ile Perrot is starting to see the colours burst out. It will be a perfect weekend in Quebec and New England for checking out the foliage, picking apples or any outdoor activity. Enjoy it the showers and cooler weather return next week.
With the exception of overnight and early morning fog patches, it will be simply a spectacular weekend for late September. Strong high pressure will drift to our southeast allowing for a light southwesterly flow of warm air. The result will be wall to wall sunshine for the rest of Friday as well as the entire weekend. Temperatures will be well above normal with highs ranging from 25 to 27C (77-81F). The same forecast holds true for Ottawa, Toronto, Montreal and south into New York and New England. Overnight lows will be seasonable around 10C (50F) with fog developing in the typical spots.

Yesterday was a warm day right across the country with record heat in Manitoba and Saskatchewan in stark contrast to the snow and frost just 10 days ago. Estevan was the warmest place in the country at 34.4C (95F), while Assiniboia and Gravelbourg reached a record breaking 34C (94F). Regina and Moose Jaw broke records as well reaching 33C (92F). Cooler weather will arrive this weekend in western Canada and spread east by next week. Some showers will also arrive in our region by Monday.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

25th Anniversary of Hurricane Hugo - Carolinas to Montreal

Powerful Hurricane Hugo making landfall at midnight on September 22, 1989. Just 24 hours later, the storm would be near Ottawa and Montreal.
Long before hurricane Sandy, Irene, Juan, Katrina and Andrew, among other infamous storms, there was Hugo. Hurricane Hugo was a small but powerful Atlantic that developed off the coast of Africa on September 10, 1989 and moved rapidly across the northern Caribbean and into the Atlantic Basin. Hugo would reach Category 5 at his strongest, with winds over 260km/h. The storm took an odd approach to the coast, slamming into the low country of South Carolina, with 140mph winds at exactly midnight on September 22. Hugo was devastating, with a record storm surge of nearly 20 feet north of Charleston and south of Myrtle Beach. The infrastructure and dune system along the coast was demolished, from extreme southern North Carolina to northern Georgia. But hardest hit were the communities north of Charleston, where the surge virtually wiped the area clean. Forty-nine people lost there lives and a record (at the time) $7 billion dollars in damage was recorded.

Environment Canada map showing the path of tropical storm Hugo across eastern Canada. (Double click map for a closer look).
Quebec & Ontario
Inland Hugo was fast and furious, with winds that produced major damage from North Carolina towards the southern Great Lakes. The hill country of central and western North Carolina was hammered by high winds that leveled entire forests. Trees took out power lines and landed on homes and cars. Power was out for weeks as a result. Further north, Hugo entered southern Ontario late on September 22nd and moved rapidly from Kingston towards Ottawa and into the Laurentians. Montreal was on the warm south side of the storm. We had lots of wind, but little rain. In Toronto, 75km/h winds and 47mm of rain occurred, but only 11mm of rain in Montreal. The wind in Ontario cut power to thousands of homes. In southern Quebec, the storm arrived around midnight on Saturday, September 23rd, just 24 hours from South Carolina to Montreal. I was working for the Montreal Gazette at the time, driving in the Lasalle and Verdun area. It was a wild night, with winds gusting from 70-95km/h in the St Lawrence Valley and stronger on the south shore, 98km/h at St. Hubert. Numerous trees fell and power went out in over 13,000 homes in metro Montreal including my home in Verdun for 12 hours. Another feature of the storm was the warm tropical air that arrived with Hugo. Montreal, reached 29C (85F) on September 22nd, and it was still nearly 24C (76F) at midnight on the 23rd. But as the storm pushed through the region, the mercury fell rapidly and dropped to 5C (41F) by 11pm on the 23rd.

