Thursday, May 18, 2017

Strong thunderstorms followed by cooler weather

Cooler weather is on the way for the holiday weekend in Ontario and Quebec. (AccuWeather)

Severe Thunderstorm Watch in effect: Eastern Ontario and Western Quebec

The flood waters continue to rapidly recede on the Ottawa River, as the warmest air of the year to date invades southern Quebec. Our first taste of heat and humidity Wednesday, saw the mercury rise to 29.4C (85F) in Montreal, just shy of the record of 30.2C set in 1977. Thursday will be even warmer, with high temperatures expected in the low 30s. Today, we have an outside chance of the record in Montreal of 32.2C set in 1962. Sunshine will dominate most of the day, before a vigorous cold front arrives this evening. Behind the front much colder air will filter into southern Quebec, with temperatures falling back to the middle teens Friday and into the Victoria Day long weekend.

In advance of the cold front today, the St. Lawrence Valley will experience very strong southwest winds, in the 40 to 70km/h range. In addition to the wind, a line of strong to severe thunderstorms is expected to develop in Ontario this afternoon and reach southern Quebec between 6 and 8pm this evening. Some of the storms may produce heavy rain, hail and very strong winds. As of 11am Thursday morning, a severe thunderstorm watch has been posted in southern and eastern Ontario. The watch will likely be extended into Montreal this afternoon.

On Friday look for clearing skies, and much cooler temperatures, with highs near 17C (63F).

While we bake, a late spring snowstorm is blasting through the Rockies. This was the scene on Interstate 70 in Vail this morning. (CBS Denver)

Monday, May 15, 2017

Finally, sunshine and warm weather for Montreal

A flooded car remains behind in Gatineau, Quebec. Flood waters are receding, but now the daunting task of the massive cleanup begins. (CBC Photo)
The state of emergency has been lifted in Montreal.
All residents wishing to return home in the City of Montreal, must contact 311.
The flood warning for the St. Lawrence and Ottawa Rivers, remain in effect, but water levels are lowering.

As I walked my dog in the rain this morning for what seemed like the 30th consecutive day, I did so with the knowledge that the end of the ugly weather is near. A rather potent coastal storm remained far enough east of the region over the weekend, to just deliver Montreal a glancing blow. As a result, only 5 to 10mm of rain fell in the region, with no additional impacts at all to the flood situation. It was miserable weather however, with temperatures struggling to reach the low teens on Sunday. The coastal storm in question even produced a late season snowstorm for the mountains of New Hampshire, with over 50cm falling on Mount Washington. High pressure will slowly build into the region early this week, with spring weather returning, and even a taste of summer. Skies will clear out today, with temperatures rising to near 20C (68F). Tuesday through Thursday will feature sunshine and very warm temperatures, we could see upper 20's, and perhaps 30C (86F) by Thursday in Montreal. A cold front late Thursday will produce a round of showers and thunderstorms, before skies clear out on Friday.

Flood Update
The flood situation in southern Quebec is slowly improving, but a massive cleanup lies ahead. Water levels have stabilized on the Saint Lawrence River, and are lowering on the Ottawa River. The state of emergency in effect in Montreal over the last week, was lifted Sunday at noon. Most major roads are now open, as are all schools in the region. Flood waters remain in Rigaud, parts of Terrasse Vaudreuil, Ile Mercier and Pierrefonds. In Riguad, residents are still being asked to remain away from the flood zone. Municipal officials want to accompany them back to their homes, to assess the risk and damage. Nearly 130 municipalities were affected by flooding in the province, with 4500 residents evacuated. Now the massive cleanup begins, with tons of debris already deposited over the weekend in front a drying out homes and in bins set up by the City of Montreal. Nearly 2600 Canadian Armed Forces troops remain on the ground across eastern Ontario and southern Quebec assisting residents and first responders.

Friday, May 12, 2017

The dim light at the end of the weather tunnel in Montreal

Members of the Canadian Armed Forces battle flood waters from Lake of Two Mountains while trying to save a home in Laval on Wednesday. Nearly 2000 troops remain on the ground in the flood zone. (Canadian Armed Forces Photo)
The flood warning remains in effect along the Ottawa and St. Lawrence Rivers.
A state of emergency remains in effect in Montreal, Laval, Rigaud and several other southwestern Quebec municipalities.

Donate to the Red Cross Flood Relief Fund HERE.

There is good news and bad news in the forecast. Friday will be dry, and temperatures will be on the rise next week, especially towards the holiday weekend. In between, however, we are looking at more rain and cool temperatures for southern Quebec. Low pressure will move from New Jersey into coastal New England by Sunday. Rain is forecast to develop late Saturday and persist into Sunday in Montreal. The good news for the flood zone around Montreal and Ottawa is that the heaviest rain should fall south and east of our region. However, any rain at this time is not good, and residents should remain vigilant. Leave your sandbags where they are. At this time, 15 to 25mm is quite possible in the metro region.

The historic flooding of the last two weeks is slowly on the decline, but not everywhere. Here on L'Ile Perrot and in Vaudreuil, the cleanup is beginning, with water being pumped out and roads reopened. In Notre-Dame-de-L'Ile-Perrot, 20 homes were flooded and a total of 27 evacuated. In Vaudreuil, the water level has dropped 13cm over the last 36 hours and will drop a further 10 to 20cm over the next 48. In Vaudreuil, 50 homes were flooded. The Canadian Armed Forces remain on the ground, with close to 2000 troops in the flood zone. In hard-hit Terrasse-Vaudreuil, numerous homes remain flooded and uninhabitable at this time.

On the Island of Montreal, particularly Pierrefonds and Ile Bizard as well as Ile Mercier, it is a different story. Widespread flood waters and damage remain behind, and it may be some time before residents can return and begin the cleanup. Numerous roads remain closed indefinitely. The same is true in sections of Rigaud, Gatineau and Pointe-Fortune, where major flooding remains. Evacuations are in place in badly-damaged Rigaud. The Mayor has hinted that residents who refuse to leave will be fined. The Ottawa River and tributaries in and around Montreal and Laval are on the decline, but remain above flood stage. Water levels on the St. Lawrence River are stable so far, with the river accommodating the extra flow released from the Moses-Saunders Dam in Cornwall, Ontario.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Flood waters on the decline but more rain in the forecast

Flood waters have inundated parts of Saint-Anne-de-Bellevue shown above. More rain is forecast this weekend. (Photo: Valley Weather)

Flood Warning remains posted for the Ottawa and Saint Lawrence Valley.

State of Emergency remains in effect for Montreal. 

Leave your sandbags full and exactly where they are for now.

Please, show respect for those suffering and stop adding water to the flood by emptying your swimming pools, regardless of where you live in metro Montreal.

The historic flooding along the Ottawa River impacting the western suburbs of Montreal and the off island communities, is starting to slowly recede. Warm sunshine filtered through high clouds on Wednesday, as municipalities began to tally up the losses. Deep water remains in many locations, with hundreds of thousands of sandbags piled feet high. Over 4000 Quebec homes have been inundated. The need remains great, donate or volunteer if you can.

On Tuesday, water levels fell just enough for the MTQ to reopen the Galipeault Bridge. The main artery along Highway 20 connecting L'Ile Perrot and Vaudreuil to Montreal, had been closed since Sunday evening. Flood waters remain high, but according to Hydro Meteo, the flood has crested and water levels are on the decline on the Ottawa River, Lake of Two Mountains, Riviere des Praires and the Milles Iles River.

Such is not the case for the St Lawrence River, where levels are at historic heights, with more water pouring into the system from a swollen Lake Ontario. The Moses-Saunders Dam in Cornwall is scheduled to be open wider this weekend to allow more water to flow into the St. Lawrence Seaway and Lac St Louis. This may have an impact on communities that have so far been spared any flooding. The water levels on Lake Ontario are the highest they have been in over 20 years.

