Thursday, December 31, 2015

Winter is here to stay in Quebec & Ontario

The big clean-up is underway after the 40 plus centimetres of snow that have fallen on Montreal over the last 72 hours. New Year's Eve is looking much different in Montreal than Christmas Eve did.
A very happy and healthy New Year to all my readers, family and friends. I wish everyone all the best in 2016. Be good to each other.

Our record warm December is now a memory as winter weather takes hold across southern Quebec. December 2015 will likely go down as the warmest on record for Montreal. The data is not complete, but through December 30th, Trudeau Airport had a daily average high of 4.8C (40F), the normal should be -1.4C (29F). The overnight lows were astonishingly warm with an average -1.2C (29F), the normal should have been -9.3C (15F). Overall we managed a 1.8C (35F) average temperature, with the normal being -5.4C (22F). Oddly enough, even with all that warm air, as a result of the last 72 hours at Trudeau Airport, the city will come close to the December average for snowfall which is 48.9cm. As of late last night we had 47.6cm at Trudeau Airport in Dorval.

More light snow is forecast today, mixed at times with freezing drizzle as we are in a stagnant air mass. Fog has formed as well with some icy spots on area highways. It will be a very mild New Year's Eve with a high near 0C (32F). Mild air will last into the weekend with snow at times through Sunday. While there may be an occasional burst of steady snow, we are not looking at a huge amount, perhaps 5-10cm through Sunday evening. It will be a mild start to 2016 but turn much colder late Sunday with the passage of an arctic front. Overnight lows by Monday morning may be colder than -18C (0F) for the first time this winter. While we may see some milder days in January, the trend at this time looks much colder with temperatures finally settling back to normal values.

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

After the record warmth - record snowfall?

From spring to mid-winter in a weekend. Heavy snow falls on L'Ile Perrot Tuesday afternoon. (ValleyWX Photo)
Depending where you were across the island of Montreal and Laval on Tuesday, you may or may not have broken the 24-hour snowfall record for December 29th. The record for the date was 30.5cm set in 1954. According to Environment Canada's website, 39cm (15.5 inches) of snow fell at Trudeau Airport, making it one of the top five December storms. However, I measured around 28cm (11 inches) here on L'Ile Perrot, so the validity of the record is in question as far as I am concerned. Winds gusted to over 80km/h in the St. Lawrence Valley, so the exact measurement of the snowfall was difficult at best. Adding to the difficulty was the presence of freezing rain and sleet along the St. Lawrence River, which affected final snow totals from location to location.

Record or not, this has been one bizarre weather month. After being above freezing for the first 27 days of the month, with multiple record highs and only 2-3cm of snow, the last two days have presented mid-winter conditions with lots of ice and snow and biting cold. The storm created numerous delays and cancellations at Trudeau Airport, along with hundreds of accidents on area highways. Holiday traffic was much lighter than normal in Montreal, which helped the traffic flow despite the snow. The cold weather is here to stay with more light snow forecast into New Year's Day. High temperatures will be around 0C (32F) through Friday, with lows down to -8C (18F).

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

First snowstorm blasts Montreal

Strong winds and snow have turned L'Ile Perrot into a winter wonderland this morning. (ValleyWX Photo)
A winter storm warning remains in effect today for metro Montreal and southern Quebec. Warnings are also in place for eastern Ontario and New England. Snow, freezing rain, sleet and thunderstorms are impacting road and air travel across a wide swath of eastern North America.

Montreal has already measured 10cm of snow overnight as winter has returned to Quebec with a vengeance. Strong northeast winds are blowing the snow around making travel difficult at times. The wind reached as high as 72km/h at Trudeau Airport overnight. Low pressure responsible for this storm is near Lake Huron this morning and will move east across southern Quebec. Snow and sleet will continue most of the day, along with gusty winds up to 70km/h and cold temperatures. Montreal is currently -11C (12F) with a windchill of -21C (-6F). I believe the really mild air with this system will remain south of Montreal. By comparison, Toronto has light rain at 2C this morning.

Expect accumulations in Montreal through this evening to be in the 20-30cm range. Milder air will return on Wednesday with cloudy skies and a high of 0C (32F).

Monday, December 28, 2015

Winter storm warning for Montreal


Winter Storm Warning in effect for metro Montreal, southern Quebec and eastern Ontario. Travel NOT recommended on Tuesday.

The first big winter storm of the season is poised to affect southern Ontario and Quebec starting later today. A potent storm system over the southern US will move towards the Great Lakes while a second storm forms along the east coast. Both systems will push an area of precipitation northward into the St. Lawrence Valley. We had a early taste of winters return on Sunday as snow and freezing rain created slick travel. Numerous cars slid off Highway 10 east of Montreal last evening. Around 5-10cm of snow and ice fell in Montreal Sunday.

Heavy snow and blizzard conditions forced closure of a wide swath of Interstate 40 in New Mexico on Sunday. The governor declared a state of emergency after heavy snow and strong winds left thousands stranded.
After the passage of the first system on Sunday, there is plenty of cold air in place this morning. Monday will be the coldest day of December in Montreal, with the temperature remaining below freezing for the first time this month. We can expect cold north winds and a high of only -7C (20F). Snow will begin overnight in Montreal and become heavy at times by Tuesday morning. The snow will mix with sleet and freezing rain along the US border by noon on Tuesday. Winds will increase from the northeast 30-50km/h in Montreal and Ottawa producing blowing snow. Accumulations will range from 15-20cm in Montreal, up to 35cm north of the city and around 15cm along the New York/Vermont border. Widespread warnings are now in effect across the entire region, unnecessary travel is not advised on Tuesday. The high on Tuesday in the snow will be -5C (23F) in Montreal. Conditions will improve by early Wednesday along with a milder high of 0C (32F) behind the storm.

This same system has been deadly over the last 48 hours. Over two dozen deaths have occurred from blizzards in New Mexico, tornadoes in Texas and severe flooding in parts of Arkansas and Missouri.

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Freezing rain and snow as winter weather returns

Freezing Rain Warning posted for southern Quebec and eastern Ontario.

Less than 48 hours after our summery Christmas Eve, winter is making a major comeback. Freezing rain is falling this morning along the 401 corridor from Kingston into metro Montreal. North of Montreal snow and sleet are falling. A wide range of warnings are in effect, so if you plan to travel, do so with great care. For many, this is the first winter weather this season. Temperatures in Montreal are just below the freezing point this morning making for slippery travel. The freezing rain should change to snow today with the temperature steady near -1C (30F). Skies will briefly clear this evening with cold overnight lows near -10C (14F). Another storm will approach southern Quebec for late Monday and Tuesday. I will post more on that weather once today's system clears out.

A terrifying video capture of a deadly tornado in the Dallas metro region late Saturday.
The storm causing our return to winter is an area of low pressure lifting north into the Great Lakes. This system has been deadly with multiple tornadoes occurring Saturday night in the Dallas metro region. At least 11 fatalities were reported, 5 alone in Garland, Texas. Meanwhile in west Texas, New Mexico and Oklahoma, blizzard conditions were reported. Along the frontal boundary associated with the storm, freezing rain is occurring in an narrow band from the southern US plains to the St. Lawrence Valley. Major flooding has been occurring across the Mississippi Valley from this same storm.

