Monday, June 26, 2017

Unsettled weather week ahead for Montreal

Torrential rain and thunderstorms over midwest Ontario on Friday, June 23, produced widespread flash flooding.
(CTV News London)
I hate to be the bearer of bad news for those, like myself, wanting a hot and dry summer, but it is not looking that way for the foreseeable future. This past holiday weekend, while not being a total washout here in Montreal, can best be described as unsettled. If you did not like the weather where you were, you just waited a few minutes and it changed. This made the forecast difficult at best, and the same holds true for the balance of this week. Most of this past weekend was dry here in Montreal, and temperatures were fairly warm. The heavy rain expected from the remains of tropical storm Cindy remained to our south and over Ontario.

Thunderstorms developed rapidly on Saturday, June 24 across eastern Ontario, including Cornwall, shown above. The storms, for the most part, missed the Island of Montreal. (ValleyWeather Photo)
Copious amounts of rain fell over midwestern Ontario Friday, resulting in flash flooding. Over 150mm fell in Mount Forest, with widespread flooding reported. A state of emergency was declared in the Township of Mapletown and Harriston. Closer to home, strong thunderstorms rattled around southern Quebec all weekend long. Hail and gusty winds were reported in the Ottawa Valley and across the Laurentians. Strong storms also passed to the south of Montreal, along the US border. However here in the city, only a few millimetres of rain fell, with very little by way of thunder.

An unseasonably cool air mass over the central Great Lakes will generate a series of weak disturbances this week. They will move across our region rather quickly, each producing clouds and instability. There will be an almost-daily chance of showers and scattered thunderstorms, with temperatures remaining cool for this time of year, either side of 21C (70F) through Thursday. As a result of the cool pool of air aloft, there is also the chance of small hail with any thunderstorms that develop. Overnight lows will be chilly under generally clear skies, around 12C (54F).

Briefly looking ahead to the Canada Day weekend, we can expect another round of warm and humid weather, with the risk of thunderstorms and possibly heavy rain. However, keep in mind, this is similar to what we were expecting this past weekend, and the weather turned out mostly dry in Montreal.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Moisture from tropical storm Cindy to surge into Quebec

Waves crash on Lake Pontchartrain Wednesday, as tropical storm Cindy approached the Texas and Louisiana shoreline. Heavy surf, scattered tornadoes and torrential rain impacted the region from east Texas to the Florida panhandle. Moisture from Cindy will invade southern Quebec by early Friday. (AP Photo)
Tropical storm Cindy made landfall in the wee hours Thursday morning along the Texas/Louisiana Gulf Coast, with 50 mph winds and torrential rains. On Wednesday, the storm claimed one life in Alabama, and produced widespread heavy rainfall, along with isolated tornadoes. As much as 8 inches of rain fell from the Florida Panhandle into southern Mississippi causing flash flooding. Coastal flooding occurred as well, with several barrier islands completely inundated. What remains of Cindy is moving inland today, heading for the Tennessee and Ohio Valleys through Saturday.

Cindy will send a surge of tropical moisture northward from the Gulf of Mexico into the lower Great Lakes over the next 48 hours. The moisture will interact with a warm front moving into southern Ontario and Quebec, producing very heavy rain and thunderstorms overnight. After a perfect day on Thursday, with sunshine and warm highs of 25C (77F), clouds will increase, with rain developing in Montreal by midnight. Expect 25 to 50mm (1 to 2 inches) of rain by Friday evening. Despite the clouds and rain on Friday, it will feel tropical-like, warm and humid, with high temperatures up to 26C (79F). The holiday weekend will be unsettled, with showers possible at anytime, especially Sunday, and cooler temperatures.