Heavy Rain This Weekend
More rain is in the forecast late Saturday and Sunday in southern Quebec, as a strengthening storm moves along the US eastern seaboard. Depending on the exact track, a period of heavy rain and strong northeast winds is possible. Amounts are difficult at this time to pinpoint, with the system still in development, but more than 25mm (1 inch) is possible. This is of great concern to anybody battling the epic spring flooding. Stay tuned.

Tuesday, May 09, 2017

Widespread damage as flood waters slowly decline

Flood waters creep onto Ile Bigras from Rivière-des-Prairies. (Photo Krissa Giotsalitis)
4:00PM UPDATE: The Galipeault Bridge to L'Ile Perrot has been completely opened in both directions.

A state of emergency remains in effect in Montreal, Laval and numerous surrounding communities. Heavy flooding continues along the Ottawa River and all the tributaries that bypass Montreal. Support for flood victims has been pouring in, in the form of food, clothing, toiletries and more. There is still a tremendous need.  If you can help, there is a drop-off point near the Sears store at the Fairview Mall in Pointe Claire.

Volunteers answered the call to fill sandbags on Ile Perrot, in Vaudreuil, on Ile Bizard and in Laval. The flooding has spread into regions along the North Shore as well, including Deux-Montagnes. Homes are flooded up to 1km from the lake. On Ile Cadieux, near Vaudreuil-sur-le-Lac, the effort is ongoing, with weary volunteers packing sandbags in an epic battle to save homes. Volunteers are needed. On Ile Perrot, the situation has stabilized. Pincourt and Terrasse-Vaudreuil have packed enough sandbags thanks to volunteers, local firefighters and the Canadian Armed Forces. Over 400,000 sandbags have been filled to date across the entire flood zone.

The Canadian Armed Forces in Terrasse-Vaudreuil on Monday. (Photo: Tammy Arbour)

The Galipeault Bridge remains closed, cutting off an important artery into Montreal. Commuter delays are long, at times over 3 hours to get into the city from the west. I stayed in Montreal overnight, to avoid the travel and get some sleep. The bridge will be closed until water levels lower, and a full inspection can be carried out by the MTQ. Tolls on Highway 30 have been waived and the AMT Commuter Train on the Vaudreuil line will be free until the crisis ends.

Hundreds of homes are completely destroyed, many others have significant damage. It will be a long, slow recovery. A fund has been established with the Red Cross, with over $1 million dollars raised so far. Visit redcross.ca to donate.

The weather will remain very cold for mid-May across southern Quebec, with well-below-normal temperatures. Spotty showers and even flurries are possible through Wednesday. As flood waters slowly recede on the Ottawa River, they may be increasing on the St. Lawrence River, as water is released from the Moses-Saunders Power Dam in Cornwall.

Monday, May 08, 2017

Flood waters slowly stabilize in Montreal, Ottawa Valley

A home is inundated by by flood waters form Lake of Two Mountains, at the foot of 20th Avenue in Sainte-Marthe-Sur-Le-Lac. (Photo: Nancy Bunce)

• Flood Warning remains in effect for Montreal, Laval and the Ottawa Valley.
• State of Emergency extended in Montreal.
• Flood Relief Fund established with the Red Cross.

Here is the latest information on the Montreal flood of 2017. This is a remarkable event for the Ottawa Valley and southern Quebec, one that can only be described as a 100 year flood. The good news is that the flood waters are slowly stabilizing today. The crest is forecast to pass to the east of Montreal by Wednesday. Until then vigilance is important, as water levels are high and swift. Late Sunday, Transport Quebec was forced to close both directions of the Galipeault Bridge form L'Ile Perrot to the Island of Montreal. The rising waters were uncomfortably close to the road surface. The closure created gridlock during the Monday morning commute. Transport Quebec has not indicated when the bridge may be reopened. To alleviate traffic woes, both the AMT Commuter Train and CIT Presque'Ile Transportation were free to all. Also Highway 30 to the south shore has waved all tolls. Many other roads are closed on the West Island and in Vaudreuil.

Volunteers are still required to fill sandbags in numerous communities. Riguad, Pointe Fortune, Vaudreuil, Ile Perrot and Ile Cadieux all require volunteer assistance. Mayor Denis Coderre announced this morning that the state of emergency, currently in effect for Montreal, will be extended another 5 days. As the Ottawa River begins to stabilize, water levels are forecast to rise on the St. Lawrence River. According to Hydro Meteo, water levels should begin to drop across the entire region by late this week. Adding insult to injury this morning, were a few snowflakes in the Montreal region, a rare May treat.

To date, 2500 residences have been directly impacted by the flood in over 150 municipalities. Mandatory evacuations are being enforced today in sections of Rigaud. The SQ Police and Armed Forces are carrying these out. In Gatineau, Federal employees were told to stay home today. Back in Montreal, dozens of schools were closed, as was McGill University. There are over 1200 Canadian Armed Forces on the ground in metro Montreal, assisting residents and authorities with flood relief.

The Quebec Government has pledged half a million dollars to the Red Cross flood relief fund. Those wishing to donate can do so at this link.

Sunday, May 07, 2017

Montreal declares state of emergency as flooding persists

Sandbagging was underway on 1st Avenue in Terrasse-Vaudreuil on Sunday afternoon. Major flooding is occurring close to the shoreline and onto Île Sunset. SQ Police and Terrasse-Vaudreuil Firefighters were on scene. The same is true on the other side of Highway 20 in Pincourt. (Photo Valley Weather)
Flood Warning remains in effect for Montreal.

As flood waters continue to rise around the Island of Montreal, the city has declared a state of emergency, effective immediately, for at least the next 48 hours. A state of emergency is also in effect for Laval. Major flooding is occurring in municipalities around the Lake of Two Mountains, as well as Vaudreuil Bay and Riviere des Prairies. The water has risen over 10cm in the last 24 hours in Pierrefonds, and is expected rise even more over the next 36 hours. Evacuations have been ordered on portions of Ile Bizard as well as Ile Cadieux and Ile Mercier. Flooding has also spread onto Ile Perrot, including Terrasse-Vaudreuil and Pincourt. Sandbagging is underway across the region. Over 1000 residents have been asked to evacuate. Nearly 1200 Canadian Armed Forces Troops have been deployed to assist residents and emergency personal. Numerous roads are closed, including Pierrefonds, Gouin and Saint John`s Boulevard. Police were also blocking roads to a section of Terasse Vaudreuil, south of Highway 20 near Boulevard Perrot, and in parts of Pincourt.

Heavy rain falls on a flooded street in Rigaud on Saturday. (Ville de Riguad via Facebook)
Since the start of the month, 70mm of rain has fallen on Montreal, with even more north and west of the city. This followed the wettest April on record for the city, as well as several late season snowstorms. Major flooding is also occurring along the Ottawa River from Gatineau to Montreal. The forecast calls for cool, showery weather through at least Wednesday.

Friday, May 05, 2017

The rain just won't stop in southern Quebec

Record flooding continues on Ile Mercier off Ile Bizard shown above, and across southern Quebec. (Facebook Photo)
Flood Warning remains in effect for metro Montreal and Laval.

Widespread record flooding continues across southern and western Quebec tonight, with another 25mm of rain falling Friday in Montreal. Quebec Public Security Minister, Martin Coiteux, has requested and will receive Federal assistance in the from of the Canadian Armed Forces. The soldiers will be deployed as soon as possible. Their exact role will be determined shortly, but could involve sandbagging or help with evacuations.