Hugo then affected New Brunswick, with a peak wind gust to 124km/h at Moncton. Power was out to nearly 15,000 New Brunswick homes. The 1989 apple crop took a beating, with much of the fruit stripped from the trees in New Brunswick. Heavy rain fell north of the track across Labrador and into Newfoundland. Hugo dissipated on September 25th.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Fall arrives at 10:29PM with perfect weather ahead

The growing season is not quite done for 2014. Despite the cold weather and frost this past week, I still have spectacular flowers growing on L'Ile Perrot.
The first day of Autumn 2014 is here after a rather warm and humid weekend in the St. Lawrence Valley. Temperatures were in the mid 20's with showers and even an isolated thunderstorm over the weekend. Not much rain fell in Montreal with 5.8mm here on L'Ile Perrot and officially 6.2mm at Trudeau Airport. It has been windy overnight with gusts over 50km/h across the island of Montreal. Much colder air has settled into southern Quebec this morning with the temperature down to 9C (48F). Expect a cloudy and windy day in Montreal with the temperature only gaining a degree or two. That is the bad news, the good news is we are in for a spectacular week of weather. Once the skies clear this evening, we will have nothing but sunshine right into next weekend. Along with the sun will be a period of very warm weather for late September. Expect temperatures to warm through the high teens into the mid 20's by next weekend a full 8-10 degrees above normal. Highs may even approach 27C (80F) in some locations next Saturday. After the drizzle this morning, no precipitation is forecast through the end of the week.

As mentioned the Fall Equinox occurs at 10:29pm EDT today. The Latin term equinox means equal night with the idea being that there is equally 12 hours of daylight and darkness today. From this point on the days become increasingly short as we head towards the winter solstice. In fact the sunrise today in Montreal is at 6:43am and sets at 6:52pm, so daylight is still winning for now with 12:08 minutes of daylight.

Friday, September 19, 2014

After the frost - a warmer weekend ahead

Not a very dramatic photo, but it does tell the story, frost on this last week of summer. The temperature dipped to 1C (33F) on L'Ile Perrot this morning with patchy frost around, two to three weeks ahead of the average date.
After we get the nonsense of this first frost out of the way, it looks like the weekend will be much warmer. Fall does not arrive until Monday but the geese are heading south this morning, and I wish I could join them. Temperatures under clear skies dropped quickly last night, but a northeast breeze saved us here in Montreal from widespread freezing temperatures. The low on L'Ile Perrot was 1C (33F) just after 4am. The mercury dropped to -1C (30F) in Cornwall, -3C (27F) in Kemptville, and a very cold -5C (23F) in St Jovite, 1 hour north of Montreal. There is patchy frost on the ground here in the city, and a coating of thin ice on some windshields including mine. Other regions around us were much colder as noted, with several hours of freezing temperatures including the Adirondacks, Laurentians, Townships and rural eastern Ontario. Lows in those regions ranged from 0 to -5C.

We will recover nicely today under sunny skies with highs near 14C (56F). Clouds will be on the increase tonight as a warm front moves into the St. Lawrence Valley. The front will bring scattered showers on Saturday, it will be windy and warmer with highs near 22C (72F). Most of the day will be dry and great for outdoor activities. By Sunday a cold front will bring more general showers, a wet and cloudy day can be expected, but it remain mild, near 22C.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Frost Advisory for Southern Quebec - NY & Vermont

Our average frost in Montreal typically does not happen until the first week of October on average. But here we are, the last week of summer 2014, and is it not fitting that we have a frost advisory in effect. The entire region is under the advisory with the exception of metro Montreal near the St. Lawrence River and the Richelieu River Valley. A cold front has slipped south of Montreal early this morning. The front produced between 4 and 5mm of rain overnight and now a stiff northerly wind will develop along with steady or slowly falling temperatures. The high here on L'Ile Perrot was 13C (55F) at midnight and we have been falling since. It is currently a chilly 9C (49F). Look for partly sunny skies today and clear skies tonight. Temperatures will fall tonight to around 0C (32F) in most regions of southern Quebec but as cold as -2 to -4C in the Townships and Laurentians. The same cold conditions can be expected in Eastern Ontario and northern New York and Vermont. Freeze and frost advisories/warnings are in effect in those areas as well. We will see sunshine on Friday with temperatures a little warmer, near 13C (55F). Low pressure will affect Montreal over the weekend with showers developing Saturday and lasting into Sunday. It will be much milder with temperatures near 20C (68F) both days.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Below normal temperatures to continue in Montreal

