Friday, January 29, 2016

Very mild weekend in store for Montreal

A weak Alberta Clipper is giving a wide area of very light snow to southern Quebec today. Despite light snow most of the week, under 5cm has fallen in Montreal and none officially remains on the ground at Trudeau Airport as of this morning.
A series of weak low-pressure areas skirting the international border has left a few centimetres of snow across southern Quebec this week. Typically, any low pressure that comes across the Prairies is moisture-starved and drops very little snow in Montreal. We have another today that may put down 2 or 3cm of snow with a mild high of 0C (32F), and yet one more clipper low on Saturday. On Sunday, a stronger storm system will lift north of the Great Lakes, well west of Montreal, putting southern Quebec into a warm air mass. Temperatures will rise well above freezing both Sunday and Monday, up to 6C (43F) with rain expected. Strong winds will also accompany this system. After a break Tuesday, another even stronger storm will move out of the US Rockies and across the upper Midwest. It should remain well west of Montreal, giving us another round of very mild temperatures with mixed precipitation turning to rain by Wednesday morning. Strong winds in excess of 70km/h will also accompany this system.

Briefly looking beyond next week, expect much colder air to return, with a chance of a big snowstorm by the period of February 10th to 14th. There is still plenty of time and finessing of the computer models, but it looks like something significant may impact southern Quebec.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Unsettled but mild week ahead

A poorly-timed period of steady snow slowed the morning commute in Montreal.
Traffic was slow again this morning in Montreal as a poorly-timed area of wet snow and mixed precipitation crossed the city. Snow-covered, icy roads and low visibility occurred just in time for the morning rush hour. The culprit is an area of low pressure lifting into central Quebec today. Mild air is accompanying the system, so expect any precipitation to change to light rain today. Temperatures will rise to a very mild 4C (39F). Some Ontario locations have set record highs already for today's date, but Montreal's is safe for now (13.3C set in 1950).

A rather windy cold front will cross the city tonight by midnight, with dropping temperatures down to -4C (25F) and gusty winds up to 70km/h. Any precipitation will change back to light snow with perhaps a repeat of today's commute tomorrow morning. The balance of the week will remain unsettled but mild with periods of wet snow or mixed precipitation. No one system will be strong, but the weather will be very changeable with perhaps 5-10cm of snow by week's end. Looking ahead, I expect much colder weather to return for the second week of February, along with the chance of a storm on or around the 10th of the month. This is all preliminary and subject to change in this crazy El Nino driven winter, but computer models are suggesting something may develop.

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Historic snowstorm breaks 100 year old records on east coast

No traffic was permitted in New York City Saturday night after two feet of snow fell in one day. (NYPD Photo)
What more can be said about the snowstorm along the east coast of the US on Saturday, epic, historic, amazing. The storm dumped more snow in 24 hours than most locations see in a year. Some regions in western Maryland and Northern Virginia approached 40 inches or 100cm for a single storm. By comparison, Montreal has has about 75cm (30 inches) of snow for the entire season. Some notables were Central Park, New York with 26.8" (their seasonal normal is 25.8"), Allentown, Pennsylvania at 31.9", JFK in New York City at 30.5", their biggest one day snowfall ever. Also, Washington, Dulles measured 29.3", Baltimore 29.2" and Philadelphia 20". Further north the drop off was quick with Boston recording only 4 to 6 inches and Albany, NY nothing. Some snow also fell along the south coast of Nova Scotia overnight with around 5-10cm (2-4 inches). Winds with this storm were fierce gusting between 50-75mph in many cities.

Along with the heavy snow came severe coastal flooding, especially in New Jersey and Delaware. North Wildwood, New Jersey had a higher storm surge than recorded during superstorm Sandy. Massive flooding was reported up and down the Jersey Shore. The storm brought traffic to a standstill on the ground and in the air. At one point on Saturday, a traffic ban was in effect in New York City, Baltimore and Washington D.C. Highways were closed, train and bus service stopped, and thousands of flights cancelled or delayed including 50 at Trudeau Airport in Montreal. It will take days for the clean up and for travel to return to normal. Further south freezing rain and ice buildup across the Carolina's caused massive power outages. Power outages totaled over 250,000 along the storms path. Hydro Quebec has sent at least 200 employees south to help with the power restoration.

