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.

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. (
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.
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.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Coldest air of the season this weekend in Montreal

The coldest air of the season to date will pour into southern Quebec and Ontario this weekend.
Snow this weekend? There are hints of the four letter word creeping into the forecast. Don't panic just yet. Cold air will pour into Ontario and Quebec behind a cold front late Friday. Temperatures will fall to near 0C (32F) by Saturday morning, and even colder -2C (28F) by Sunday here in Montreal. It will be much colder north of the city in the Laurentians, dropping to as cold as -10C (14F). I expect a widespread frost and freeze bringing the growing season or what is left of it to an end.

As far as any snowfall goes, there will be moisture available behind the front Friday, but it will be fairly limited in the valleys with perhaps a flake or two in Montreal. However, if you are travelling northwest of Montreal towards Val-d'or, where it is snowing this morning, or south across the Adirondacks of New York or Green Mountains of Vermont, there could be quite a bit more. Computer models are hinting at perhaps 5-10cm (2-4 inches) of new snow by Sunday morning across areas above 1500 feet. Even 15cm (6 inches) is forecast at Jay Peak. If you are taking Interstate 89 or 87 south, you may encounter snowfall Saturday night. Be aware of this.

It will turn warmer next week after the brief cold spell. However, you should be thinking about winter tires. It looks like there could be several opportunities for an early season snow in November over southern Quebec. Just a heads up.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Much colder weather & frost on our doorstep

It was a perfect Thanksgiving Monday on L'Ile Perrot with sunshine and record warmth. (ValleyWX Photo)
Depending on where you were in southern Quebec on Thanksgiving Monday, you may have had the warmest October 12 on record. The temperature reached 24.9C (77F) here on L'Ile Perrot but 23.5C (75F) at Trudeau Airport just missing the record of 23.9C (76F) set in 1961. No matter where you were across the region it was a perfect way to end the summer season for good. I say that because much colder air is on the way. Looking ahead I don't see another opportunity for temperatures that warm. We are rapidly loosing daylight as well which tends to limit just how warm it can get.

Frost & Snowflakes
This morning a series of cold fronts is off to our west and will begin the slow process of lowering temperatures this week. Expect showers to develop today and persist into Wednesday. The temperature will reach 18C (65F) today, but only 12C (54F) Wednesday and no better than 5C (41F) by Saturday. The weather will be rather unsettled all week with limited sunshine and periodic showers. I am quite confident that by Saturday or Sunday morning we will see a hard frost in most regions of southern Quebec including metro Montreal. Overnight lows will drop below freezing for the first time this season. There is also the chance for a few snow showers across the mountains of southern Quebec and New England. Looking ahead into next week milder temperatures are forecast to return but not the 20 plus weather we just experienced.

Monday, October 12, 2015

Warm Thanksgiving then below normal temperatures return

The warm Thanksgiving in Montreal will be replaced by much cooler air, clouds and showers as the weeks moves along.
It will be an Indian Summer type day across southern Quebec, Ontario and New England on this Thanksgiving Monday. Temperatures will be on the rise aided by gusty southwest winds up to 50km/h and sunshine. Expect warm highs of 21C to 24C (70 to 75F) across the region, well above the normal high for Montreal of 13C (55F). The brief warmth is being caused by strong low pressure moving out of the Prairies and across the Great Lakes. Montreal has a slight chance at the record high for today of 23.9C (76F) set in 1961.

This system has a strong cold front associated with it that is plunging temperatures back to reality behind it. Over the weekend warm air rushed north ahead of the system pushing temperatures to record levels across the west. It was downright hot in the northern US plains states with Fargo, North Dakota reaching 97F (36C) smashing a 72 year old record of 85F from 1973. Temperatures pushed into the middle to upper 20's across southern Manitoba and Saskatchewan before the front arrived. The front arrived with strong to severe winds sweeping across the region. Gusts were reported to 109km/h at Leader and 104km/h at Assiniboia in Saskatchewan. In Alberta a gust to 111km/h occurred at Alliance and 89km/h in Edmonton.

In Montreal the sunshine of today will be replaced by clouds and showers for the rest of the week. After the warm temperatures today, we will see gradual decline in highs and lows through next weekend. By Saturday the high will only be 6C (43F) in Montreal with lows near freezing and frost expected. We may even see the first snowflakes of the season across the mountains of New York, Vermont, the Laurentians and Townships by late Friday night.

Wednesday, October 07, 2015

Clean up continues in the Carolinas - frost for Quebec

I apologize for the slow week in the blogging department. It has been a rather busy week at work. I hate it when life gets in the way of weather!