Saturday, December 26, 2015

Winter returns to southern Quebec and Ontario

Strong winds blew over this bus shelter in Verdun on Christmas Eve. Damage was reported across the island of Montreal and into Laval along with numerous power outages. (Photo Megan Branton)
Today will mark the 26th consecutive day with temperatures above the freezing point in Montreal, and we are likely about to record our warmest December on record. On Christmas Eve, the temperature reached 17C (63F) in Montreal, crushing the previous record of 8.3C set in 1957. It was just 1 degree below the warmest December day ever in Montreal, 18C (65F) set on December 6, 2001. It was as warm as 21C (70F) in St. Anicet and Lancaster southwest of Montreal. Along with the warmth came winds in excess of 90km/h. The winds cut power to over 150,000 homes in southern Quebec, and some still have not had their electricity restored. The gusty winds also toppled trees and knocked over carports and bus shelters. Portions of several downtown streets were closed after debris came off buildings.

WINTER RETURNS
Our attention now turns to the inevitable return of winter. We have two systems that will affect us this week with snow and freezing rain. If you have travel plans, you need to be prepared for winter weather in Ontario and Quebec this week. After a sunny Boxing Day, clouds will be on the increase tonight. A warm front and low pressure system will push clouds and snow into Montreal after midnight. We can expect a good 5-10cm of snow before in mixes with freezing rain by Sunday morning. A freezing rain warning has been posted for eastern Ontario including Ottawa. Travel will be poor tonight and early Sunday across the entire region. Temperatures will be near the freezing point today into Sunday. On Monday high pressure will briefly clear out the region along with the coldest air of the month, a low near -12C (10F) and a high near -9C (15F).

By late Monday and Tuesday, a more complex and stronger system will affect Ontario, Quebec and New England with our first real winter storm of the season. Right now we can expect 10-20cm (4 to 8 inches) of snow, mixed with sleet and freezing rain along the US border. The snow would start after midnight Monday and last well into Tuesday. I will provide more details on this storm in later posts.

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Tornadoes & record warmth

Special Weather Statement for southern Quebec today for winds up to 80km/h.

A strong tornado moves across central Mississippi on Wednesday. (WREG TV)
As expected, Montreal has established a new record high for December 24th at 12C (54F) so far this morning. In fact, we broke the record just after midnight, eclipsing the previous of 8.3C set in 1957. Both Toronto and Ottawa are among hundreds of other locations across eastern North America that have already set new record highs for Christmas Eve, before daylight even breaks.

That is the good news. The bad news is all this wacky warm weather has lead to severe weather across the southern and central US. The last 24 hours have been deadly, with at least 6 fatalities and scores more injured across Mississippi, Alabama and Tennessee north into Indiana and southern Illinois. Strong thunderstorms produced long-lasting large tornadoes. Cars and trucks were blown off interstates and numerous homes were destroyed by the large twisters. One storm in Holly Springs, Mississippi produced massive damage with 4 fatalities. More severe weather is possible today from the Carolinas to Georgia.

The low pressure responsible for this severe weather is lifting north across the western Great Lakes with a cold front sliding into the warm, humid air across the east coast. In Montreal, we can expect showers today with winds increasing to 50-80km/h by this afternoon. Temperatures will warm to 16C (61F) before falling back down to the single digits this evening behind the cold front. Christmas Day at this time looks bright and cooler with a high of 5C (41F).

Montreal Snowstorm Update
What a difference 24 hours can make in the long-term forecast. It now looks like we may have our first winter storm of the season in southern Quebec by next Tuesday. The details need to be worked out and forecast models are presenting several different scenarios. At this time, it looks like we'll have much colder weather with some form of wintry precipitation Tuesday into Wednesday. If you have travel plans play close attention to future forecasts. I will update word on the potential for this storm throughout the holiday weekend.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Warm and windy Christmas Eve forecast for Montreal

New season, same weather. December through the years has provided Montreal with many different types of weather, but none quite like 2015. With at least 3 record highs in the month and perhaps the warmest overnight lows ever for December, it will rank up there as one of our warmest. This is in sharp contrast to previous years including December 2012 shown above. (ValleyWX Photo)
Strong low pressure lifting into the western Great Lakes, along with high pressure anchored off the east coast will provide southern Quebec with the warmest Christmas Eve on record. The record for the date in Montreal is 8.3C (48F) set in 1957, this will be shattered with a forecast high of 16C (61F) expected in Montreal for Thursday. Hundreds of record highs will likely fall from the eastern Great Lakes to Atlantic Canada and down the east coast of the US.

Before then, we have fog and showers to deal with today. Dense fog this morning stretches across southern Ontario into southern Quebec and New England. A fog advisory has been issued by Environment Canada. The fog should lift by the late morning with a breezy, mild day expected and a high of 7C (45F). Temperatures will continue to rise overnight with the record likely being broken before the sun even comes up on Thursday. Christmas Eve will  be very windy with showers and perhaps even a rumble of thunder. Temperatures fall in the evening with lows expected near the freezing point by Christmas morning. At this time Christmas Day looks partly sunny and cooler with a high of 5C (41F), still well above the normal high of -4C (25F).

Storm next week?
We can expect an active and colder weather pattern to begin taking shape early next week. Several stronger winter storms are forecast to develop in the southern US, moving northeast and affecting the the Midwest and Great Lakes. We have several chances for precipitation at this time. It is early, but we may be looking at a snow and rain mix with perhaps and extended period of freezing rain late Monday and Tuesday. It is also possible that the mild air will win over once again and it will fall as rain. I will post much more on that scenario tomorrow.

Monday, December 21, 2015

Warmest Christmas Eve on record for Montreal

We are about to experience the warmest Christmas Eve on record here in Montreal, most of eastern Canada, and up and down the  east coast of the US. (AccuWeather)
I hope you enjoyed our brief taste of winter this past weekend because it is going to turn very warm this week in Montreal. Sunday was the coldest day of December in Montreal with a high of 0.0C (32F), technically not above freezing but still well above normal. That makes 20 days now without a high below the freezing point. Lake effect snow managed to work its way into southern Quebec and New England on Saturday with a trace to 1cm here in Montreal, but up to 5cm south of the city along the US border and into northern New York and Vermont. A rash of accidents occurred as drivers did not adjust to the sudden change in weather. Winds were strong and temperatures much colder than we have experienced.
The brief winter weather this weekend caused numerous accidents, including this one on I-89 south near St. Albans, Vermont. The drivers were not hurt as this Brinks truck hit the ditch. (WCAX TV Photo)
Record warmth for Christmas
It is back to warm weather this week as high pressure moves off the east coast and pumps warm and moist air north into the region. High temperatures today will be around 4C (40F), but warm to 7C (45F) Tuesday and then 15 to 30 degrees above normal by Christmas Eve. The high in Montreal is expected to be around 15C (59F) on the 24th which would shatter the record of 8.3C (47F) set in 1957. All up and down the east coast previous record highs are forecast to tumble. From Washington to New York City, Toronto to Burlington, Vermont and here in Montreal highs will range from 15C to as warm as 22C (60-72F). As a result no snow is expected this week with just some rain today and again Thursday. This will be the second consecutive green Christmas for Montreal. It will not turn colder again until Boxing Day.

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Lake effect snow followed by more record warmth

Lake effect snow is falling this morning in Boonville, New York south of Watertown. Heavy snow will produce 1 to 2 feet (30-60cm) in narrow bands downwind of the Great Lakes today into Sunday. Avoid travel south on Interstate 81 from the Thousand Islands to Syracuse today if possible. (NWS Binghampton)
The coldest air mass of December is sweeping across eastern North America this morning with temperatures at or below freezing. Along with the cold air is a swath of lake effect snow and flurries that is impacting portions of Ontario, around Georgian Bay and Lake Huron, as well as the traditional snow belts of western New York. Elsewhere, it will be a chilly and blustery day with northwest winds up to 50km/h in Montreal, and steady temperatures of 0C (32F). A few flurries are possible today with perhaps a dusting of snow in some locations. Closer to lakes Erie and Ontario, 1 to 2 feet of lake effect snow is possible south of Watertown, NY along Interstate 81, as well as south of Buffalo along I-90. Despite the colder air, Montreal already had a high temperature today of 2C (36F), the 19th consecutive day above freezing. On Sunday expect partly cloudy skies in Montreal with early morning lows near -9C (16F) and daytime highs of -1C (30F).