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Snowstorm pounds east coast

Cleaning up in front of the US Capitol building on Friday. (AP Photo)
A crazy El Nino driven snowstorm is pounding the eastern seaboard of the US from North Carolina to southern New England this morning. Heavy snow has fallen in places not accustomed to it including Nashville and Charlotte. Over 35cm (14 inches) has been reported in Washington DC since the storm started late Friday. The weather has resulted in major airports closing and thousands of flights cancelled. Travel on the ground has been terrible with hundreds of accidents reported and several highways closed completely. A state of emergency has been declared from New Jersey to Virginia. Overnight thunder and lightning were observed with the snow across Maryland.

Crews try to stay ahead of the heavy snow in Alexandria, Virginia on Friday. (
This morning the large weather system is located off the Delaware coast moving northeast. Winds have been reported up to 75mph in coastal regions of Virginia and Maryland along with flooding from the Atlantic Ocean. Coastal flooding will affect Delaware, New Jersey and Long Island today moving into coastal Massachusetts later. Hundreds of thousands have lost power. The snow will continue most of the day while spreading northward into southern New England. New York City is forecasting 30 to 45cm (12 to 18 inches) of snow today. Arctic high pressure will keep the storm well south of Montreal with just some high cloudiness and a northeast wind today. The storm will impact extreme southern Nova Scotia on Sunday with 80km/h winds and up to 10cm of snow.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Powerful east coast snowstorm will miss Quebec

Forecast snow accumulations for the upcoming winter storm that is expected to impact the Middle Atlantic and portions of the Northeast US. (AccuWeather)
A powerful winter storm is taking shape over the southern US this afternoon. Computer models have been consistent from the start in keeping this system well south of Montreal, and that has not changed. The storm is forecast to rapidly intensify as it moves off the coast of the Carolina's late Friday. Heavy snow is forecast to fall in a swath from Kentucky and Virginia into Maryland, New Jersey and New York City. On the extreme northern edge of the storm, some snow may fall in coastal southern New England, Boston and Albany.

Forecasters are predicting this system to be historic in places with over 2 feet of snow forecast in Washington D.C. Blizzard warnings are in effect for Delaware and Maryland. Travel may become impossible in the I-95 corridor. High winds are going to impact all regions, but especially coastal areas where winds may gust over 100km/h (60 mph). Coastal flooding is expected from North Carolina to New England and even into southern Nova Scotia. The full wolf moon this weekend will only add to wave heights along the east coast. The storm is forecast to move out to sea on Sunday well south of Atlantic Canada.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Potential east coast storm to remain south of Montreal

It was another cold and windy morning in Montreal on Tuesday. Winds should ease and skies clear out for the balance of the week. (ValleyWeather)
 Tuesday was another cold and blustery day across southern Quebec, but with less snow than Monday. The snow on Monday measured between 8-15cm across the region. Strong winds produced widespread blowing snow that made the morning rush hour a mess in Montreal. The snow also made travel off island dangerous at times with numerous accidents reported. A major collision along Highway 20 near St Hyacinthe involving several trucks and cars, resulted in the death of a woman in her 50's. Along with the wind and snow, there has been biting cold, some of the coldest temperatures this winter. Windchill readings this morning were close to -30C (-22F) in Montreal.

Traffic was slow once again on Tuesday across southern Quebec, but nothing like the two hour commute on Monday. (ValleyWeather)

Now for the good news. Forecasters are following a potential developing winter storm south of the border. The system, affecting the west coast today, is forecast to move across the deep south and then intensify along the North Carolina coast. At this time heavy snow, strong winds and coastal flooding are a possibility from North Carolina to southern Maine. It looks like the system will remain well to our south as high pressure controls the weather in southern Quebec. Expect clearing skies this evening with temperatures around -15C (5F). Wednesday through the upcoming weekend looks dry and sunny at this time with temperatures at or slightly below the normal daytime high of -6C (21F) and low of -15C (5F). The east coast storm will likely be big news as the weekend approaches with 30-60cm (1-2 feet) of snow quite possible from Washington to Boston. Keep this in mind if your travels take you into the US Northeast.