Three Quebec Tornadoes
Environment Canada has investigated the damage caused by severe weather on Sunday, June 18, and determined that three tornadoes occurred in southern Quebec. The first, with a 3.5km long path, was an EF-2 storm on the enhanced Fujita scale, capable of winds up to 180km/h. Two people were injured and several homes severely damaged near Hebertville/Mont Lac-Vert. The second storm occurred near Sainte-Anne-du-Lac, with a 4.5km long path, measuring as an EF-2 as well, with winds between 180 and 200km/h. The final tornado occurred 20km south of L'Etape in the Laurentian Wildlife Reserve. Little information is available for this tornado due to the isolated location which it occurred. Quebec on average records 6 tornadoes annually, so we are well on our way for 2017, with three occurring in just one day.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Summer Solstice, tropical troubles and searing heat

The forecast track of soon-to-be-named tropical storm Cindy. Heavy rain is forecast to spread along the Gulf Coast into the Ohio Valley by the weekend. (NOAA/NHC)
There is plenty of weather to talk about this morning. To start, we have a few lines of showers and thunderstorms moving across the Island of Montreal. The poor timing of the rain has meant a long and difficult commute for many. The storms primarily contain heavy rain, but there have been reports of some intense lightning as well. Precipitation will become more scattered in nature as the day progresses, but conditions will remain unsettled for most of the week. Temperatures will be noticeably cooler, around 24C (76F).

On Sunday, severe weather impacted portions of Quebec. While the storms missed Montreal, the regions of the Laurentians, Mont-Laurier and Lanaudière were affected. Mirabel recorded a wind gust of 89km/h. Damage in the Lac Vert area indicates that a tornado may have occurred. A cabin was destroyed in Sainte-Anne-du-Lac. Environment Canada is investigating.

Swirling storm clouds on Sunday in the Lanaudière region of Quebec. (Quebec Vortex via Facebook)
Summer Arrives
The next week will feature the longest days of the year here in Montreal. The Summer Solstice will occur in the wee hours of Wednesday morning, at 12:24 a.m. The sunrise will be at 5:06 a.m, setting at 8:47 p.m., with 15 hours and 40 minutes of daylight. Sadly, after June 25, the days will begin to get shorter.

It will feel like summer across southwest portions of the US, as a potent heatwave takes shape. Temperatures have been well over 40C this week, with some locations in southern California and Arizona flirting with 50C (122F). The heat has caused numerous issues, including power outages, wildfires and heat-related health concerns. Records were shattered in several locations. Phoenix reached a record high of 118F on Monday. Roads have been buckling in the extreme heat and several airlines were forced to cancel flights, including American Airlines in Phoenix. The heatwave is expected to last throughout the week.

Atlantic hurricane season officially started June 1, and the tropics are heating up. Two systems have developed in the last couple of days. On Tuesday morning, tropical storm Bret was located 35km east, northeast of Isla Margarita in the southern Caribbean. The storm has 45 mph winds and is moving west, northwest at 21mph. Bret is forecast to skirt the South American coast over the next couple of days. Another tropical system is located in the central Gulf of Mexico, 430km south, southwest of the mouth of the Mississippi River. This storm will likely become Cindy in the next 24 hours. Cindy will become a big news maker over the upcoming week and into the weekend, as she moves towards Louisiana. A tropical storm warning is in effect this morning for southeast Louisiana. Heavy rain and strong winds will spread onto the coast later today and especially Wednesday. Cindy will then spread heavy tropical rains inland across the US southeast and into the Ohio Valley.

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Elevated risk of strong thunderstorms today for southern Quebec

The National Weather Service severe weather outlook for Sunday. Strong to severe thunderstorms are likely this afternoon across southern Ontario and Quebec. (NWS Burlington)
A severe thunderstorm watch will likely be needed for a portion of southern Quebec including metro Montreal later today. If you have outdoor activities planned, stay alert to changing weather and updated forecasts.

A very warm and humid air mass draped across southern Ontario and Quebec is expected to yield strong thunderstorms today. A heat warning is in effect for metro Montreal for Sunday. The combination of very warm temperatures and high humidity, is expected to produce humidex readings (real feel temperatures) close to 40C (104F).  The temperature today will range from 28C (83F) in the Ottawa Valley up to 32C (90F) in metro Montreal.