The sun breaks through the clouds early Sunday morning on Mount Washington, NH. It was a sign of the seasons as cold temperatures produce rime ice and there was even some freezing rain over the weekend.
This is the last full week of summer, but if you stepped outside at any point this weekend, you would think it has checked out already. It was a weekend more suited for mid-October, with cold temperatures, lots of cloud cover, and at times heavy rain on Saturday. Saturday produced 15-25mm of rain across southern Quebec, far more than I was expecting. What should have been spotty showers, turned into a deluge through the middle afternoon. I recorded 18mm here on L'Ile Perrot. The clouds and rain kept temperatures cool with highs near 13C (55F) well below the normal of 19C (66F). Sunday was a touch better, dry, but just as cold with highs near 11C (52F) and lows near 4C (39F).

We nearly had frost early this morning here on L'Ile Perrot with the temperature bottoming out at 2.8C at 3am. The coldest readings were observed across the Townships with several reports of 0C. Clouds and fog developed after that point helping the temperature to warm a few degrees to 7C where we sit now. The week looks rather unsettled but with a very slow warming trend, and by Saturday we should be back to normal, 20C. In the short term clouds today with some sunshine and much warmer highs of 17C (63F). Overnight will be milder but with showers developing that will persist into midday Tuesday. By Wednesday skies should clear out but it will be cool once again with high in the lower teens. The next risk for frost will come by early Thursday morning as lows again head towards 0C across southern Quebec and eastern Ontario.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

After the rain - cooler weather for Quebec & Ontario

Fire crews responded to hundreds of downed trees and power lines in Calgary on Wednesday. I really hate the idea of snow pictures on the blog in September but what can you do. Mother nature continues to shock southern Alberta with snow and cold weather. (CBC News)
While the temperature edged close to 27C (81F) in Montreal on Wednesday, snow fell once again across southwest Alberta, edging into parts of the Cypress Hills in Saskatchewan and south into Montana, Idaho, Wyoming and South Dakota. 
The freak snowstorm out west knocked down hundreds of trees in Calgary under the wight of nearly 20cm (8 inches) of wet snow. This was the second snowstorm in as many days with cold temperatures running as much as 20 degrees below normal. The downed trees in many cases took down power lines creating massive power outages across southwest Alberta. The power is slowly being restored. The snow has now spread south into Montana, with up to 1 foot of wet snow forecast in some localities today.

Meanwhile Montreal basked in warm sunshine, even a touch humid ahead of strong cold front that already started across the region this morning. That front brought clouds and showers overnight with about 7mm of rain here on L'Ile Perrot. Radar shows more showers off to the west in Ontario so the threat will remain into early afternoon before ending. Winds are picking up as well ahead of the cold front, out of the southwest up to 50km/h. They will gust to 70km/h in the St. Lawrence Valley by the middle afternoon and diminish this evening. The temperatures of 17 to 20C this morning will remain nearly stationary for most of the day perhaps gaining a degree or two if the sun pops out this afternoon. It will clear this evening with cool lows down to 8C (47F). Look for a fall like day Friday with partly cloudy skies and temperatures near 17C (63F).

On Wednesday the aforementioned cold front brought heavy rain and thunderstorms to southern Ontario. As much as 100mm (4 inches) of rain fell in Amherstburg, 64mm in Windsor, 67mm in London and 27mmm in Toronto.

The 9-11 Memorial in New York City. Please take time to remember today.