Monday, January 18, 2016

Cold week ahead for Montreal

The coldest air of the winter will sweep across Ontario and Quebec this week. (AccuWeather)
When we look back at the winter of 2015-2016, or what little there was of it, this may likely turn out to be the coldest week of the season for Montreal. A strong cold front has crossed southern Quebec early this morning with a decent shot of snow. Light snow is still falling in southern Quebec, and I expect most areas will see 5-10cm of the fluffy variety before it ends later today.

Winds will increase this morning out of the northwest up to 50km/h. Blowing snow will be a problem on the open highway, especially once you leave the city limits. Temperatures are about as warm as they are going to be today, around -9C (16F) currently. Combined with the winds today, windchill readings will be below -20C (-4F). The cold will continue into Tuesday with morning lows close to -18C (0F) and daytime highs no better than -10C (14F). Compared to last winter this seems warm, but not this year. Most of us are not accustomed to a week of -10C degree highs. Stay warm! Sunshine returns by late Wednesday but it will remain chilly most of the week.

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Rare January Tropical Storm

Subtropical Storm Alex south of the Azores this morning. (NHC)
A very rare event has taken place in the Atlantic Ocean, a tropical system in January. For the first time since 1978, we have a named tropical system, Alex. The storm is actually subtropical, not exhibiting a warmer core like it would in August or September, but the system is still potent. This morning, Alex is located 560 miles south southwest of the Azores. The storm has intensified overnight and now has 70 mph winds. Alex is moving north northeast at 18 mph and should approach the Azore Islands later tonight and Friday. Heavy rain and storm-force winds are likely before the storm races off towards Greenland and loses any tropical characteristics. The formation of such a storm in January shows us just how much El Nino has affected the weather patterns.

Montreal Weather
After a little light snow today and a chilly high of -10C (14F), we can expect a quiet day Friday before temperatures warm up for the first half of the weekend. Weak low pressure will approach southern Quebec this weekend with perhaps a period of light snow or mixed precipitation Saturday. I don't expect a big storm, perhaps 5cm, but like this past Tuesday, the system will be weakening as it approaches Montreal, so amounts may be less. We are also watching a coastal storm developing near North Carolina, but it appears this storm will remain well offshore and not affect southern Quebec. Temperatures will warm up Friday and Saturday, perhaps reaching 0C (32F), before cooling off Sunday and the early part of next week.

A New Hampshire State Police officer was injured on Tuesday after a Canadian trucker failed to slow down or move over striking his patrol car on Interstate 89. (New Hampshire State Police Photo)
During the snow and squalls on Tuesday, numerous accidents were reported across Ontario and Quebec, as well as the northeast US. One accident on Interstate 89 near Warner, New Hampshire involved a truck and a New Hampshire State Police car. The truck, from Canada, failed to slow down or move over striking the car and injuring the officer. The truck then fled the scene. The vehicle is described as a semi with a dark cab and white box-type trailer, with Canadian plates. They did not say which province. Anybody with information is asked to call the New Hampshire State Police at 603-271-3636.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Up to 10cm of snow forecast for Montreal and Ottawa

Snow will advance into southern Quebec today. (AccuWeather)
This is just a brief update on the clipper system about to affect southern Ontario and Quebec. Light snow is advancing this morning across Ontario and will arrive in Ottawa by 10am and Montreal by the noon hour. This is not a big storm, clipper systems originate from the Prairies, so they are usually starved of moisture. The Great Lakes gives them a little kick, but in this case the system is weakening. It will morph into a big storm for the Atlantic provinces once it reaches the coast later tonight and strengthens rapidly.