A strong, slow moving cold front will begin to influence the weather across eastern Ontario this afternoon, and by the supper hour in Montreal. Strong to severe thunderstorms are possible between 5pm and 8pm Sunday in Montreal, with the main threat being strong winds, heavy rain and frequent lightning. There is a risk of hail with the strongest storms, and an isolated tornado can't be ruled out. The storms that did develop in Ontario on Saturday prompted tornado warnings in and around
Toronto. Strong circulation was noted with supercell thunderstorms, along with 64mm of rain in North York.

Showers and thunderstorms will continue into the overnight hours in Montreal, while diminishing in strength. On Monday, the weather will remain warm and muggy, with a continued threat for thunderstorms. The strongest storms however will be to the east of Montreal on Monday, over the Eastern Townships, Beauce and New England. On Monday, heavy rain is possible as well, with the threat for flash flooding across upstate New York and Vermont. Flash flood watches are widespread across those regions. Expect dry and cooler weather to return by Tuesday.

Friday, June 16, 2017

Muggy weekend ahead for southern Ontario and Quebec

A strong cold front with slam into the warm and humid air mass across southern Quebec and Ontario by Sunday afternoon. Strong thunderstorms are likely for several regions. (
A warm front is in the process of lifting north across the St. Lawrence Valley Friday afternoon, after dumping up to 25mm (1 inch) of rain on the region. Behind the front, warm and humid air will begin to pour into southern Quebec. Temperatures were around 18C (65F) in Montreal on Friday, but Toronto was up to 30C (86F). This is an indication of how warm the air is behind the front. Saturday will feature mainly sunny skies, with temperatures approaching 30C in Montreal along with elevated humidity values. Combined with the high humidity, it will feel more like the upper 30s both Saturday and Sunday. Conditions will be even warmer on Sunday, with high temperatures in the low 30s (upper 80s and low 90s) in portions of Quebec, Ontario and especially across northern New York and New England. Overnight lows Saturday will remain warm in Montreal, near 21C (70F). Conditions will feel quite uncomfortable for sleeping.

A strong cold front will plow into the moist, unstable air beginning late Sunday. Strong to potentially severe thunderstorms are possible, with heavy rain, gusty winds and hail. The storms are expected to develop in southern Ontario early Sunday, and reach Ottawa and Montreal by the evening. Showers and thunderstorms will persist into Monday in southern Quebec, along with the muggy air. Some relief will arrive by Tuesday with cooler and less humid conditions expected. If you have plans outdoors on Sunday, be sure to listen to the latest forecast concerning the severe weather potential.

Be lightning savvy, remember, When The Thunder Roars, Go Indoors.

Monday, June 12, 2017

Strong winds cut power to thousands of Quebec homes

Winds gusted over 70km/h in southern Quebec on Sunday, splintering numerous tree branches, and cutting power to over 25,000 homes and businesses in the province.
Very warm air poured into southern Quebec on Sunday, driven by winds of 60 to 80km/h. A peak gust of 69km/h was observed at Trudeau Airport and 72km/h at St Hubert Airport on the South Shore. The wind played havoc with tree branches all day long, either breaking them completely, or knocking them into power lines. One branch fell on a ticket booth at the Canadian Grand Prix. No injuries were reported. Hydro Quebec reported outages to nearly 25,000 homes and business across the southern portion of the province, with 12,000 alone in metro Montreal. Crews have been working throughout the night, and as of 3:00pm Monday, 6425 customers remain without power. The winds remain gusty today, in the 30 to 50km/h range. Strong wind warnings have been posted for marine interest on the Seaway.

As far as temperatures go, Montreal managed 30C (85F), while the mercury soared to a record 33C (91F) in Quebec City. Other locations ranged from 29C to 32C (85 to 90F). In Burlington, Vermont, a record high of 34C (95F) occurred on Sunday, the warmest day ever this early in the season. The weather is even warmer on Monday in southern Quebec, with Montreal at 31C (88F) as of 2pm.