Tuesday, September 09, 2014

Perfect weather in Montreal - snow in Calgary

Crazy summer snow in Calgary on Monday as between 10-20cm of wet snow fell. More is forecast Tuesday night before a warming trend arrives. (The National Post).
While it was 25C (77F) with bright sunshine in Montreal on Monday, snow was falling across central and southern Alberta. Southern Quebec had a nearly perfect weather day, moderate temperatures, low humidity and bright sunshine. It was clear and calm overnight for viewing the full harvest moon, a super moon at that. The weather will hold today as high pressure crests over the region. Temperatures will once again warm to 25C. Clouds will begin to move into the region on Wednesday as a cold front approaches from the west. It will be windy with a steady rain and much cooler temperatures on Thursday, 18C (65F) before an October like air mass arrives for Friday into the weekend. Temperatures on the weekend will be down to 5 to 8C at night and only 16 to 18C during the day.

That same front produced a breezy, unseasonably cold day with snow on Monday in Alberta. Accumulations of 20cm was reported in northwest Calgary, 18cm fell at Bow Valley,  9cm at the airport in Calgary, while Edmonton had 2cm. Frost and cold temperatures followed the snow with Calagry at -1 (30F) this morning. Another Pacific front will bring more snow tonight across the foothills of Alberta. Environment Canada has posted another snowfall warning for the city of Calgary with a forecast 10-15cm possible from late Tuesday into Wednesday morning. Temperatures will range from -1 to 3C. A big warm up is forecast by the weekend with highs near 24C (76F) by Saturday!

Monday, September 08, 2014

Fall is in the air

A shot of lightning illuminates my otherwise very dark street at 10pm Friday night. The storms produced the most vivid lightning of the season here on L'Ile Perrot. (ValleyWX)
It was a decent Sunday across southern Quebec after a stormy Friday and wet Saturday. Around 20mm of rain fell here on L'Ile Perrot through Saturday afternoon, most of that in thunderstorm activity late Friday. Much less fell at Trudeau Airport with about 8mm. Friday was hot with temperatures between 31C and 33C (88-92F) in Montreal. The storms on Friday were intense at times with frequent lightning and gusty winds. Behind the front much cooler and dry air moved into the region with temperatures down to 10C (50F) by Sunday morning, and again this morning with patchy fog around. The start of the week looks perfect with seasonable temperatures and sunshine.

Looking ahead we see more of a fall like pattern developing across Canada as the week prevails. The warm and humid air has been pressed to the south and is being replaced by a northwest flow of cooler air here in Quebec. Temperatures through Wednesday will be around 24C (76F) for highs with cool nights down to 10C (50F). By Thursday a cold front will introduce showers and much colder air.

How cool will it get? Well this morning radar and traffic cameras across central and southwest Alberta are showing snow. Parts of west Edmonton into Spruce Grove are down to the freezing point with a slushy accumulation of snow, yes snow in the summer! The snow is falling on the back side of a low pressure area moving into Saskatchewan. Snow is forecast as far south as Calgary into this evening with 5cm possible. Across the foothills, warnings are in effect for up 15cm of wet snow from Banff to Jasper and west to the B.C border. Elsewhere frost and freezing temperatures will occur including in Saskatchewan where the harvest is well underway.

I don't expect it to get that cold in Montreal, but we will have single digit overnight lows by Friday and into next weekend with daytime highs only in the middle teens.

Friday, September 05, 2014

Hazy hot day - cooler weekend

Hearing from a few of my friends and colleagues that they are ready for fall. What? To each their own I suppose, but we clearly need more summer, it arrived late, it was just like that, and now it appears to be taking an early exit, especially across the west. Snow and frost across Alberta already this week with more cold weather in store for next week.

NOAA update showing the expected cold weather next week.

That being said we are in for a very warm day with near record breaking warmth in Quebec and we should see some new records posted in Ontario. Temperatures are already in the mid 20's and we are looking at 29 to 33C (85-92F) for most regions. The record high for Montreal is 33.3C set in 2008, we have an outside chance of it in the city but the airport has been notoriously cool this summer, as already stated in previous blogs, so just reaching 30C (86F) at Trudeau may be a lofty goal. It will also be windy today out of the southwest ahead of the sharp cold front, gusting to 60km/h in the St. Lawrence Valley. The forecast heat and humidity has prompted warnings across southwest Ontario and special weather statements here in Quebec. Humidex values may approach 40C by this afternoon.