The weather has been rather quiet in Montreal with partly cloudy skies and seasonable temperatures. A large area of high pressure over central Quebec has deflected any storm activity well to our south and east including hurricane Joaquin. Sunshine will prevail again on Thursday with temperatures a little cooler than they have been of late. There is even a risk of frost away from the St. Lawrence Valley, particularly across the lower Laurentians. The low is expected to be near 2C (36F) with highs around 13C (55F). Our extended period of dry weather will end Friday as low pressure moves into the region with widespread rain. At this time it looks like 15-25mm of rain will fall through Friday evening. Skies will clear out for the weekend with temperatures near normal.

Historic flooding from last weekend in South Carolina. (Charleston Post Courier Photo)
The clean up continues in South Carolina after epic rainfall last weekend. Some locations recorded 1000 year rain events with as much as 27 inches (over 685mm) of rain in less than 5 days. That amounts to nearly an entire years worth of rainfall here in Montreal where the annual average is 784mm. The rain destroyed homes and washed away roads including a portion of Interstate 95 as well as infrastructure, claiming at least 17 lives. Flooding was also reported in North Carolina and in coastal communities from Georgia to Maine. The heavy surf and coastal flooding was caused in part by hurricane Joaquin passing well offshore. The heavy rain was the result of an upper level low over the southeast US and a persistent ribbon of moisture moving inland from the tropical Atlantic. Many rivers remain above flood stage with more damage expected in the coming days. Evacuations have been ordered in many areas with as many as 13 dams failing so far in South Carolina. Damage is expected to be in the billions of dollars.

While Montreal has had no rain so far in October, portions of the east coast were inundated.

Saturday, October 03, 2015

Joaquin to move out to sea - high pressure dominates in Montreal

Coastal flooding in Atlantic City, New Jersey on Friday. (Reuters News)
What a difference 24 hours can make in weather forecasting. Computer models had communities up and down the east coast from South Carolina to Nova Scotia in a state of emergency at the prospect of a land falling Joaquin. But now all models are predicting the storm to head out to sea and spare all of us a direct hit. Hurricane Joaquin remains a powerful storm this morning with 125 mph winds located 165 miles (270km) northeast of San Salvador, Bahamas. The storm pounded the northeast Bahamas for the last two days with fierce winds and heavy rain. Damage is extensive in the eastern portion of the Bahamas.

Meanwhile the news is not perfect for the east coast of the US. They are still dealing with a major upper level low over the southeast that is producing historic rainfall. Up to 2 feet of rain has fallen along the North and South Carolina border with more forecast. The rain has produced major flooding in the Carolinas. Along the coast high surf has produced widespread coastal flooding from Massachusetts to North Carolina. The heavy surf is a result of the flow of air around Joaquin and a persistent northeast fetch of air and water off the Atlantic. Strong high pressure located over Quebec is helping deflect Joaquin out to sea but is also producing the pressure gradient that is driving the Atlantic into the coast from the Maritimes south. Flooding is expected to continue throughout the weekend.

The good news for Montreal is the only effects we will see from both Joaquin and the strong low over the southeast is a cool northeast wind up to 50km/h. Montreal and most of southern Quebec can expect nothing but sunshine as high pressure holds all weekend. Temperatures will range from 12 to 14C (52 to 56F) for daytime highs and cool plus 3 to 5C (38 to 41F) for overnight lows through Monday.

Thursday, October 01, 2015

Joaquin now a major hurricane

A NOAA satellite image of a strengthening hurricane Joaquin in the central Bahamas early Thursday morning. 
It has been a rather quiet Atlantic hurricane season to this point, as is typical during El Nino years. But as forecasters always remind us, all it takes is one storm to make the season memorable or infamous. Will Joaquin be that storm? In less than 24 hours the system has gone from a tropical storm to a major hurricane. The Category 3 storm with winds in excess of 120 mph is drifting southwest in the central Bahamas this morning. The Bahamas will have strong winds, pounding waves and torrential rain for the next 24 hours. Joaquin is a small but dangerous storm for that region today with life threatening wind and rain. Beyond that the storm is forecast to move northward and increase in forward speed through Friday. Interests all up and down the east coast should be monitoring Joaquin. At this time computer models have the storm track all over the place from out to sea to landfall along the Outer Banks of North Carolina. An average forecast path takes the storm into the waterlogged middle Atlantic and eventually into New England and southern Quebec by Tuesday. That scenario is far away and Joaquin has several chapters to write before that point. I have been tracking Atlantic hurricanes since 1979 and will watch this one closely and update the blog as needed.

Before Joaquin arrives on the weather scene, Montreal is looking at much cooler air to start October but with plenty of sunshine. Temperatures are expected to be near the freezing point at night and into the low teens for highs through Saturday.