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.