Thunderstorms developed across western Quebec in the sultry air early Monday morning, passing just to the north of Montreal. More showers and thunderstorms are likely this evening, before cooler and drier air arrives for Tuesday through Thursday. Temperatures will fall back to more normal values of 22C to 25C (72 to 77F). Overnight lows will be much more comfortable than the 21C (70F) recorded Sunday night in Montreal, near 13C (55F).

Strong thunderstorms produced deep hail across central Minnesota early Sunday morning. Above: snow plows were used to clear roads in Coon Rapids, Minnesota. (Weather Nation Photo)
Montreal was not the only location in the warm and humid air mass this weekend. Most of the eastern seaboard westward into the Great Lakes and across the northern plains were well above normal. Strong thunderstorms swept across the upper Midwest early Sunday morning. Those storms produced widespread damage in Minnesota, the Dakotas and Wisconsin. Winds in excess of 120km/h hit portions of central Minnesota, along with hail measured in feet.

Thursday, June 08, 2017

Summer weather pattern develops in Montreal

A ridge of high pressure will push the first real round of hot and humid weather of the year, into southern Ontario and Quebec over the weekend and into next week. (
Warm temperatures will make a much anticipated return to southern Ontario and Quebec over the next few days. The warmest air will be across southwest Ontario into New England, where highs could easily settle into the low to middle 30s by Sunday. The scenario is not as clear here in southern Quebec, where a few ridge runners, fronts moving along the periphery of warm high pressure, may give us some showers or thunderstorms. All is good for Thursday evening, with clear skies in Montreal and mild overnight lows in the middle teens. On Friday, we expect abundant sunshine, but with afternoon clouds and perhaps a scattered shower or thunderstorms. The high temperature will be  a little cooler than Thursday, around 24C (76F).

Crews did their best to keep the cars running during a deluge at the Canadian Grand Prix in Montreal in 2011.

The Canadian Grand Prix events taking place this weekend, will benefit from a decent forecast. Saturday appears perfect at this time, with nothing but sunshine, and temperatures near 26C (80F). Sunday is a little suspect at this time. It will be warm and humid, near 30C (86F), but with a decent chance of afternoon thunderstorms, some of which may put down a quick deluge of rain. Of course the Canadian Grand Prix is no stranger to thunderstorms, with the 2011 race taking place in a flash flood at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve. Heading to the track this weekend bring plenty of water, sunscreen and perhaps an umbrella as well. Warm and humid weather is forecast to persist into next week, with numerous showers and thunderstorms and temperatures in the mid to upper 20s.

Monday, June 05, 2017

Warmer weather expected in Montreal for the Grand Prix

A spectacular shot of the EF-0 tornado that slipped past Three Hills, Alberta Friday evening. The storm, capable of 135km/h winds, only produced minor damage. It was on the ground for nearly 20 minutes before dissipating. 
(Photo via The Weather Network)

More rain in Montreal
What a miserable stretch of weather southern Quebec has experienced this spring. In total, 41 of the last 66 days through Monday, have featured some form of precipitation. Most of those days were accompanied by cooler than normal temperatures as well. The first week of June has been nothing to celebrate either, with Sunday being the best day of the month, and even then, just a few hours of it. The good news is we can see a bit of warmer weather ahead for the Canadian Grand Prix weekend in Montreal. The bad news is we have a few more days of rain before we get there.

On Monday, 16mm or rain had fallen at my home on L'Ile Perrot as of 4pm. More rain is expected through Tuesday, with some thunderstorms possible as well. A stubborn area of high pressure located over the North Atlantic has been blocking the eastward progression of low pressure systems. Our current weather is the result of an upper level low pressure area slowly drifting southeast across Ontario and into central New York. This system is expected to remain in our region through at least Thursday. By Saturday, high pressure and sunshine should return, with temperatures warming into the middle 20s. The normal high for early June in Montreal should be near 23C (73F).