Green Christmas
Very warm weather will return early next week guaranteeing Montreal and the entire region a green Christmas. Temperatures will be well above normal with near record highs of plus 7 to 10C (45 to 50F) forecast by Christmas Eve. Along with the warm air will be the threat for rain on Monday and again by Thursday. Whether it is raining or not, the entire week will be mostly cloudy. The mild air is forecast to last at least until the end of the month in southern Quebec.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Warm weather and rain for Christmas in Ontario & Quebec

More record high temperatures are expected as we head into the Christmas break next week. (AccuWeather)
What more can you say about this month, you are living through what will likely be the warmest December on record for Montreal, dating back to 1871. As of yesterday, the average daily high for the first 15 days of the month was 6.1C (43F), the normal average high should have been -1.4C (29F). The overnight lows are even more dramatic with the first 15 days of this month having an average low of 0.6C (33F), yes above freezing. The normal average low should be -9.3C (15F). Snowfall has been negligible with only 0.2cm recorded at Trudeau Airport. We have spent the last 15 days above freezing during the day and will likely spend the next 16 as well. I see no real threat for cold air or snow until January. We are actually looking at what could be the warmest Christmas period ever for numerous locations in eastern Canada and along the east coast of the US. A white Christmas is unlikely for anybody east of the Mississippi Valley. The snow that fell in Atlantic Canada over the last 24 hours should melt quickly.

We could have been even warmer the last 48 hours, but a stubborn northeast wind in the St. Lawrence Valley held temperatures down around 4C here in Montreal. You did not have to go far south to see record warmth in the low to middle teens. The balance of this week will be mild with rain developing on Thursday as low pressure moves towards James Bay. The weekend will be slightly cooler behind the system with perhaps a few flurries Saturday. The cooler air will be short lived with high pressure pumping more warm air north next week. Temperatures by Christmas Eve could be over 10C (50F) for Montreal. No snow is forecast next week.

Monday, December 14, 2015

Another mild - wet week ahead for Montreal

In this winter of the El Nino, snow is falling in unlikely southern locations such as western Oklahoma (above), while Montreal, Toronto, Buffalo, and Burlington, Vermont have had none. (AccuWeather Photo)
The warning for freezing rain has now ended for metro Montreal, however if you are travelling towards Quebec City or points north and east, it remains in effect.

Expect the same weather for the upcoming week that we had last week in Montreal. A storm system this morning over the central US plains is pushing a warm front across southern Quebec. Warm air will surge into Montreal today with high temperatures eventually reaching close to the record of 9.9C set in 2006 by this evening. It is however a damp and chilly morning here on L'Ile Perrot with drizzle and a current temperature of 2C (36F). Our string of very mild days continues, now at 14, as we have not had a high temperature below freezing since November 30th.

This trend will continue this week with mild air and plenty of rain. Two systems will affect Montreal, the first this evening and then another by Thursday. Steady rain and gusty winds can be expected Monday night into Tuesday morning. By Thursday, more rain is forecast, while in between expect lots of cloud cover with temperatures well above normal. Cooler air and perhaps a little snow will try to move into the Great Lakes, eastern Ontario and southern Quebec behind the second low late Friday.

On Sunday, December 13, heavy snow and blizzard conditions occurred once again in portions of west Texas and Oklahoma. This is the second big winter storm for this area with some locations reporting over 25cm (10 inches) of snow. Snow also fell across interior B.C. into southern Alberta and Saskatchewan where cooler air is now expected right up to Christmas Day.

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Freezing rain expected in Ottawa & north of Montreal

Freezing rain warnings have been issued by Environment Canada for most of eastern Ontario, western and southern Quebec.
Environment Canada has issued a freezing rain warning for the Laurentians, Ottawa Valley and eastern Ontario excluding, at this time, metro Montreal and points south to the US border. Up to 10mm of ice is expected in those regions included in the warning.
A warm front lifting across southern Quebec this evening and overnight will produce an area of rain and freezing rain. Temperatures will be marginally cool in Montreal today leading to spotty freezing rain after dark Sunday. Further north and west, there is a greater chance of freezing rain, especially along the north shore of Montreal, into the Laurentians and Ottawa Valley. Travel may be slick in spots tonight. All precipitation should change to rain early Monday from south to north, as temperatures warm well above 0C.

Friday, December 11, 2015

Record high for Montreal

It will remain very mild in eastern Canada through Christmas Day. The storm track will keep the colder air and snow form the central Great Lakes west. (AccuWeather)
Trudeau Airport reached 7.2C (45F) on Wednesday breaking a record established in 1966. As an encore the city reached 9.9C (50F) on Thursday breaking a 63 year old record of 9.4C from 1952. Today will likely be another record breaker as we are forecasting a high of 11C (52F). The record to break is 9.4C, also from 1952. Clouds and perhaps a few showers will be around most of the day along with windy conditions. Southwest winds ahead of a weather system moving across the Great Lakes, will reach up to 50km/h.

Looking ahead we can expect a mild weekend with mostly cloudy skies. A period of rain is possible to start next week with perhaps some freezing rain Monday night. I am not expecting any snow at this time as it will remain very mild. Above freezing temperatures are likely in Montreal right up to at least December 20th. The snow drought continues with only 2.2cm measured at Trudeau Airport for the season. Winter will try to make a comeback in southern Quebec and Ontario between Christmas and New Years with perhaps some snow and colder weather occurring. However, it has looked this way in the extended forecast before this year, only to have the milder pattern win out as we drew closer to the actual date. Of note, if the daytime highs remain above freezing every day in the month of December, this will be the first time this has occurred in Montreal since weather records began at McGill University in 1871.

Wednesday, December 09, 2015

Near record warmth expected to end week in Quebec

Record warmth is forecast into eastern Canada this weekend. (AccuWeather)
Our very mild December weather is expected to continue into this weekend for Montreal. What is most unusual about this current warm spell is that we are even staying above freezing at night. In the first 9 days of December, Montreal has only been below freezing at night on four of those days. Only December 1st had a low even close to normal at -7C (19F); the normal should be -9C (16F). Daytime highs have been mild, but plenty of low cloud cover have kept the temperatures from breaking any records. That may change Thursday through Sunday, as we can expect highs as warm as 9C (48F). Most of the eastern third of North America will see high temperatures 10 to 20 degrees above normal. Instead of worrying about snow and ice, portions of the central and southern US will be watching out for flooding and severe thunderstorms this weekend.

Partly sunny skies will prevail in Montreal today, but the trend has been for more clouds than sun this week. The high temperature will be 5C (41F) with a low of 3C (38F). Low pressure will then develop over the western US and head towards the central Great Lakes on Friday. If the track sounds familiar, that is because every storm this fall has done the same thing. This system will produce warm, gusty southwest winds and a few showers for southern Quebec, along with very mild temperatures into this weekend. By Sunday, deeper moisture arrives from the Gulf of Mexico, with another round of rain forecast. At this time, colder air will try to arrive by around the 20th of the month. It may be just cold enough for a little snow before Christmas, but that is still just a sliver of hope.