Over 100 Quebec municipalities are dealing with flooding, including the hard-hit region of metro Montreal and Laval. Water levels continue to climb here on L'Ile Perrot and in Vaudreuil/Dorion. Minor flooding is being reported in both communities. In Vaudreuil, St Charles Avenue is now closed between Querbes and Chemin Paul-Gerin-Lajoie. A large stretch of Pierrefonds Boulevard on the West Island remains closed as well.

The rain has tapered off for the time being, but more is forecast through the weekend. A large upper level low will meander across eastern Ontario and southern Quebec through early next week. Thunderstorms are even possible on Saturday. Another 25mm of rain is over the weekend. According to Hydro Meteo, water levels are forecast to rise into early next week in and around the Island of Montreal.

A request has also been made by New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo, to release water from the Moses-Saunders Power Dam at Massena, New York. This would in turn add more water to the already swollen St Lawrence Seaway.

Thursday, May 04, 2017

More rain heightens flood concerns in Montreal

The swollen St. Lawrence River is flooding parks close to the shoreline on L'Ile Perrot Wednesday, May 3. (ValleyWeather Photo) 
More rain is forecast for Montreal and points north and west of city over the next 36 hours. Another potent storm system is forecast to arrive early Friday and linger well into next week. Rainfall warnings are in effect across Gatineau and eastern Ontario. Another 25 to 50mm (1 to 2 inches) of rain is possible from early Friday through Sunday. Flood warnings remain posted for southern Quebec, with water levels the highest they have been in almost 40 years. Flooding is occurring along the Ottawa River as well as Riviere-des-Prairies and the Milles Iles River. Water poured into basements and streets on Ile Mericer as well as Ile Bizzard and Pierrefonds. Ile Verte is under a mandatory evacuation. Residents of the 22 homes on the island have been told to leave. Parts of Gouin and Pierrefonds Boulevard are also suffering flooding. Flooding is also occurring on Ile Perrot and in Sainte-Anne-de-Bellevue as the St. Lawrence River continues to rise. So far it has been confined to the immediate shoreline, boardwalks and parks.

The foot of 34th Avenue on L'Ile Perrot late Wednesday, May 3. (ValleyWeather Photot)
Montreal Firefighters and municipal workers have been patrolling the hardest hit areas, checking on residents, offering assistance and sandbags where needed. According to Hydro Meteo, water levels will begin to stabilize or even drop slightly over the next 24 hours. Afterwards the new rainfall will begin to filter into the system with more flooding anticipated.

Above and Below: Numerous homes and roads remain flooding in the Montreal West Island Borough of Pierrefonds-Roxboro. (Photo from Borough Mayor Dimitrios Jim Beis)
In Riguad, west of Montreal, over 400 homes remain flooded. That number is likely to increase as water levels along the Ottawa River climb with the new rainfall forecast.

(Photo from Borough Mayor Dimitrios Jim Beis via Facebook).

Sunday, April 30, 2017

Unsettled cold wet start to May in Montreal

A late season winter storm dumped 6 to 12 inches of snow on portions of Colorado including metro Denver. (Photo A. Comeau)
The wet weather of April will sadly continue into the start of May across southern Quebec. Flood concerns are easing for the time being, but are highly dependent on the upcoming rainy weather. To date 150.8mm of precipitation has fallen in Montreal for the month of April. With just a few hours left in the month, and rain to our west, we may nudge into second place or perhaps even first, 158.8mm set in 2005. Unfortunately we are looking at very cool temperatures this Sunday morning, only 4C (39F) currently. With increasing northeast winds and cloud cover, expect a very cool day in Montreal, perhaps 6C (43F) for a high. Clouds and rain along with cool weather will prevail for most of this upcoming week.

A powerful wedge tornado shown on the ground near Canton, Texas Saturday evening. (Weather Nation Photo)
Fire and Ice
A strengthening storm system located over the central US, is forecast to move into the Great Lakes on Monday. A warm front ahead of the storm, will produce rain in southern Ontario and Quebec over the next 24 to 36 hours. Amounts may exceed 50mm (2 inches), especially where thunderstorms occur. There may even be some wet snow in the upper elevations of southern Quebec, New York and Vermont and the backside of the storm late Monday.

This storm had been powerful and deadly. Strong thunderstorms and long lasting tornadoes occurred in Texas and Oklahoma on Saturday evening. In Canton, Texas, five fatalities and multiple injuries were reported from a large and violent wedge tornado. Widespread damage was reported across central and northeast Texas. Lightning from the severe storms also sparked several house fires. Elsewhere, torrential rain has produced major flooding in Missouri and Arkansas, northward into Illinois. On the backside of the storm, unseasonably cold air is producing a narrow band of heavy wet snow and near blizzard conditions. The snow stretched from Colorado, including metro Denver where nearly 8 inches fell, northeast across western Kansas. Snow is forecast into the Dakotas, Minnesota, southern Manitoba and northwest Ontario today into Monday. The late season heavy snow has toppled trees and power lines.

Monday, April 24, 2017

Water levels slowly receding in southern Quebec

Above and Below: The swollen Ottawa River slowly receding at Parc de la Maison Valois in Vaudreuil-Dorion. (ValleyWeather Photo) 
The rain has ended for the short-term, and water levels are slowly receding across the Ottawa River basin, into southern Quebec. Over 400 homes were under evacuation orders in Rigaud, west of Montreal, and a state of emergency remains in effect. Some of those residents chose to leave while others remained in their homes. Numerous roads in the region were impassable due to the rising waters. Closer to Montreal, minor flooding occurred in several shoreline communities on the West Island and in Laval. Municipalities such as Hudson and Vaudreuil-Dorion made sandbags available to those residents who required them. Water levels along St Charles Avenue in Vaudreuil were quite high late last week, with flooding reported at Parc de la Maison Valois, as well as near Chateau Vaudreuil. Over the weekend, the water was nearly level with Highway 40 near the approach to the Ile aux Tourtes Bridge. Water also crept up onto the boardwalk in Sainte-Anne-de-Bellevue.

Sunshine finally returned to the region on Sunday, along with warmer temperatures. We will have a short break to start the week, with sunshine forecast, however more rain is on the way. Low pressure is expected to develop over coastal North Carolina early this week and move towards New England. Clouds and showers will return late Tuesday and persist into next weekend. There is even the risk of isolated thunderstorms on Friday. The rain will be scattered and not continuous. Temperatures should warm again this week, reaching 20C (68F) by Thursday. Montreal has recorded one of the wettest starts to any year, dating back to 1872. Additionally, April 2017 is now one of the top 5 wettest. To date 138.6mm of precipitation has fallen, the record is 158.8mm, established in 2005.


Thursday, April 20, 2017

More rain equals more flooding for southern Quebec

Flooding along the Ottawa River at Pointe Fortune, Quebec. (Traversier le Passeur Photo) 
Flooding concerns continue to mount tonight across southern Quebec and eastern Ontario, with more rain in the forecast. A state of emergency has been declared in Rigaud, northwest of Montreal, as a result of flooding from the Ottawa and Rigaud Rivers. Melting snow upstream, combined with heavy rain during the month of April, have pushed the Ottawa River and its tributaries to near record levels. In Rigaud, evacuations have been ordered, with numerous roads impassable. All that water continues to flow towards Montreal and Laval. Water levels along the rivers surrounding Montreal, as well as on Lake of Two Mountains and Lac Saint Louis, are producing flooding. Greatest concern at this time are low-lying areas in Laval, as well as Sainte-Anne-de-Bellevue, Pierrefonds, Senneville and Ile Bizard. Minor flooding is also occurring along the shoreline of L'Ile Perrot. The Town of Hudson is also watching Lake of Two Mountains which is expected to rise by several centimetres into this weekend. Sandbags are being made available by that municipality.