Alberta Tornado
By now I'm sure many of you have seen the picture shown above of the tornado near Three Hills, Alberta last Friday afternoon. Thankfully the spectacular storm only produced minor damage. The storm was rated an EF-0 tornado on the Enhanced Fujita scale (EF-0 to EF-5), capable of winds up to 137km/h. We are entering the heart of severe weather season in Canada, June through August. On average Canada records 62 tornadoes each year. Saskatchewan leads the way with 18, followed by Alberta with 15 and Ontario with 13. Quebec can expect between 4 and 5 tornadoes each year. Researchers believe many more occur in Canada, but go undetected due to our vast remote areas. If a tornado warning is issued in your region, act quickly and seek shelter in an interior room, preferably with no windows, and at the lowest point in you home.  Put as many walls between you and the outdoors. If you are stuck outside, seek shelter in a sturdy building immediately. If you can't, find the lowest point possible, lie flat and protect your head from debris.

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

No end in sight to wet spring in Quebec and Ontario

Water levels on Lake Ontario are the highest they have been since record keeping began in 1918. Above, water pours through nine wide open gates on the Long Sault Dam in Massena, New York. That water is keeping Lake St Louis at levels not seen since the 1970's. The opening was necessary to alleviate high water levels behind the dam. Flooding has been occurring in shoreline communities on both sides of the international border. (@SeawayNNY Photo)
Water levels remain uncomfortably high along the St Lawrence River, as what seems like a relentless daily deluge continues. Already on Wednesday morning, a line of thunderstorms passed across the island of Montreal. More can be expected later this afternoon, some possibly severe with hail and gusty winds. Including today, Montreal has recorded precipitation on 20 of the 31 days in May. This represents 122.4mm of rain and counting. In a normal May, we can expect 81.2mm of rain. To date, since January 1st, Trudeau Airport has recorded 576.2mm of precipitation, almost 23 inches. The normal is 372.4mm. Even more precipitation has fallen in the Ottawa Valley, with that water flowing into Montreal. This explains why water levels have been so high. Lake Ontario is currently at a record high, dating back to 1918. You can read more about the record lake levels by reading Robert Frank's story at the

More rain is expected for water logged Quebec over the next two weeks.
Looking into the future, the news does not get much better. In the short-term, we are still dealing with this pesky upper level low spinning south of James Bay. Persistent clouds with just a few sunny breaks can be expected, along with numerous showers and thunderstorms into Friday. Temperatures will remain at or below normal into the weekend. Saturday is expected to be dry at this time, with high temperatures near 20C. This will likely be the best day of the week. By Sunday, another low will move into he region for a prolonged stay. Expect another round of clouds and showers through Tuesday. The first two weeks of June look very similar unfortunately.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Another round of rain for southern Quebec

Lake St. Louis continues to run very high along the shores of L'Ile Perrot, inundating some shoreline yards. (ValleyWeather Photo)
Our record breaking wet spring continues across southern Quebec, with another shot of heavy rain expected Thursday into Friday. To date, we have recorded 92.8mm of rain at Trudeau Airport for the month of May. The normal is 81.2mm. The situation won't be helped as the week draws to close, with the arrival of two storm systems. The first is over western Canada and will move towards the Great Lakes while weakening. This storm is producing very strong winds in Alberta and Saskatchewan today, with winds exceeding 100km/h. Heavy rain and even some snow is falling in Alberta, with strong thunderstorms in Saskatchewan. Meanwhile another storm will organize along the southeast American coast Thursday. This moisture latent system will move towards southern New England, and eventually Atlantic Canada. Rain will overspread the area from south to north on Thursday and become heavy at times. The rain will taper to showers by late Friday. Expect 15-25mm (1 inch) of rain in Montreal. Friday will be much cooler, with gusty northeast winds and temperatures in the low teens. The weekend at this time look much better, with clearing skies Saturday and temperatures in the low 20s.

Of note, water levels continue to lower around the region, but remain uncomfortably high along Lake St. Louis and the St. Lawrence River. Boaters or anyone venturing close to the shoreline or using the waterway should remain vigilant. The Ottawa River meanwhile has dropped below flood stage, with rapidly improving conditions.

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 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...

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.