Last year the first snowstorm of 2014/2015 was just starting in Montreal. The 48 hour storm would dump over 30cm on the city. However just a week later mild weather would melt all the snow before Christmas giving Montreal a green holiday.

Sunday, December 06, 2015

This may be the best December ever - if you don't like snow

My former Publisher at the Gravelbourg Tribune in southern Saskatchewan sent me this picture of Santa sitting on dry ground. Even normally snowy Saskatchewan is void of snow this December. (Photo: P. Boisvert - Tribune)
It is another mild December morning on L'Ile Perrot, at 3C (39F). I washed my car in the driveway yesterday as did many of my neighbours and walked the dog this morning in a jacket normally reserved for October. No matter how you look at it, this is one mild month. Expect more of the same this week, with dry, mild weather through late week. Daytime highs will range from 3 to 7C (39 to 45F) with mild overnight lows of -3C to plus 4C (27 to 41F). Next week looks even warmer.

So far in Montreal, the first 12 hours of December were below freezing, but it has been above the 0C mark ever since. From coast to coast Canadians are enjoying the mild effects of one of the strongest El Nino's on record. The cold air is trapped across the far north. But even there it is not as cold as usual. In Churchill, Manitoba, the Polar Bear Capital of North America,  Friday was the warmest December 4th on record with a high of -2.4C. Numerous daytime record highs were broken from the far west into Ontario. The overnight lows have been just as mild with Montreal dropping only to 5C (41F) Friday night, the normal should be -9C (16F) with a normal daytime high of -1C (30F). The warmer than normal start to December has meant any precipitation that falls has been in the liquid form with only 0.2cm of snow falling at Trudeau Airport in Dorval.

If you like snow, you are out of luck. Looking ahead the entire month looks warm with the unprecedented possibility of every daytime high being above freezing in Montreal. How rare is this? I looked back at the data for Trudeau Airport as far back as 1941 and no December has ever been entirely above freezing for daytime highs. I am still looking at the McGill University weather records which date back to 1871. This is truly a rare event. So prepare yourselves for a green Christmas, because if I was a betting man, I would say that is where the odds lie.

Wednesday, December 02, 2015

New month - same weather for southern Quebec

Freezing rain, rain and fog made for slick travel across the region from Kingston to Quebec City on Tuesday and Wednesday. Some wet snow is possible on Thursday.
 The month has changed but the weather remains the same across southern Quebec and eastern Ontario. A strong El Nino in the Pacific Ocean off South America is creating havoc with the weather patterns over North America. November was an extremely mild month in Montreal, the average temperature at Trudeau Airport was 4.4C, the normal is 1.6C. We had only two daytime highs below the freezing point, and that was in the last week. Snowfall was a paltry 2.2cm, the lowest since 2006. The average overnight low was just below freezing at -0.1C. The average daytime high, a very warm 8.7C.

As December begins, mild air this week has produced freezing rain and rain rather than snow. Some cooler air will try to work into southern Quebec behind the current storm, perhaps with a little wet snow Thursday. A pronounced west to east jet stream will result in the cold air remaining trapped over northern Canada. Just a few pockets of arctic air will slide southeast over the month, impacting mainly portions of eastern Quebec and Atlantic Canada. The trend for Montreal at this time looks very mild with high temperatures at or above freezing through Christmas. There may be a couple of opportunities for snow, but the likelihood of it staying on the ground looks slim at this time.

Monday, November 30, 2015

Another mild week ahead for Montreal & southern Quebec

While Montreal and southern Quebec remain relatively mild and dry, snow and ice created havoc in the southern and central plains. Ten fatalities were reported and hundreds of thousands are without power from west Texas through Oklahoma and Iowa. (Photo from power utility twitter@PSOklahoma)
Anyone wishing for snow for the holiday season in Montreal may be out of luck. Don't be fooled by the very cold start this morning, we are looking at another mild week in the St. Lawrence Valley. L'Ile Perrot is currently -9.1C (16F), under clear skies. High pressure will dominate today into Tuesday with sunshine and moderating temperatures. The high today will remain below freezing at -1C (30F), but that may be the last cold day for some time to come.

On Tuesday, mild air will stream northward with a high near 5C (41F), as yet another storm takes aim at the central Great Lakes. This track places Montreal once again on the warm side of the system. While snow and ice are forecast from the southern plains into Minnesota and northwest Ontario, increasing clouds and showers can be expected in Montreal from late Tuesday through mid-week. Looking ahead into December, I see no cold air or snow through at least the 10th of the month and perhaps even longer, right up to Christmas Day. At this time, we are looking at the real possibility of a green Christmas this year. Time will tell. I will take a look back at what was a very warm and dry November in tomorrows blog.

Saturday, November 28, 2015

El Nino...record high for Montreal - ice storm for Texas

A spectacular shot of the effects of freezing rain from Oklahoma. 
(Twitter Photo @KOCOBrad)
The crazy fall weather continues to unfold as we head into the holiday season. On Friday, Montreal recorded a record high of 14.7C (58F) beating the old record of 14.4C (57F) set in 1976. This occurring during the same week we had our first snowfall. Along with the warmth came about 14mm of rain and just a trace of snow late last night. It was just too warm yesterday for any appreciable snow to fall last evening. The weekend looks fair and cooler with near normal daytime highs around 0C (32F) and cold overnight lows down around -7C (19F). It should remain dry through Monday.

While Montreal and southern Quebec were warm, cold air surging through the middle portion of North America produced a wide area of snow and freezing rain from the northern Rockies into the southern Plains. West Texas, Oklahoma and Kansas were under an ice storm warning with over 15mm (0.5") of freezing rain. The rain coated trees, power lines and roads resulting in numerous accidents and at least 5 deaths. Power was out to thousands across the Texas and Oklahoma panhandles during the busy US Thanksgiving Holiday. More freezing rain is forecast today as moisture surges north from tropical storm Sandra entering Mexico from the Pacific Ocean. It has been just a bizarre fall!

Friday, November 27, 2015

Colder weather returns with a little snow for Montreal

Much cooler air will move into Montreal tonight, but it will still be near normal for late November.
It is a very mild morning in Montreal, almost in record high territory already this early in the day. The current temperature here on L'Ile Perrot is 12.4C down form 13.8C in the wee hours. The record for today is 14.4C (57F) set in 1976, the normal high should be a chilly 1C (33F). Trudeau Airport is currently at 9C (48F). The high for the day should be around 13C, this should occur during the middle hours of the day. Afterwards a strong arctic cold front will sweep the St. Lawrence Valley with rapidly dropping temperatures and a period of steady rain ending as some snow or flurries. That changeover should occur in Montreal this evening after 9pm and leave a trace to 2cm around the region.

Until then expect a cloudy, breezy and mild Friday with a few showers. Tonight will be cloudy with flurries and much colder with an overnight low down to -5C in the city, colder north and west. Roads will be be icy in spots so be prepared if you are out late tonight or early Saturday. The balance of the weekend will be dominated by high pressure with sunshine and seasonable temperatures, highs near 0C (32F) and overnight lows down to -7C (19F). No major storms on the horizon as well as no big cold spells. Our El Nino fall and winter continues.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

The snow will melt - warm end to the week in Montreal

Long lines of traffic formed on L'Ile Perrot on Tuesday morning from just a 2cm snowfall. The snow and ice caused dozens of accidents as many motorists decided to wait to put on their winter tires.
The first snowflakes of fall 2015 fell on Montreal Tuesday, with close to 2cm here on L'Ile Perrot. The surprise snow and cold overnight temperatures were enough to ice over highways across the region. This, combined with a general lack of snow tires or rusty winter driving skills, produced dozens of accidents. The result was traffic gridlock in Montreal. My morning commute typically takes 40 minutes, but on Tuesday it stretched to over 2 hours. While the timing and quantity of the snow was a wee bit of a surprise, the fact that winter has arrived should not be to anyone who has lived in Montreal. We get snow every November, get ready for more!