Laval communities are on high alert as flooding continues along the Milles Iles and Riviere des Prairies. (Radio Canada Photo)
Southeast of Montreal, Lake Champlain reached flood stage of 100 feet on Tuesday, but has since lowered slightly. Minor flooding is occurring along shore front communities in upstate New York and Vermont, northward into the Richelieu Valley of Quebec. More rain and isolated thunderstorms are in the forecast as low pressure moves from the Great Lakes into eastern Ontario on Friday. Rain will develop early Friday and taper of Saturday. Another 15-20mm is possible for the entire region.

Monday, April 17, 2017

Flood watch posted across southern Quebec

Lac St-Louis lapping at the shoreline of L'Ile Perrot early Monday morning. Minor flooding is occurring around the lake, as water levels continue to slowly rise. (ValleyWeather Photo)
Above-normal precipitation, along with seasonal snow melt, has prompted authorities to issue a flood watch for southern Quebec, including metro Montreal. According to Quebec water watchdog Hydro Meteo, several rivers have or will exceed flood stage this week. They include, but are not limited to, the Ottawa, St. Lawrence, Mille Iles and Riviere des Prairies around Montreal and Laval. The Richelieu River, southeast of Montreal, is also on the rise, as is Lake Champlain, which is expected to approach 100 feet this week. The normal level for the lake is either side of 95 feet. North of Montreal, flooding has already occurred in Rawdon, along the Ouareau River. In Mirabel, 22 homes have been evacuated.

Moderate flooding is occurring north of Montreal in Rawdon, Val Morin, Val David and Mirabel, shown above. (CBC Photo)
Minor flooding is anticipated along river roads in and around the entire region. Rivers and lakes are swollen, and in some cases, with rapid and erratic water levels and flows. Caution is advised near any body of water. Precipitation amounts in southern Quebec over the last two months have been well above normal values. In March, Montreal measured 114.6mm of precipitation at Trudeau Airport. The 30-year average is 69.1mm. To date in April, over 114mm of precipitation has fallen, with only half the month gone. April usually records 82.2mm for the entire month. A break in the rain is expected on Tuesday, before another series of storms arrives for Wednesday through Friday. Low pressure is forecast to approach New England Wednesday, spreading rain into southern Quebec. Another 25mm is expected. Additional flooding is likely.

Monday, April 10, 2017

A month's worth of rain in four days in Montreal

Just one of the hundreds of Quebec homes impacted by heavy rain and flooding over the weekend. Hardest hit were Sainte-Thérèse and Mirabel, but numerous other communities were impacted as well. (CTV News)
The weather across southern Quebec has gone from winter to summer in less than a week. That is fantastic, as long as you are not one of the hundreds of residents affected by flooding. The combination of very heavy rain, melting snow and ice jams has created moderate to major flooding in several regions of the province.

Trudeau Airport recorded 84.4mm of rain between April 4 and 7. The long-term normal rainfall for the entire month of April is 67.7mm. The heavy rainfall, combined with the snow melt from March storms, produced both sewer backup and river flooding. Hundreds of Quebec homes have had basements inundated with water and mud. Hardest hit to date have been the lower Laurentians, including Mirabel and Sainte-Thérèse. Numerous homes have also received flooding in Two Mountains and parts of Laval, along Lake of Two Mountains. There has even been flooding reported on the Island of Montreal. Currently, Lac St-Louis is running at record levels, 22.13 metres as of April 4th. Over the weekend, the Ottawa River was almost level with Avenue St-Charles in Vaudreuil.

Flooding north of Montreal (Global News)

Most of Quebec is currently under a flood watch as more rain is forecast. As I am writing this blog, temperatures have soared to near record highs in southern Quebec. L'Ile Perrot reached 27C (81F) at 1pm Monday, while the airport is slightly cooler at 25C (77F). The record high for the date is 26.1C (79F) set in 1945. While most of the snow is gone in metro Montreal, there is still plenty upstream, along the Ottawa River Valley and into the Laurentians. Rapid snow melt will continue to be a problem, adding to the high water levels. Vigilance is recommended near any rivers or lakes, through at least the end of the month. Cooler air is on the way for the balance of the week. Seasonable daytime highs near 10C (50F) are expected. However, rain is forecast as well. A cold front will produce scattered showers and thunderstorms tonight and Tuesday. Another 10 to 15mm of rain is expected.

Thursday, April 06, 2017

Another round of heavy rain for southern Quebec and Ontario

A strong storm system will produce more heavy rain across southern Quebec over the next 24 to 36 hours. (AccuWeather)
Strengthening low pressure will slowly move from the Ohio Valley into New York State today. This storm will be responsible for a wide variety of severe weather, from the southern US northward into the Great Lakes, as well as Ontario and Quebec. Environment Canada has posted a heavy rainfall warning for southern Quebec, as well as most of southern and eastern Ontario. Flood watches are in effect across New York and New England. Southern Quebec and eastern Ontario can expect heavy rain once again, starting by the noon hour today and continuing into the overnight hours. As colder air wraps around the back end of the storm, the rain will change to snow west of Ottawa and across central Ontario tonight. In Montreal, we are expecting 25 to 40mm of rain. This amount is in addition to the 35mm the city received on Tuesday. Minor flooding was reported already, with the new rain adding to the sharp rises on rivers and streams. Temperatures will remain chilly, in the 3 to 5C (38 to 41F) range through Saturday. Winds will become rather strong and gusty in the St. Lawrence Valley, up to 60km/h.

The expected track of this low pressure would have produced a major snowstorm last month, but enough warm air is in place to guarantee rain for Montreal. Further north, heavy wet snow is expected. The same storm system produced widespread severe weather across Indiana and Georgia, stretching into the Carolina's Wednesday and today. Multiple tornadoes produced damage and injuries. More strong thunderstorms are expected today.

Behind the storm, a surge of warm air will arrive by Monday in Quebec and Ontario. Temperatures are expected to rise into the upper teens in Montreal.

Monday, April 03, 2017

More springlike with heavy rain forecast for Montreal

Spring flooding, such as that shown above in Huntigdon in 2014, is possible this week across southern Quebec. (CBC Photo)
Environment Canada has issued heavy rainfall warnings for portions of the St. Lawrence Valley. The first of two potent low pressure areas will begin to impact southern Quebec on Tuesday. Steady rain should move into Montreal early Tuesday and continue into Wednesday. Expect between 25 and 37mm (1 to 1.50 inches) of rain. The rain will cause sharp rises in area rivers and streams and could lead to some flooding. At this time no flood watches or warnings are in effect. North of Montreal, a period of freezing rain is possible early Tuesday. Closer to Quebec City and points north and east, snow is likely before a changeover to mixed precipitation and eventually rain. Icy travel is expected in those regions. Temperatures in Montreal will remain above freezing Tuesday, with lows near 2C (36F) and daytime highs of 5C (41F).

After a brief respite Wednesday afternoon, a stronger storm will move from the lower Mississippi Valley towards New York State. This system will deliver another 25 to 50mm (1 to 2 inches) of rain to southern Quebec through Friday. The rain will begin early Thursday morning and become heavy at times. The combination of heavy rain, melting snow and ice breaking up on rivers and streams, will elevate the flood risk once again as we head towards the end of the week. Monitor river levels closely, especially if you live in flood prone areas of southern Quebec.