Sunshine and humidity will build, with increasing clouds by late in the day. Thunderstorms will develop along that potent cold front later this afternoon in Ontario and across Quebec by late this evening. Some of the storms may be severe in Ontario. On Saturday, skies will slowly clear and it will be much cooler with highs of 21C (70F). Sunday looks sunny and seasonable with overnight lows of  10C (50F) and highs near 22C (72F).

Thursday, September 04, 2014

Enjoy the last few days of real warmth in Quebec

Snow fell yesterday across the foothills of southwest Alberta.
There are signs that summer really is coming to an end, at least across portions of Canada. A windy and wet low pressure area moving across southern Alberta and Saskatchewan has borough much cooler air in its wake with frost across Alberta and even snow. The snow fell yesterday across the highest elevations of the southwest foothills with snow covering the roads at Highwood Pass, Alberta. Elsewhere it was a cold rain with 35-50mm falling across the southern portion of the province into Saskatchewan. That low pressure and associated fronts will move east arriving in Ontario and Quebec by the weekend. Until then it will be sunny and warm with high temperatures from 28 to 30C (83-86F) and overnight lows of 17-20C (63-68F).
By Saturday it will be much cooler, only around 20C with a good chance of showers and thunderstorms all day. The above 80F (27C) weather of the next two days may likely be the last ones of the season for Montreal. We will have to see, but at this time it is looking like more seasonable weather is on the way.

The stats are in for August at it was not as dreary a month as it seemed at times. Granted we officially had no 30C days at Trudeau Airport in Dorval, but we still managed a 20.3C average temperature, which is slightly above normal. Here at Valley Weather on L'Ile Perrot, I recorded 20.2C for the monthly average. Rainfall was 85.2mm at Dorval and 80mm at my home, both below the normal of 94.1mm. We had zero 30C days at the airport, the normal is 2.5 days. On average we manage 9.3 such days a summer, but this year only 4 days so far. I noticed that Trudeau Airport has a nasty habit of reaching 28 or 29C and staying there for hours. The airport had 5 days at 29C, many of those were actually over 30C at my house or elsewhere on the Island of Montreal. I had 9 days just in August at or above 30C. Gusty winds off Lake St. Louis and the wide open green space surrounding the airport seem to keep it cooler there.

Tuesday, September 02, 2014

Warm start to September

It is back to school today for everybody as the summer of 2014 officially draws to a close. Despite that, Montreal and the eastern third of North America remain entrenched in a very warm and humid air mass. Daytime temperatures were above 27C (80F) all weekend along with elevated humidity making it feel like late July. About 11mm of rain occurred over the weekend on L'Ile Perrot with amounts varying from nothing to as much as 50mm depending on which thunderstorm you were under. The storms here on L'Ile Perrot occurred in the wee hours of Sunday morning with lots of thunder and lightning but little else. Still a welcome sight for storm watchers who have had very little action in metro Montreal this summer. There may be more thunderstorms this afternoon and this evening as a cold front cuts into this sultry air. The best change for storms will be around the middle of the afternoon from the St. Lawrence Valley west and this evening into the Townships and areas along the US border. Highs today will be warm again, near 27C (81F) with lows tonight down to a mild 16C (61F). Wednesday through Friday look warm still with highs of 25 to 28C (77-82F) and lots of sunshine. Showers and storms may develop again late Friday and into Saturday.

NOAA image of tropical storm Dolly in the southern Gulf of Mexico this morning. Dolly will move into Mexico late today.
The fourth system of the hurricane season has developed in the southern Gulf of Mexico west of the Yucatan. Tropical storm Dolly with 45mph winds is located about 350km east of Tampico, Mexico. The storm is expected to remain rather weak and move inland along the Mexican coast late today. Heavy rain, from 6-10 inches and gusty winds along with a modest rise in water along the immediate coastline are forecast at this time. Dolly will remain south of the Texas coast. Even weak tropical systems have the potential to produce dangerous flash flooding, and Dolly is no different.