Rain changing to snow late Friday
The weather is much quieter this morning as high pressure crests over southern Quebec. It is a very cold morning with the snow cover providing ideal radiational cooling. L'Ile Perrot dropped to -9C (16F) early this morning. Sunshine and south winds will help the high temperature rebound to 5C (41F) this afternoon. This is the start of a two-day period of well-above normal temperatures. I expect the high on Thursday and Friday to exceed 10C (50F). It will be windy both days with sunshine Thursday. By Friday a strong cold front will approach southern Quebec with increasing clouds. Rain will develop in the afternoon but mix with and change to snow very late at night as the temperature plummets. The high on Saturday will only be -2C (29F). More on the potential snow in the next blog.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Weather, weather everywhere...but Montreal

I hate that, you know when people say there is no weather. Weather is always happening, it just may not be the active kind. It seems like Montreal is into that trend right now. This may go down in history as one of the most docile Novembers on record for the city. It has been mild, with very little precipitation and almost every storm system has skirted the city in every direction available. The average high for the month remains well above normal at around 10.8C (51F). So far we have had only 32.2 mm of rainfall along with just a trace of snow. In a normal November, Montreal can expect around 20cm of snowfall. Total sunshine hours have been well above normal for the usually dreary month of November.
Portions of Iowa, Illinois and Wisconsin were buried under nearly a foot of snow Saturday. (USA Today Photo)
Believe it or not, many US cities have had colder temperatures than Montreal and abundant snowfall. This includes portions of the Midwest US that had a record breaking snowstorm yesterday. Across sections of Illinois, Indiana, Wisconsin, Iowa and Minnesota, nearly 30cm of heavy wet snow fell. Chicago recorded its second biggest November snowfall on record with just over 22cm of snow. This morning the low in Montreal was 6C (43F) while Chicago's Midway Airport was -10C (14F). Snow also fell across southern Manitoba as far east as central Ontario and far western Quebec. Snow is also forecast tonight for portions of New Brunswick. This week will start chilly for Montreal, but warm up once again to double digit high temperatures, well above the normal high of 3C (39F). Another big winter storm and cold snap will affect portions of western Canada and the Great Lakes while southern Quebec becomes dry and warm for most of the week.

Friday, November 20, 2015

Winter slow to arrive in Montreal

A new winter storm will develop over the Midwest and affect the central Great Lakes this weekend. Montreal will remain on the warm side of the storm. (AccuWeather)
November continues to be a warm month for Montreal and our surrounding regions. Yesterday Trudeau Airport reached 14C (56F), well above normal once again. The first 19 days of the month have generated an average daily high of 11.1C (52F) for the city, the normal should be around 6C (43F). Looking ahead, temperatures will try to cool on a couple of occasions, but basically remain above normal well into December. We have a couple of opportunities for some flurries this weekend and again early next week, but no major snowstorms are on the horizon at this time. A strengthening El Nino will continue to keep the cold air at bay, while deflecting any storms away from southern Quebec.

In the short term, the rain of Thursday has passed off to our east and we are looking at clearing skies today. It will be cooler than yesterday with our high already reached early this morning and temperatures cooling all day. The low tonight under clear skies will be 0C (32F). On Saturday, clouds will slowly increase as a developing storm over the Midwest US moves towards the Great Lakes and into western Quebec. This system will bring a period of light rain or flurries to the region late Saturday into Sunday. No major accumulations are expected in Montreal. Temperatures will remain mild for November with highs around 6C (43F) and lows near the freezing point. The bulk of the snow with this storm will affect places like Chicago and Milwaukee and points north, as well as central Ontario and north western Quebec. As the low passes on Sunday, cooler air will try to move into southern Quebec to start next week. Snow squalls may develop around the Great Lakes.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Arctic air blasts Prairies

The webcam at the University of Saskatchewan in Saskatoon shows a coating of snow on the ground this morning. Cold air, strong winds and blowing snow are sweeping across the province today.
The coldest air of the season is moving across western Canada this morning. Temperatures have fallen into the minus teens across the northern Prairies and are spreading south and east. Along with the cold air is a blast of wind that has prompted wind warnings across many areas of Saskatchewan, Alberta and BC. Wind speeds are forecast in excess of 100km/h in many locations. Over 40,000 customers in B.C. alone have lost power. A burst of moderate snow has developed along the front in Saskatchewan and is spreading into Manitoba this morning with icy roads and lowering visibility. An example of the potent cold front is in Regina, Saskatchewan where the current temperature is 4C (39F). Winds are picking up and rain, will change to snow with the mercury plummeting to -6C (21F) by this afternoon. The cold air, wind and snow will spread into Manitoba this evening.

Tornado Outbreak
Meanwhile a potent fall storm lifting north towards the Great Lakes, produced heavy snow west of the system and strong thunderstorms east of the track on Tuesday. One of the largest November tornado outbreaks on record occurred late Monday night across portions of Texas, Oklahoma and Kansas. Over 40 tornadoes were observed with serious damage reported. In Denver, blizzard conditions cancelled flights and closed highways on Tuesday.

Snow for Quebec?
In Montreal, high pressure has been in control of our weather this week. We have been enjoying cool nights and seasonable days. One more day of sunshine is expected today, before clouds increase on gusty southerly winds tonight. Temperatures will moderate up to 11C (52F) today and Thursday, along with rain developing by late Thursday. Clouds and showers will hold on into Friday. Cooler temperatures will return along with gusty winds as a cold front moves into the St. Lawrence Valley. Temperatures will drop to the freezing point by late Saturday, with a chance for some snow showers late in the day and early Sunday morning. Some locations in southern Quebec and New England may see a coating of snow on the ground by Sunday.

Monday, November 16, 2015

A weather re-run from last week for Montreal

Another fairly warm week ahead for eastern North America, but much colder air is on the horizon. (AccuWeather.com)
If you liked last week in the weather department, then you will love the forecast for Montreal for the upcoming week. High pressure over southern Quebec will give partly cloudy skies today along with slightly cooler temperatures than that of Sunday. Highs are forecast around 6C (43F) for Montreal. Clear skies and light winds will allow for a cold overnight with lows in the -4C (25F) range by Tuesday morning. Tuesday will be sunny and seasonable with a high near 5C (41F).

On Wednesday southern Quebec will start to come under the influence of a developing fall storm over the southern US plains. Clouds will slowly increase along with southerly winds. Expect highs to approach 8C (48F) Wednesday, and 12C (54F) Thursday. The normal high/ low should be 5C (41F) and -3C (27F). The strengthening storm system will lift north across the central Great Lakes and into northern Ontario. By Thursday, a cold front will cross southern Quebec with much cooler weather on the way for Montreal by next weekend. Along the cold front, winds will gust in excess of 50km/h and a steady rain will develop.