Thursday, March 30, 2017

More snow forecast for southern Quebec and Ontario

A late winter storm will provide plenty of sloppy travel across the Northeast US, southern Quebec, and eastern Ontario, from Friday into early Saturday. (AccuWeather)
Stubborn low pressure over eastern Canada has maintained a cool northerly flow for most of this week in Montreal. Combined with low clouds and fog, it has not been a very pleasant stretch of weather. Sunshine will make a brief appearance Thursday as high pressure crests over the area. This will provide us with a near perfect early spring day, expect a high temperature near 7C (45F) and light winds.

Late Winter Storm
Now the bad news, the good weather will be very short-lived. Low pressure is forecast to develop today and strengthen as it move across the Ohio Valley and southern New England on Friday. A plume of moisture arrives Friday in the form of snow mixed with a cold rain. All precipitation goes over to wet snow late Friday evening in Montreal, becoming heavy at times. Forecast accumulations appear to be in the 10 to 20cm range, the highest in northern New York, Vermont and the Eastern Townships. Montreal and Ottawa should have close to 10cm by Saturday morning. The storm will be terrain driven, with the highest accumulations expected in the hills and mountains, lowest amounts on the valley floors. Some mountain locations in southern New England may see up to 30cm (1 foot) of heavy wet snow. The weight of the snow may pose a problem to power lines and trees depending on how much you receive. The temperature in Montreal will be 3C (38F) Friday, but drop once the snow starts to around the freezing point. Precipitation should end Saturday, along with partial clearing and milder temperatures. It should all be a bad memory by Sunday, with sunshine expected and a high of 10C (50F) in Montreal.

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Warmer weather returns - but first freezing rain for Montreal

Not very spring-like, but still beautiful on L'Ile Perrot and across southern Quebec early Saturday morning. This was the result of a surprise 10-15cm snowfall on Friday. (ValeyWX Photo)
Environment Canada has posted a freezing rain warning for southern Quebec and eastern Ontario. Low pressure over the southern US will push a warm front north towards the Canadian border on Monday. This is the same front that delivered a surprise, heavy snowfall on Friday to both Montreal and Ottawa. Most forecasters were expecting a limited snowfall of perhaps 2-4cm. Montreal received 11.4cm of snow, breaking the daily record for March 24 of 8.6cm established in 1991. Ottawa received 22cm of snow, smashing the 50 year old daily record of 6.4cm set in 1966.

The aforementioned warm front returns today, pushing an area of precipitation ahead of it this afternoon, into the colder air at the surface here in Montreal. A period of freezing rain is forecast from late this evening into the overnight hours. Temperatures are cold this morning, -7C (19F) in Montreal, but will warm above freezing overnight. By Monday, plain rain is expected with improving travel conditions, and a high of 2C (36F). Before the temperature warms however, a decent 2 to 10mm of ice is expected across the region. Travel will be impacted from late this afternoon into the wee hours of Monday morning. 

The same icy conditions are expected in northern New York and New England. The balance of the week will be much milder, with daytime highs approaching 10C (50F). Perhaps spring has finally sprung...perhaps.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Spring has sprung across southern Quebec - or has it?

A local garden centre on L'Ile Perrot welcomed the arrival of spring this weekend by placing flowers out, in spite of all the snow from last week's blizzard. (ValleyWeather Photo)
Spring officially arrived at 6:29am on Monday morning, along with sunny and mild weather. The massive snowstorm from last week is quickly becoming a painful-but-distant memory. Tons of snow have either melted or been carted away. On average, over 90 percent of city streets have already been cleared, aided by mild weather and no additional snow. The normal daytime high for Montreal is now above freezing at 5C (41F). However, we still have some winter left to go...

ARCTIC FRONT
A rather strong arctic front will push across southern Quebec late this evening and into the overnight hours. The front will be accompanied by brief, but at times intense, snow squalls. A dusting of perhaps 3 or 4cm of snow is possible. Winds will become strong and gusty out of the northwest, up to 60km/h. More importantly, the temperature will plummet to early-morning lows of -15C (5F) across southern Quebec. Wet roads will likely freeze rapidly late tonight, with icy spots and slick driving expected into the morning commute. Windchill values will drop into the minus 20s. Wednesday will be windy and cold with flurries. Temperatures will struggle to reach -10C (14F). The weather will moderate quickly in the latter part of the week. Sunshine is expected Thursday, with high temperatures approaching 0C (32F). More precipitation should arrive on Friday and persist into the upcoming weekend.

Friday, March 17, 2017

The calm after the storm - Blizzard 2017 vs 1971

The massive $25 million cleanup is underway in Montreal. Nearly 10,000km of roads need to be cleared of the 50cm of snow from the blizzard of 2017. (CTV News)
The list of impactful winter storms in Montreal and southern Quebec is way too long for this blog. The '98 ice storm certainly is the champion, there is no disputing that. Having said that, there are a few others that stand out. Each storm is different than the one before. What can be a disruptive and memorable storm for some, proves to be nothing but a nuisance for others. Often, it depends on your own experience as to whether or not a storm is memorable. As I have often written, I lean towards the 1971 storm, both from the science side and from my own personal experience.


The calm after the storm. Skies have cleared and milder temperatures are helping with the big clean-up. (ValleyWeather)

March 13-15 2017
Of the many snowstorms that have hit the city in the last 100 hundred years, three have stood out above all the others:  March 3-5, 1971, March 13-14, 1993 and December 27, 2012. You can now add a very respectful March 14-15, 2017 to the mix. The numbers from this week's storm are impressive to say the least. Total snowfall ranged between 40-80cm across southern Quebec. In Montreal, the bulk of the 40-50cm fell in less than 12 hours. A peak wind gust of 106km/h was recorded at Trudeau Airport, the strongest in March since the 1971 storm. Blizzard conditions were observed for 8 consecutive hours. Several highways were closed, littered with cars in some cases. A rash of major multi-vehicle accidents occurred. The Highway 13 fiasco will be talked about for decades to come. At least 8 fatalities are now being blamed on the storm. An entire generation of school kids had their first snow day ever, a very rare occurrence in Montreal these past few decades.

December 27, 2012 
In December 2012, Montreal recorded 45.6cm of snow in less than 24 hours, breaking the long standing record from 1971. The storm occurred during the holiday season, so the impact was minimal, as most people were already at home. The snow was extremely heavy, but the wind rather tame by winter-storm standards, less than 50km/h. At no point in 2012 were true blizzard conditions observed at Trudeau Airport. Roads were clear the next morning.

March 13-14, 1993
The March 1993 Superstorm was a powerhouse. The impact of this large winter storm was felt from the Gulf of Mexico to the Arctic Circle. In southern Quebec, the storm arrived on Saturday evening into early Sunday morning. The timing offset the full impact of 41cm in less than 12 hours. Numerous roads were impassable, but only for a few hours. Wind speeds were in the 40 to 70km/h range. At no point were blizzard conditions reported at Trudeau Airport.

The 1971 "Storm of The Century" still stands out as the worst snowstorm to hit Montreal. The 43.2cm that fell on March 4, 1971 was driven by winds in excess of 100km/h. The blizzard closed the city for days. (Photo: Montreal Archives)

March 3-5, 1971
The March 3-5, 1971 "Storm of the Century" still ranks as the biggest snowstorm to strike the city. The amount of snow that was already on the ground in 1971, combined with unseasonable cold and relentless winds over 80km/h, produced a fierce blizzard in Montreal. Many roads closed, forcing commuters to stay in the city, packing downtown hotels. The storm dumped close to 50cm on Montreal over two days. True blizzard conditions were observed for almost 11 hours, including 5 consecutive hours with zero visibility. Widespread power outages occurred. The city came to an abrupt halt for nearly three days. The Montreal Canadiens had to cancel a game, the one and only time ever due to weather. Drifts were over 6 feet high, with 30 fatalities attributed to the storm.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Record breaking snowstorm slams Montreal

Motorists spent the night on Highway 13 south in Lachine. (CJAD)

42cm of snow and counting on L'Ile Perrot (ValleyWeather)

Powerful winds and heavy snow have placed this storm among the greatest hits of Montreal, March 4, 1971 and March 13, 1993.