Montreal can expect light snow through the afternoon and into the overnight with 5 to 10cm possible. Gusty winds, up to 40km/h, will likely cause some blowing snow, especially outside of the city. The snow will be enhanced a little as you head down the 401 towards Kingston. While there are no weather warnings on our side of the border, a winter weather advisory is in effect for the US side of the St. Lawrence River including Massena, New York. Keep this in mind if your travels take you onto the highway today. Temperatures will be cold with a high of -5C today dropping to -11C tonight.

Next Storm
We are watching a complicated forecast for this weekend that could include a significant snowfall for Montreal on Saturday. Twin low pressure ares will impact the region, but the exact track at this time is up in the air. Stay tuned!

Monday, January 11, 2016

Windstorm ushers in arctic air

Strong winds helped to topple the brick facade of two buildings in downtown Montreal late Sunday night. (CBC News)
  After a warm and wet weekend, Montreal awoke to a windy, much colder landscape this morning. A strong storm moved across the Great Lakes on Sunday pushing a cold front across the St. Lawrence Valley. Heavy rain over the weekend helped to melt some of the snow pack, with close to 20mm falling in Montreal. Powerful winds accompanied the front, gusting up to 100km/h in parts of eastern Ontario, Quebec and Atlantic Canada. The peak gust a Trudeau Airport in Montreal was 93km/h late last evening. The wind cut power to nearly 60,000 homes in Quebec and also toppled two brick walls in downtown Montreal. Power outages were also reported in Ontario and upstate New York.

It was not only metro Montreal, but a large portion of Quebec was affected by the strong winds. This tree was toppled in Arvida. (Radio Canada)
The cold front also brought a quick end to our warm weekend. The temperature fell from a near record plus 7C (45F) last evening to -7C (19F) in about 12 hours. A few flurries accompanied the colder air but luckily the wind dried most surfaces sparing us from a rapid freeze. It is winter weather for the foreseeable future with cold air and snow for the balance of the week. A clipper type low pressure area will sweep out of western Canada on Tuesday and cross the Great Lakes into the St. Lawrence Valley. After a cold overnight low of -14C (7F) in Montreal, snow will develop by noon and last into early Wednesday morning. At this time we are expecting 5-10cm locally in the region. Gusty winds will also accompany the snow, so expect some lower visibility starting tomorrow afternoon. Skies will clear out Thursday, but it will remain cold with a low of -18C (0F) and a high of -11C (12F).

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Strong storm to bring back winter to southern Quebec

Another low pressure area and cold front will bring a reinforcing shot of cold air to southern Quebec late Tuesday with perhaps 5cm of snow. (AccuWeather)
HIGH WIND WARNING: Montreal and southern Quebec.

A strengthening low pressure area will move across the Ohio Valley and into the eastern Great Lakes today. East of the storm, mild air along with a surge of moisture will affect southern Quebec and Montreal. Steady rain will start shortly in southern Quebec and last most of the day. Heavy rain warnings have been posted for regions north and west of the city including Ottawa where 30-40mm may occur. Along with the rain will be strong southerly winds. These winds will shift to the southwest this evening in Montreal as a cold front associated with the storm sweeps across southern Quebec. The wind will increase to 60-90km/h with higher gusts likely in some locations. Environment Canada has issued a high wind warning for Montreal and the St. Lawrence Valley.

The temperature will be very mild today, reaching 8C (47F) by early this evening. However, behind the cold front, it will rapidly turn colder with a low of -5C (23F) expected by Monday morning in Montreal, colder elsewhere. The rain will change to snow overnight with a dusting in Montreal but perhaps a few centimetres across eastern Ontario. Any standing water will freeze making roads and sidewalks very icy. Monday will be blustery and much colder with snow showers and temperatures nearly steady or even falling. It will be much colder this week with lots of clouds and flurries and temperatures remaining well below freezing for Montreal.

Strong winds blowing across the Great Lakes will generate snow squalls this week. The squalls will affect western New York and portions of Ontario. In the most persistent bands of snow 30-60cm (1-2 feet) are possible. Keep this in mind if you are travelling Highway 401 or Interstate 81 and 90.