This storm will be a big weather maker for portions of the US and the eastern Prairies. The coldest air of the season is being pulled south behind the low with heavy snow forecast for many regions. Blizzard conditions may develop from Colorado north into the far western Great Lakes and Manitoba. East of the storm, heavy rain and strong thunderstorms are expected from the Gulf Coast to the Ohio Valley. The coldest air of the season will then settle into eastern Canada by next weekend with high temperatures in Montreal of only 1C (34F) forecast at this time.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Windy fall storm for southern Ontario & Quebec

Heavy snow fell Wednesday morning in Colorado Springs on the cold side of a fall storm moving towards Ontario and Quebec. (AP photo)
 A strong low pressure area moving from Utah towards Lake Huron is creating all kinds of bad weather for millions today. The storm, centered over northern Michigan this morning, brought heavy snow to portions of the Rockies. East of the trajectory, strong thunderstorms and tornadoes occurred Wednesday. Rain is occurring in advance of the storm, while on the backside, heavy wet snow is falling across the upper Midwest and far northwest Ontario. The storm is also producing very strong winds along its path. High wind warnings are in effect for portions of southern Ontario along Lakes Erie and Ontario. Wind gusts in excess of 90km/h are forecast. Strong winds will spread into southern Quebec late today and Friday, with gusts up to 70km/h expected in Montreal. The gusty winds have also prompted storm surge warnings for portions of the Maritimes and the Gaspe coast.

Rain is forecast to develop shortly in Montreal, with showers expected through Friday. Temperatures will be mild on the east side of the storm, but as the low slips across Quebec on Friday, cooler air will pour in behind it. The rain may change briefly to a period of wet snow late Friday night in parts of southern Quebec. Just a trace is possible in the valley locations, but 5-10cm may fall across the highest elevations of the Townships, the Green and Adirondack mountains. Temperatures will be mild today, up to 12C (54F). On Friday it will turn cooler with the high early in the day and temperatures falling to near freezing late Friday, in Montreal. Saturday will be cloudy, breezy and cool with an overnight low of -3C (27F) and a high of 5C (41F). The weather will turn warmer again next week.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

The 40th Anniversary of the wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald

The Edmund Fitzgerald in calmer times. (Photo: Bob Campbell)

The wind in the wires made a tattle-tale sound
And a wave broke over the railing
And every man knew, as the captain did too,
T'was the witch of November come stealin'.

Gordon Lightfoot
© 1976 Moose Music, Inc.

It was 40 years ago, November 10, 1975 at approximately 7:20 pm that the iron ore carrier Edmund Fitzgerald went down in a fierce fall storm on Lake Superior. While weather played a definite role, the exact details of the sinking of the ship remains a mystery today, it went down quickly and with very little warning, taking 29 lives with her. The sinking was caused in part by a strong November Gale or "November Witch". Oddly enough on this 40th Anniversary, we have a similar but weaker storm heading from Colorado towards the Great Lakes over the next 72 hours. A gale watch is in effect as the system is expected to produce rough waters, strong winds, snow and rain.

The mangled lifeboat was recovered shortly after the sinking, showing the power of the wind and waves that night. (mghd.org)
The 1975 storm was as intense as they come with 20 foot waves on Lake Superior and winds gusting well over 50 knots. The severe weather was confined to an area along the immediate trajectory of the storm,  and especially rough in the waters of eastern Lake Superior, exactly where the Edmund Fitzgerald was. It was a case of the wrong place at exactly the wrong time. The storm was known as a weather bomb with rapidly dropping pressure from 1000mb over Kansas to 978mb over James Bay in less than 24 hours. The rapid intensification caught the ship and its crew almost without warning. Several memorial services have been planned today including the annual event at Whitefish Point, Michigan, not far from the final resting place of the majestic ship and her crew of 29 brave men. The bell from the Edmund Fitzgerald was recovered in 1995 and has been rung 30 times each year at Whitefish Point on the anniversary of her sinking. This represents all 29 men on board as well as the many others who have perished on Lake Superior. The ship sits in 162 metres (about 530 feet) of water just inside the Canadian boundary, 17 miles north of Whitefish Point, Michigan in Lake Superior.
The chilling image of the Edmund Fitzgerald, resting as a memorial to her 29 man crew in 530 feet of water in  Lake Superior. (Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum Photo)
The Edmund Fitzgerald had left Superior, Wisconsin late in the day on November 9th, 1975 with a cargo of 26,116 tons of taconite pellets on her way to Detroit. There are a series of photos, information and very chilling radio chatter from 1975 at www.shipwreckmuseum.com/edmundfitzgerald

Monday, November 09, 2015

Stormy weather by mid-week for southern Quebec

A beautiful sunset over Lake Champlain and the Adirondacks on Saturday. The perfect November weather continues for the entire region. (ValleyWeather)
The weather gods continue to shine on Montreal and southern Quebec as our warm fall moves along. Despite the passage of a cold front on Friday, the weekend still featured above-normal temperatures along with abundant sunshine. So far, every day this month has had warmer than normal temperatures in Montreal. I see no end in sight to that trend, with perhaps a couple of cooler or near normal days next weekend. High pressure is in control to start the work week with sunshine today and Tuesday, along with daytime highs of 12C (54F) and overnight lows around 4C (39F). The normal high/low for Montreal should be 6C (43F) and -1C (30F) for today's date. 

On Wednesday, the weather will turn unsettled as low pressure begins to move along the Atlantic coast. Montreal will be on the northern edge of the precipitation, with light rain developing by late in the day and lasting into Thursday. On Thursday, yet another storm system, this one from the southwest US, will approach the Great Lakes. This storm will likely provide the chance for heavier rainfall along with very strong winds by the end of the week, for Ontario and Quebec. Both storms will have to be monitored closely for any impacts on southern Quebec along with warnings that may be needed. Temperatures will remain mild through the week but cool off by Saturday with perhaps a few flurries around by the weekend.

Thursday, November 05, 2015

Near record warmth forecast into Friday for Montreal

Snow fell Wednesday in of all places northern Arizona. The 8.8 inches of snow that fell in Flagstaff established a new daily record for early November eclipsing the old one of 5 inches set in 1925. (AP Photo)
Very mild weather continues to dominate the forecast across southern Quebec and Ontario, the high on Wednesday was 14C (56F), well above the normal high of 5C (41F) for Montreal. Today will be even warmer, Montreal has a shot at the record high of 19C (66F) set in 1988. The forecast high temperature today is 18C (65F) for the city. Expect sunshine but with some high clouds on the increase during the afternoon. Tonight and Friday will be cloudy but very mild with lows well above normal at 11C (52F) and another mild day Friday reaching 17C (63F). Showers will develop along a vigorous cold front on Friday along with the chance of an isolated thunderstorm. Winds will be on the increase Friday in the St. Lawrence Valley with gusts approaching 80km/h in the afternoon. The wind may reach warning criteria for a few hours so we will have to watch that scenario. Most of the leaves have fallen form the trees but there is still the chance of a few downed limbs.

Winds will diminish and skies will turn partly cloudy by Friday night with cooler air moving in. The overnight low will be 7C (45F) with a high of 10C (50F) Saturday, still above normal. Cooler weather is forecast for Sunday, maybe near normal for a day before temperatures rise again next week. At this time November looks mild right through the late stages of the month. No snow is in the forecast for southern Quebec through next week.

Tuesday, November 03, 2015

Warm in the east - cool west

A plane emerges out of the fog at Heathrow Airport in London on Monday morning. Thick fog blanketed parts of western Europe cancelling thousands of flights. (AccuWeather.com)

As we get set to enjoy a sunny and very warm stretch of days here in Montreal, the first snowstorm of the season is moving into western Canada. Sunshine this morning in Montreal will last most of the week with temperatures of 15C (59F) up to as warm as 20C (68F) across southern Quebec and Ontario. That folks is about 5-15 degrees above normal for early November. Showers will push into Montreal by Friday along with gusty west winds and dropping temperatures. While it will be warm, a peek at the high temperature records for early November show most of them on either side of 20C. Montreal will have a hard time breaking any of them, but I will keep an eye on it.