What a storm! Heavy snow combined with very strong winds swept across southern Quebec on Tuesday afternoon. The snow resulted in an evening commute, that is some cases continued into the overnight. Visibility was less than 400 metres for over 5 hours, this classifies this storm as an official blizzard. The snow fell in Montreal at a rate of 3-5cm an hour between 5 and 8pm. A peak wind gust of 106km/h was recorded around 6pm.

This morning, we are left with over 40cm on the ground in Montreal, 60-75cm from south shore St. Hubert into the Townships. Numerous highways remain closed this morning, including Highway 13 south near Highway 20. This was the scene of a truck accident last evening that resulted in motorists spending the night in their cars. Officially, Montreal Trudeau Airport measured 32cm for the day, surpassing the previous record of 24.9cm set in 1961. Most of the snow fell in the 2pm to midnight time frame on Tuesday. Major multi-vehicle accidents occurred along Highway 20 near St. Zotique, Highway 10 near Granby and Highway 401 near Mallorytown, Ontario. All three accidents have closed those roads. In the Mallortytown accident, one fatality was reported, along with a dozen injuries.

Schools and Universities are closed today in Montreal, Laval, Vaudreuil and across the Townships. Additional snowfall of 5-10cm is likely today across southern Quebec, along with blowing and drifting snow. Winds are forecast in the 30 to 50km/h range. Avoid travel if possible.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Massive winter storm blasts southern Quebec and Ontario

Highway 401 remains closed this afternoon at Mallorytown, Ontario, west of Brockville, after a major accident involving 30 vehicles.
Blizzard conditions have moved into southern Quebec this afternoon, making travel very dangerous. Heavy snow, falling at a rate of 3 to 4cm an hour, is forecast for the next several hours in Montreal. Winds are increasing at this hour, gusting to 65km/h at Trudeau, with the visibility down to 0.4km. Highways are treacherous to say the least, with numerous accidents reported. Highway 20 is closed at St. Zotique, Quebec. Highway 401 is closed in both directions at Mallorytown, Ontario, after a 30 car collision involving several trucks and a chemical spill. There are reports of serious accidents on Highway 40 in Montreal and Highway 30 on the South Shore. Highway 15 south of the city to the US border is not recommended. New York State Police have closed Interstate 87 from Champlain to Albany. You will be turned around at the border.

All this weather is thanks to a very strong Nor'Easter located near Cape Cod this afternoon. The storm is forecast to move northeast into Maine on Wednesday. Heavy snow and strong winds will continue in southern Quebec through Wednesday morning, with 30 to 50cm expected. Travel is being discouraged. There are many delays at Trudeau Airport. Call ahead. The temperature remains cold in Montreal, -9C with a windchill around -20C. Temperatures will remain steady throughout the storm.

Blizzard conditions to impact Montreal

A powerful winter storm will give Montreal blizzard conditions later today. (AccuWeather)
Winter Storm and Blizzard Warnings are posted across southern Quebec, eastern Ontario, New England and New York today. Low pressure is travelling close to the coast, therefore more snow is forecast for our region.

Blizzard conditions are expected in the St Lawrence Valley, including Montreal and Quebec City today, as a large winter storm develops along the American east coast. The storm in question is deepening rapidly this morning near Norfolk, Virginia. The low pressure will strengthen and lift northeast towards Long Island by this afternoon. Snow will move from south to north today and reach Montreal by midday. Very light snow is occurring locally this morning, well ahead of the main show. The steady snow will arrive by noon and taper off Wednesday. Accumulations of 20 to 30cm are likely in Montreal, with 15-25cm in eastern Ontario, and 30-60cm in the Townships and New England. Winds will increase dramatically this afternoon, gusting from 50 to 100km/h in the St Lawrence Valley. The temperature will remain cold through the storm, within a couple of degrees of -8C (18F).

Blizzard
The National Weather Service in Burlington has gone ahead and upgraded the warnings to blizzard status for their side of the St. Lawrence Valley. Environment Canada defines a blizzard as 40km/h winds, falling or blowing snow, and visibility below 400m (0.25 mile) for at least 4 hours. This criteria will likely be met in Montreal later today and this evening. Travel across the entire region is not recommended today. This is especially true for any highways along the St. Lawrence River including Highway 20 to Quebec City and Highway 401 to Toronto. Some New England states actually have travel bans in place. Air travel has already been severely impacted, with thousand of flights cancelled today, call ahead. This storm has the potential to be quite historic for many locations.

Monday, March 13, 2017

Powerful Nor'Easter to impact St. Lawrence Valley

The forecast arrival time of the snow from late Monday into Tuesday. (AccuWeather.com)
A very strong winter storm is poised to bring heavy snow and strong winds to Montreal and most of southern Quebec, from midday Tuesday through Wednesday.

Winter storm warnings are now in effect for southern Quebec, New Brunswick and all of New England. Blizzard warnings are posted for coastal regions from New Jersey to Maine. Low pressure is forecast to develop east of Cape Hatteras tonight and move northeast towards Cape Cod. The rapidly-deepening storm is forecast to become a classic Nor'Easter, fueled by Atlantic moisture and backed by the record-cold air that lies inland over our region. Snow is forecast to spread from south to north on Tuesday, reaching Montreal after the noon hour. The snow will become heavy, driven by increasing northeast winds of 70 to 100km/h in the St. Lawrence Valley.

Widespread blowing snow will make travel very difficult across the entire northeast and Quebec. Visibility will frequently be reduced to near zero. Portions of eastern Ontario will also have heavy snow and blowing snow. Storm totals are expected to be in the 15 to 30cm range in Montreal, 30 to 45cm in the Townships and New England, and 10 to 15cm in eastern Ontario. Temperatures will remain cold throughout the storm, with no risk at all of mixing. As with all coastal storms, these numbers are based on the current forecast track. Any deviation in that track can increase or decrease snow amounts significantly. Updates will be posted frequently via twitter @valleyweather2 and @TheSuburbanNews.

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Late winter storm to impact southern Quebec

A strengthening coastal storm will impact southern and eastern Quebec this week. (AccuWeather)
As is often the case, March can be a very difficult month to get through. Many large winter storms have impacted Montreal over the decades, and this March may be no different. We are coming off an extremely cold weekend, with high temperatures on Saturday of -15C, and Sunday -12C, over 15 degrees below normal. The weather will remain very cold to start this week, along with a potential major winter storm. The storm in question is forecast to develop rapidly off  the Carolina coast on Monday, and approach southern New England by Tuesday. The system will then lift northeast into Atlantic Canada. Montreal will remain on the northwest edge of this classic Nor'Easter, with snow developing midday Tuesday and persisting into Wednesday morning. Strong winds are expected as well, creating blowing and drifting snow.

What is not clear at this time, is how much snow will fall. As is often the case with coastal storms, a difference in the storm track of  less than 100km can mean 30cm of snow or just flurries here in Montreal. At this time, guidance suggests 10-15cm for Montreal, with less snow north of the city and over 30cm as you move south into the Townships, Vermont and New York. Travel will be impacted, not just here in Montreal, but also up and down the northeast US coast. A winter storm watch is in effect for Vermont and New York. Watches or warnings may be posted for portions of Quebec by Monday. Along the coast, blizzard conditions are forecast in New York City and Boston, along with very strong winds and potential coastal flooding.

This is a rapidly changing weather situation. I will post further updates on Monday.