Thursday, January 07, 2016

Windy & wet storm for southern Quebec

After a brief mild spell this weekend, more cold air will arrive for the middle portion of the month.
Environment Canada has issued a special weather statement regarding a storm for this coming weekend. It looks like mostly rain for Montreal.

After the coldest couple of mornings this season, mild air is set to make a return to southern Quebec. We have one more dry day Friday before twin low pressure areas begin to affect the region. The first system arrives late Friday night and into Saturday. A light mix of rain and snow with perhaps some freezing rain will occur with this system, but we are not expecting any significant amounts. Temperatures will be near the freezing point most of Friday and remain steady into Saturday morning before we climb above freezing, at least here in Montreal.

Late in the day Saturday, the second, much stronger storm will begin to move from the mid Mississippi Valley into the eastern Great Lakes. This system will be strengthening as it moves north with a wide area of steady precipitation accompanying the storm. Mild air will also surge into the St. Lawrence Valley, so we are looking at mainly a rain event with as much as 25mm expected. Snow is forecast, but well north of the Laurentians. There may also be some freezing rain north of the city. Winds with this storm could be strong, especially on Sunday. Behind the system temperatures will turn much colder for Monday with any leftover precipitation changing to flurries. Temperatures on Sunday could be as mild as 6C (43F) in Montreal, but dropping to -3C (27F) by Monday morning. Any leftover moisture would freeze rapidly Sunday night.

Tuesday, January 05, 2016

Coldest morning of the winter in Montreal

The next chance for snow and rain arrives in Ontario and Quebec late Friday and Saturday. This will not be a big storm, but may still affect road travel.
Temperatures this morning across Ontario and Quebec are the coldest they have been since last February. L'Ile Perrot dropped to -22C this morning while Trudeau Airport is at -21C. Ottawa and Cornwall recorded -24C, Mirabel -25C and Sherbrooke the coldest in the region at -28C. High pressure is in control of the weather for the balance of the week with much needed sunshine and moderating temperatures. The high today will be a chilly -12C but temperatures will remain steady tonight or slowly rise as southwest winds develop. The high on Wednesday will be a mild -2C.

Our next chance for significant weather will arrive by late Friday or Saturday as a developing storm moves into the Great Lakes. This will not be a big storm, but we can expect a period of snow and rain with perhaps some freezing rain in some areas. Precipitation amounts at this time will likely be in the 5 to 10cm range with perhaps a few millimetres of ice or rain. A second more significant storm is possible later in the weekend and to start next week, but medium range computer models are having a tough time with the forecast, and there are just two many scenarios to mention more than that at this time. Further into next week colder air will return to southern Quebec, with the chance of another storm by late next week.

Saturday, January 02, 2016

Arctic air arrives Sunday

The coldest air of the season so far arrives in Montreal late Sunday.
Happy New Year, 2016 marks the 37th year I have been recording the weather in Montreal. It is also the 11th year I have been blogging. Thank you for stopping by, I appreciate each one of you taking the time to read and comment.

A strong cold front will cross southern Quebec on Sunday ushering in the coldest air of the season. Temperatures have been hovering around the freezing point since our snowstorm on Tuesday. That will change late Sunday as temperatures fall rapidly along with snow squalls. The front will arrive in Montreal by early afternoon with temperatures falling to -15C (5F) by Monday morning. On Monday skies will become partly sunny, but it will be cold with a high temperature around -13C (9F) in Montreal. Monday night will be the coldest night so far this winter with lows near -18C (0F) in the city but into the minus 20's across the Laurentians and Townships.

As the cold front arrives Sunday, it will be accompanied by a period of steady snow and gusty winds. Up to 5cm is possible along the front, with road and visibility conditions deteriorating quickly. Keep this in mind if you have travel plans. Many are returning home Sunday, as the holiday period draws to a close. Temperatures will slowly moderate next week through Friday with no precipitation forecast. January at this time looks like an active month with much colder weather and periods of snow forecast. This month will not be a repeat of December.