Prairie Snow
A developing winter storm will move from Colorado into Manitoba over the next 24 hours. The system will draw down just enough cold air to change the rain over to snow across Montana and Saskatchewan. Portions of southern Saskatchewan may see as much as 10cm of wet snow by Wednesday morning.

More weather making the news over the last 48 hours including severe flooding in Texas, snow in northern California and a blanket of dense fog in England and a big chunk of western Europe. Also a very rare and powerful cyclone (hurricane) Chapala, swept into Yemen on Monday with strong winds and flooding rains. Extensive damage was reported in coastal areas along with several casualties.

Monday, November 02, 2015

A very warm start to November in Montreal

Summer-like thunderstorms developed Sunday afternoon west of Montreal, eventually crossing the city and surprising many. (ValleyWX)
It was a rather docile weather system that passed across southern Quebec on Sunday, but it was just enough to stir up the atmosphere. In what is more typical of a July afternoon, the brief sun that broke out Sunday was just enough to generate instability in the atmosphere and some potent thunderstorms. The storms swept across Vaudreuil around 3:30pm and then across portions of the Island of Montreal and Laval. Vivid lightning, heavy rain, winds gusting up to 70km/h and even small hail occurred. The brief storms dissipated rapidly after sunset and produced no damage.

September-like week ahead
High pressure will move into the region this week producing sunshine and very warm temperatures for November. The temperature is forecast to be 5 to 10 degrees above the normal long term average of 8C (48F) for a high and 0C (32F) for a low. With the exception of lingering clouds today, lots of sunshine is forecast, another anomaly for November, known as the cloudiest month of the year. Daytime highs will reach 12C (54F) today and as warm as 19C (66F) by Friday. A cold front will approach southern Quebec by late in the week with more seasonable weather and showers by next weekend.

It will be cold somewhere in Canada this week. Parts of the NWT and Yukon have temperatures this morning in the minus teens. Also snow is forecast across portions of the southern Prairies over the next 36 hours with a much as 10cm possible across portions of southern Saskatchewan.

Friday, October 30, 2015

Dry Halloween forecast but a wet start to November


Halloween looks dry and cool for Trick or Treating in Montreal.
Daylight Savings Time ends at 2am Sunday morning, so don't forget to turn your clocks back 1 hour.

The strong winds of Thursday are slowly abating this morning after gusts in excess of 75km/h in Montreal. Damage was minimal across the region with just a few large tree branches reported down. The same was true across eastern Ontario where winds gusted up to 100km/h. A few sporadic power outages were also reported.

High pressure will move into southern Quebec today with temperatures on the cool side, 6C (43F) and winds gusty at times up to 40km/h. Clear skies overnight will allow for the temperature to drop below freezing to -1C (30F). Halloween at this time looks dry with clouds increasing and a seasonable high of 7C (45F). Trick or Treat time in Montreal is expected to be cloudy and around 6C (43F). Showers will develop very late in the evening around midnight and continue into Sunday. Next week at this time looks very mild for the start of November with temperatures running above normal near 15C for a good part of the week. A cooling trend is expected by the end of the week, but nothing drastic at this time.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Strong winds forecast for Montreal today

Strong winds toppled trees in southern New England last evening. The gusty winds will spread across northern New England, Ontario and into southern Quebec today. 
(The Weather Channel Photo)
Low pressure continues to lift north of the Great Lakes this morning into northern Quebec. Heavy rain, strong winds and falling leaves made for a challenging drive on Montreal roads for the Wednesday evening commute. The rain is just about over with this system with the exception of a few showers along a cold front later this afternoon in Montreal. I measured 35.8mm of rain here on L'Ile Perrot, most of that falling in a 12-hour period from noon to midnight Wednesday.

Today the big story will be the strong and gusty winds marching east this morning across southern Ontario. Winds have already been as high as 90 km/h in Port Colborne. Wind warnings have been posted right along the shores of Lake Erie and Lake Ontario. There, winds will reach the warning criteria of 90km/h. Away from the lakes, we can still expect 50km/h winds with gusts up to 80km/h. This includes metro Montreal. Winds this strong can knock branches onto power lines, so don't park your car under any large trees today if you can avoid it. Temperatures will start the day mild in the warm sector of the storm with highs up to 16C (60F). Temperatures will begin to cool off rapidly this afternoon with overnight lows tonight down to 0C (32F). Friday will be a typical late-October day with clouds, gusty winds and a very cool high temperature of 6C (43F). Halloween Saturday is expected to be sunny with a high of 8C (48F). Clouds will be on the increase with showers late in the night.

As a final note, get those winter tires on, as it won't be long now... this morning, snow is falling across portions of northwest Ontario, northern Minnesota, Wisconsin and Michigan on the back side of this fall storm.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Windy & wet fall storm for Quebec and Ontario

Heavy rain and gusty winds from the remains of Patricia will spread north and east towards southern Quebec. (AccuWeather)
Moisture from the remains of Hurricane Patricia along with a deepening area of low pressure in the Mississippi Valley will begin to affect Ontario and Quebec. The low pressure will lift north into the central Great Lakes over the next few days. The system will spread a surge of rain and  perhaps a thunderstorm north into Ontario and eventually southern Quebec. After a sunny Tuesday across the region, clouds will be on the increase early Wednesday. Rain will develop from southwest to northeast and become heavy at times by the evening. Expect a decent rainfall with 25 to 50mm (1 to 2 inches) forecast from southwest Ontario towards Quebec City by Thursday. Strong winds will also be a factor with this fall storm reaching 90km/h (50mph) or greater along the shores of Lake Erie and Ontario by late Wednesday and perhaps 70km/h in Montreal and the St. Lawrence Valley.

Temperatures will be near normal today, 10C (50F) and warm to 15C (59F) by Thursday in the southwest winds ahead of the storm. Cooler air will return by Friday and the weekend. At this time Halloween looks dry for trick or treating in Montreal with showers forecast after midnight.

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Hurricane Patricia rapidly weakens over central Mexico

Authorities in Mexico are waiting until daybreak to see the extent of the damage from Hurricane Patricia. It looks like severe flooding may be the biggest impact. Image above is flooding in Manzanillo on Friday. (Photo: J. Levinson/AFP)
Hurricane Patrica, the strongest storm on record in the western hemisphere, is rapidly weakening this morning over central Mexico. The hurricane, with 200mph winds, roared inland in Jalisco State late Friday, October 23. Authorities are waiting until daybreak to see the extent of the damage caused by the storm. Photos and social media reports from the region are showing flash flooding as being a major problem so far. Up to 20 inches of rain may fall along the path of the weakening storm. Hundreds of thousands fled inland from coastal communities as Patricia rapidly strengthened late Thursday. As is common with hurricanes, the storm is rapidly weakening over land, down to a category 1 hurricane this morning with 75mph winds. The center is being ripped apart by shear over the mountains of Mexico.

I read one social media feed on twitter that said the storm may have been overblown. Trust me, you can't exaggerate a category 5 hurricane with 200mph winds. You plan for the worst and hope for the best. Daylight will reveal how the coastal communities in the direct path of the storm fared. The moisture feed from Patricia is enhancing another system over Texas and producing severe flash flooding across that state this morning. The heavy rain and flooding will continue all weekend and spread into other portions of the southern plains as the remains of Patrica move into Texas.