Thursday, March 09, 2017

Wild windstorm blasts Ontario and Great Lakes basin

Just one of the hundreds of trees that fell across the Great Lakes basin on Wednesday. (CBC Windsor)
We can call it the storm that just won't go away. A monster of a low-pressure system that developed in Montana last weekend is still spinning across far northern Canada. The storm has been responsible for one form or another of severe weather for almost half the North American continent. The week started with a ferocious blizzard across the northern plains and eastern Prairies. Brandon, Manitoba had 41cm of fresh snow, along with winds of 90km/h, producing an incredible 31 consecutive hours of visibility below 400m (0.25 miles). Lynn Lake had 67cm of snow. The storm center deepened rapidly as it swept north, with a hurricane-like low pressure of 95.03kPa (950mb) at Winnipeg, Manitoba, 93.41 kPa (934mb) at Kenora, Ontario and 93.25 kPa (932mb) at Sioux Lookout, Ontario.

The strong winds not only produced the blizzard, but also fanned brush fires in the southern plains and Midwest. In addition to the wind, strong thunderstorms and tornadoes produced widespread damage, with fatalities across the central US.

By Wednesday, it was the Great Lakes region, southern Ontario and even western Quebec that felt the impact of this system. Winds gusted over 100km/h from Michigan and Ohio into western New York and Ontario. The wind cut power to millions of homes, one million in Michigan alone. According to Hydro One, 68,000 clients were in the dark in southwest Ontario. Numerous accidents were reported, as semi-trucks were blown off highways. Ontario Provincial Police were forced to close the Burlington Skyway for hours, after it became too dangerous to negotiate. Widespread structural damage and tree loss were reported. Many of those trees crashed onto homes and cars. Extensive damage was also observed in western New York, including Greece, Rochester and Buffalo. In Detroit, an arson fire was blown out of control by 100km/h winds, resulting in five fatalities. In Ontario, a peak wind of 115km/h was observed at Hamilton, with 91km/h at Toronto Island. In Montreal, winds gusted to 85km/h around 4pm. In the wake of the storm, frigid air will pour into southern Ontario and Quebec over the next few days. Winds in southern Quebec will continue to gust between 30 and 50km/h through Friday.

Wednesday, March 08, 2017

The temperature roller coaster ride continues for Montreal

The strongest winter storm of the season is winding down in Manitoba and Saskatchewan today, after two days of 90km/h winds and zero visibility. (Photo: Manitoba RCMP via Twitter)
March is often a month of sharp contrast as winter and spring try to negotiate the atmosphere. In the last week, Montreal has had record high temperatures, as well as overnight lows in the minus 20s. On Monday night, over 7mm of freezing rain produced icy roads and sidewalks leading to numerous accidents. Today however, the temperature is all the way up to 9C (48F) at Trudeau Airport, just a couple of degrees shy of yet another record high. But you guessed it, this will not last. Two potent cold fronts are in our future, associated with a strong winter storm that swept from Montana north towards Hudson Bay.

The first cold front will arrive Wednesday night, with a couple of centimetres of snow and plunging temperatures. By Thursday morning, the mercury will have fallen all the way to -5C (23F). A second stronger arctic front will arrive late Friday, accompanied by gusty winds, snow squalls and even colder temperatures. This weekend will be a repeat of the last, expect plenty of sunshine, but with frigid temperatures for March, lows near -20C (-4F) and daytime highs of -10C (14F). As we look ahead into next week, the colder than normal temperatures will remain through at least mid-week. There is also the potential for some accumulating snow on Tuesday. The eventual track and intensity of the system will dictate how much snow may affect southern Quebec. At this time, Montreal may remain on the northern edge of the system

Prairie Blizzard
Over the last 48 hours, a fierce blizzard has raged over portions of Manitoba and eastern Saskatchewan. Heavy snow and strong winds, in excess of 90km/h, have produced hours of zero visibility. The blizzard conditions forced the closure of dozens of highways, including the Trans Canada, stranding hundreds of travelers. Dangerously cold temperatures accompanied the storm, the strongest of the winter season. In Estevan, visibility was less than 1kilometre for over 36 hours, from late Monday into Wednesday. This included at least 9 consecutive hours of zero visibility. The weather made travel virtually impossible. The storm arrived suddenly late Monday, with the mercury falling in Winnipeg from 6C (43F) down to -6C (21F) in less than one hour. Winds are beginning to lighten Wednesday as the storm moves north into Hudson Bay.

Thursday, March 02, 2017

Arctic chill returns to Montreal

Thin ice remains on the St. Lawrence River off L'Ile Perrot. Low clouds, fog and a stubborn northeast wind on Wednesday, prevented Montreal from reaching record high temperatures. Such was not the case in locations just to our south and west, where temperatures were as warm as 16C. (ValleyWX Photo)
In a scenario similar to this past weekend, record highs are being followed by arctic air in southern Quebec. On Tuesday, Montreal reached 8.3C (48F), tying the record high for the date, set in 1954. Wednesday, a stubborn northeast wind separated Montreal from the warm air just to our south and west. While Trudeau Airport squeezed out a 7C (45F) high very late in the day, Granby, Sherbrooke, St. Anicet, Cornwall, Brockville, Massena, NY, and Burlington, Vermont all established new record highs for the date. Burlington reached 17C (63F), their third record high in less than a week. Brockville recorded 16C (61F); however, this morning they have plummeted to -9C (16F), all in less than 12 hours. Here on L'Ile Perrot, the temperature dropped from 5.4C (42F) at midnight to -7C (19F) at 7am.

A strong cold front surged across southern Quebec overnight, accompanied by a rapid temperature drop, winds in excess of 60km/h, and light snow. The light snow will persist for most of the day, accompanied by strong winds and biting windchill values. Accumulations will range from 1 to 3cm. The high temperature has been reached for the day, with the mercury falling to overnight lows of -15 to -20C in southern Quebec by Friday morning. The wind will remain gusty through Friday, producing windchill values in the minus 20s. Skies will clear out tonight, with sunshine returning through the weekend. The temperature will remain cold, with daytime highs around -8C (18F) and overnight lows down to -18C (0F). Above-normal temperatures are expected to return early next week.

Monday, February 27, 2017

Wild weekend weather

Sunday morning revealed heavy damage to a church in Franklin County, Massachusetts, after the first-ever February tornado to hit the state touched down late Saturday. (Photo via Twitter @cbsboston)
After a crazy weekend of bizarre weather, Monday has dawned relatively calm and mild in Montreal. The weekend featured strong thunderstorms, record-high temperatures, snow and whiplash-like temperature swings. On Friday night, rare February thunderstorms developed along a warm front in eastern Ontario, affecting the Ottawa Valley, and points north of Montreal. Saturday was a windy, warm day for most locations in southern Quebec. The warm air, however, had a very difficult time making it into metro Montreal, resulting in some incredible temperature contrasts. At one point Saturday afternoon, Montreal was 1C (33F), while Granby, 80km to our southeast, was 16C (61F) and Burlington, Vermont was 23C (73F). The 23C reading in Burlington was an all-time record high for the month of February, besting the record establish just last Thursday. By 3pm, the warmth briefly surged into Montreal, with the mercury soaring to 14.5C (57F), the warmest February day since 1981. That high also established a new daily record for Montreal, surpassing the previous of 8.9C set in 1956.

Rare February tornado
The warm air lasted less than one hour in Montreal, as a strong cold front came barreling through the region. The front featured thunder, lightning, hail, wind gusts over 70km/h at Trudeau, and very heavy rain. In just a few hours, Montreal recorded 26mm of rain, with 42mm at the McTavish weather station in downtown Montreal. The temperature fell rapidly, below freezing by midnight, with snow flurries. That same cold front produce widespread severe weather from southern Ontario into the middle Atlantic US. This included the first-ever February tornado on record in Massachusetts. The tornado, and EF-1 with 100mph winds, touched down Saturday afternoon in Franklin County. The storm caused damage and one injury.