MONTREAL WEATHER
It is a very cold start to the day in Montreal, below freezing in many locations. It will be a cool weekend with sunshine today and a high of 11C (52F), giving way to increasing clouds. Rain will develop overnight and end Sunday morning. Sunday will be a cloudy, breezy and cool fall day with temperatures falling from early highs of 12C (54F) down to 5C (41F) by the end of the day. During the middle part of next week a strong frontal system tapping into moisture from the Gulf of Mexico, will bring heavy rain to Montreal. Perhaps as much as 25-50mm may fall late Tuesday and Wednesday.

Friday, October 23, 2015

Hurricane Patricia strongest ever in Western Hemisphere

A NOAA satellite image of dangerous Hurricane Patricia earlier this morning.
Hurricane Patricia, located 160 miles (255km) south-southwest of Manzanillo, Mexico, is now the strongest storm on record for the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. Patricia, stronger than Katrina, Wilma or Sandy, has exploded into a major category 5 hurricane within the last 24 hours with winds of 200mph (325km/h).

The National Hurricane Center has posted a hurricane warning for a portion of the coast from San Blas to Punto San Telmo south of Puerto Vallarta and well north of Acapulco. Patricia has a record low central pressure of 880mb, even lower than Hurricane Wilma (882mb) from 2005. Patricia is moving north-northwest at 10mph. The storm will bring a catastrophic storm surge to the coast and torrential rain inland with 6-12 inches forecast along the coast and into the mountains of central Mexico. Dangerous flash flooding and mudslides are expected. Evacuations in coastal areas are being rushed to completion this morning. Patricia should make landfall later this afternoon or early this evening.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

AccuWeather forecast calls for warm winter in Canada

The AccuWeather Canadian winter forecast was released on Wednesday. It is predicting that a strengthening El Nino will produce a record warm winter across the country. (AccuWeather.com)
According to U.S.-based AccuWeather, most of Canada is going to have a warmer-than-normal winter this year. The question is: How warm? David Phillips, Senior Climatologist for Environment Canada, is calling this year's event a "Super El Nino", the Goliath of El Ninos. As I've mentioned before, El Ninos tend to create a more zonal or west to east weather pattern, trapping the really cold air across the far north and allowing mild Pacific air to dominate the country. What this usually means is that most of Canada is much warmer and dryer than in a normal winter, about 3 to 5 degrees Celsius above the long-term averages. There are some exceptions. A few cool parcels of air can break off from time to time and move across southern Quebec and Atlantic Canada. This usually results in a brief period of cold weather followed by an increased risk of snow or freezing rain. In January and February we may see an increase in coastal storms affecting eastern Quebec and the western Maritimes with heavy snow. One or two may clip southern Quebec.

1997-1998 El Nino
During the last El Nino of at least this strength in the winter of 97/98 (and this one looks stronger), I was living in southern Saskatchewan and we basically had no winter. That included a dry, brown, almost hot Christmas Day 1997 that had us outside playing street hockey in our t-shirts. Just two weeks later, Montreal would get hit by the Great Ice Storm. The week-long event in early January 1998 was responsible for 28 deaths and damages exceeding 1.75 billion across Ontario, Quebec, New York and New Brunswick. There is some concern we may see another ice storm this year, but I caution, every event is different and specific details are yet to be determined at this point. We can only forecast trends this far out. Expect warmer weather, less snow and lower hydro bills for the winter of 2015-2016.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Warmer than normal end to October in Montreal

A relatively mild and tame zonal flow is forecast to end October and start November in Montreal. AccuWeather.com
It looks like a warmer end to October and start to November is on tap for Montreal and southern Quebec. The cold air that invaded the region this past weekend will not likely occur again for several weeks. This is typical as we head into an El Nino fall and winter. El Nino is the warm phase of regular water temperature fluctuations in the tropical Pacific off the coast of South America. This event typically alters weather patterns around the globe and produces much milder winters in southern Canada.

This morning, we are already befitting from the milder air. The temperature is 12C (54F) here on L'Ile Perrot and at Trudeau Airport, a full 19 degrees above the observed temperature just 24 hours ago. A stiff southwest breeze has been blowing all night, gusting up to 60km/h at Trudeau Airport. A frontal boundary to our north will slip back south of Montreal today with more scattered showers and slightly cooler air by tonight. After a high of 13C (55F) today, we can expect a dip down to -1C tonight with frost. Wednesday will see more clouds and showers as the front oscillates back to the north with a high of 7C (45F). The roller coaster weather will continue into the weekend with one day of sunshine and cooler temperatures followed by one with milder air and showers. The image above shows you how the current pattern can keep Montreal extremely variable as the jet stream slips just north or south of the St. Lawrence Valley.

Monday, October 19, 2015

Ideal Federal Election Day weather for Montreal

The first frost and hard freeze occurred this weekend in Montreal. Snow even fell across southern Quebec. The weather will warm up starting today. (ValleyWeather Photo)
 After an unseasonably cold weekend, we start the work week frigid on L'Ile Perrot and across southern Quebec. I have -6.8C (20F) at 7am here on L'Ile Perrot, that is about 9 degrees below the normal low for mid-October. St Jovite is -11C (12F) and Trudeau Airport -5C (23F). The cold comes on the heels of a wintry weekend that saw measurable snow in many locations. Heavy wet snow, up to 15cm, streamed off the Great Lakes and into central Ontario near Georgian Bay in the Grey and Bruce regions. Snow also piled up in Oswego County in western New York. Early season snow also dotted our region from the Eastern Townships into the Laurentians. Several robust snow showers even briefly covered the grass in and around Montreal both Saturday and Sunday.

The seasons in contrast as several centimetres of snow fell around Lake Huron and Georgian Bay on Saturday making travel less than ideal. (twitter @vaughanweather)
The good news is temperatures should begin to rebound today with sunshine for the most part and warmer highs near 8C (48F).  Weather will not affect your ability to vote here in Quebec, as this will be the best weather day of the week for Montreal. The balance of the week looks unsettled with several frontal systems affecting our region starting tonight. Clouds will be on the increase with showers possible overnight. Low temperatures will be much milder tonight with the mercury actually rising to 11C (52F) by Tuesday morning. Tuesday will be windy and mild with showers and highs above normal near 13C (55F).

Friday, October 16, 2015

Frost & freezing temperatures for southern Quebec & Ontario

Widespread frost will bring the growing season to an end this weekend in metro Montreal (AccuWeather).
As advertised this week, the coldest air of the fall season will move acorns the Great Lakes and into Ontario, Quebec and New England starting today. This continues what has been a rather unsettled week with lots of clouds and periodic showers. A potent cold front brought a round of showers and thunderstorms to Montreal late Thursday evening. While not severe, the storms did produce heavy rain and lightning with close to 15mm of rain in the city.

Temperatures have been cooling off behind each front, and will struggle to reach 10C (50F) today. Another set of cold fronts will cross the St. Lawrence Valley today with more showers and cool air pouring into the region. Any shower activity has the potential to mix with snow, especially north of Montreal and around the Great Lakes late today through Saturday. Temperatures will drop to near freezing tonight and only up to 6C (43F) Saturday in Montreal. Both Sunday and Monday mornings we can expect a widespread killing frost with lows from -2C (28F) in the city to as cold as -10C (14F) north and south of Montreal.

Photo of a waterspout over Lake Michigan this week. More are expected today and over the weekend. @grafnaturephoto
As the cold water moves across the much warmer Great Lakes, there is a risk of some waterspouts forming. These short lived, small scale tornado like weather systems can cause problems for boaters and communities adjacent to the lakes. They will be brief but spectacular nonetheless. In addition to that, a lake effect snow watch has been posted for portions of Ontario adjacent to Lake Huron and Georgian Bay. Snow squalls may develop over the next 24 hours and produce as much as 15cm of heavy wet snow.