The upcoming week will feature more mild temperatures and snow melt. Another low-pressure area will produce rain on Wednesday, with an additional 15-25mm possible. Environment Canada has posted a special weather statement for the possibility of flooding in some regions of southern Quebec. Flooding is also likely in upstate New York and northern Vermont.

Friday, February 24, 2017

An early taste of Spring for Montreal

After flirting with record high temperatures on Saturday, windy and colder weather will return Sunday, along with snow showers. (AccuWeather.com)
Record warmth followed by rapidly dropping temperatures
Thursday was one for the record books across many parts of southern Quebec and eastern Ontario as warm air surged northward. A break in the clouds pushed temperatures well into the lower to middle teens. Numerous new record high temperatures were established, including 17C (63F) in St Anicet, Quebec, Massena, NY and Cornwall, Ontario. In Toronto, the mercury hit 17.7C (64F), setting a new record high for the entire month of February. I recorded 15.6C (60F) here on L'Ile Perrot. As usual, Trudeau Airport was slightly cooler than most surrounding areas, recording 12.3C (54F), falling short of the record of 12.9C set in 1981. Burlington, Vermont posted a high of 17C (63F), also an all time high temperature for February. The snow pack has been cut by nearly two thirds since our big storm last week. The warm temperatures will increase the risk of flooding along some rivers in the region. Venturing anywhere near frozen rivers is not advisable, as the ice has become extremely unstable.

Windy and colder by Sunday
Strong low pressure over the upper Midwest is forecast to move across Lake Huron and into western Quebec this weekend. This storm is generating blizzard conditions west of the track, with severe thunderstorms to the south and east. A warm front will lift north into southern Quebec late today. Expect some rain or even spotty freezing rain along the front late today and into the overnight period. There is even the risk of some thunderstorms. Freezing rain warnings have been issued for the Ottawa Valley as well as Quebec City and regions north of Montreal. Temperatures will be much colder today, before another surge of very warm air Saturday. The high today in Montreal is expected to be 4C (39F). The temperature will then rise overnight into Saturday reaching above 10C (50F). A rather strong cold front will approach southern Quebec late in the day Saturday. Winds will become strong, 30-60km/h, along with showers and thunderstorms. Behind the front, cold air will surge into Montreal, with rapidly dropping temperatures and flurries forecast overnight into Sunday. Some locations will drop by 10 to 15 degrees in a matter of hours.Temperatures in Montreal will fall from near record highs Saturday to well below freezing, -5C (23F) by Sunday morning. Anyone travelling Saturday night should expect rapidly changing weather conditions with icy roads developing.

Monday, February 20, 2017

The big melt is on across southern Quebec

Soaring temperatures caused a rapid snow melt this past weekend. The image above shows tons of snow being removed from the side of the Centre Multisport in Vaudreuil. Residents were also chopping ice, freeing rain gutters and clearing driveways after 50cm of snow fell last week.
After nearly 50cm of snow in less than a week, southern Quebec was treated to an early taste of spring. Over the weekend, temperatures soared  above freezing into the upper single digits and teens. On Saturday, Windsor, Ontario established a new record-high temperature, reaching 19C (66F). On Sunday, another record was set at 17.9C (65F). In eastern Ontario, Cornwall recorded a high of 11C (52F) on Saturday, while Montreal reached 7.6C (47F) on Saturday and 8C (48F) on Sunday. The Sunday high was just shy of the record established during the very warm month of February 1981. Abundant sunshine accompanied the warmth, melting away almost half of the snow that fell last week. More melting can be expected this week, as mild temperatures are forecast to prevail.

High pressure will give Montreal a chilly night Monday, before warm southwest winds develop on Tuesday. A weak warm front will produce a few showers on Tuesday evening. Wednesday will be very mild again, with temperatures approaching 10C (50F) across the region. The warmth will remain into Thursday. The normal high in Montreal for late February should be -3C (27F), with overnight lows of -12C (10F).

Too early to celebrate spring
Despite the early taste of spring,  much colder air is forecast to move into Montreal by next weekend, with rain changing to snow on Saturday. The precipitation will be generated by a rather vigorous low-pressure area moving across the central Great Lakes. Rain will develop early Saturday and change to wet snow before ending Sunday. A strong cold front will produce a rapid drop in temperature Saturday night. This system will need to be monitored closely. The potential exists for a flash freeze and significant snowfall for some regions of southern Quebec late Saturday.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

More snow followed by a much warmer weekend in Montreal

Heavy snow begins to fall during the morning commute in Montreal on Wednesday morning. (ValleyWX)
A rather strong snow squall moved across southern Quebec this morning, impacting the commute in Montreal. The squall put down a quick 5 to 10cm of snow across the region. Near whiteout conditions prevailed, right in the middle of the morning rush. The snow has eased for the moment, but more squalls are possible later this morning and into the afternoon. There is plenty of instability in the atmosphere, even a rumble of thunder is possible during the most intense squalls. Tonight, low pressure will deepen rapidly off the New England coast, pumping abundant moisture back into southern Quebec. A heavy snowfall warning has been posted for the region south of Montreal to the US border and the Townships. This includes Vaudreuil/Dorion and Valleyfield. Steady snow will develop this evening, and taper off Thursday morning. Total storm accumulations for the 24 hours will be in the 15 to 25cm range across southern Quebec by morning. Less snow is forecast to the north of Montreal, with more to the south of the city.

The high temperature will be either side of 0C (32F) through the storm. Overnight low temperatures will be between -6C (21F) and -10C (14F) in Montreal. On Friday, high pressure will begin to nudge into southern Quebec with clearing skies and milder temperatures forecast. By the weekend, we will see the mercury go above freezing, up to 2C (36F) Saturday, and 6C (43F) Sunday.

Monday, February 13, 2017

Break between storms for Montreal after 30cm of snow

The storm begins on L'Ile Perrot Sunday afternoon. Between 25 and 30cm of snow has fallen on Montreal since noon Sunday. (ValleyWX Photo)
The largest winter storm of the season is all but over this morning after dumping 29cm of snow on Montreal, with more to the south and west of the city. Roads are snow-covered but passable this morning. Winds will be gusty, up to 40km/h at times, but the snow should end shortly. Here on L'Ile Perrot, I measured close to 30cm (1 foot) on my driveway this morning. On Sunday, the snow fell fast and furious, with hundreds of accidents reported across southern Quebec and into Ontario. Ottawa set a record for the day, with 28cm of snow between 10am and midnight. Toronto had 15cm, the largest storm of the winter for them. The snow delayed or cancelled hundreds of flights from Montreal to Toronto, New York and Boston. Call ahead this morning and expect delays.

The system responsible for the snow is now in the Gulf of Maine, moving rapidly towards Nova Scotia. As a result, the winds will not be as strong today as originally forecast. Blowing snow will still be problematic, but mostly off the island of Montreal. The storm will be severe today in coastal Maine and Nova Scotia, and later into Newfoundland. Some locations will see in excess of 50cm of snow along with winds up to 100km/h.

The next snow maker is already on the horizon for Montreal. Low pressure will sweep across the Great Lakes Wednesday and try to merge with a coastal low. Currently I am not expecting a big storm for Montreal, but perhaps another 5 to 10cm on top of this mess. The possibility exists for more, but that scenario is becoming less likely. Temperatures will be near normal values through the end of the week, but rise above freezing by next weekend.