Friday, August 18, 2017

Clear skies forecast for partial eclipse in Montreal

Nearly 60 percent of the surface of the sun over Montreal will be covered by the moon on Monday, August 21 at 2:38pm. (Photo: timeanddate.com)
As the final countdown draws close for the start of the total eclipse on Monday, August 21, attention will be focused on the all important weather forecast. Millions of people around the US and Canada will be eager for clear skies to view, what is for many, a once in a lifetime event. The narrow path of totality, spanning only 70 miles (113km) wide, will be the main focus for viewing on Monday. But interest is high, even here in Montreal, where approximately 60 percent of the sun will be covered by the shadow of the passing moon. The eclipse will begin at 1:21 pm in Montreal, peaking at 2:38pm and ending at 3:12pm. The eclipse will be traveling across North America at approximately 1700 mph (2735 km/h), so pay attention! Totality, or in the case of Montreal the peak period, will only last for 2 to 3 minutes at any given location.

Partial eclipse of the sun; if skies remain clear on Monday, Montreal will be in for a rare celestial treat.
In a summer that has had more clouds than sun, there was a good bet that Monday's weather would impede viewing in Montreal. At the moment, that does not appear to be the case. Sunshine and warm temperatures are expected for southern Quebec. Some clouds are possible, especially along the US border and in eastern Ontario, but at worst, the skies would be partly cloudy. The best viewing weather is expected to be across western regions of the continent, with clear skies forecast across southern Albert and British Columbia south into the Pacific Northwest and the northern Rockies. As the eclipse travels southeast across the US, more clouds, along with showers and thunderstorms are possible from the Midwest into the Southeast. Other regions from the Great Lakes into the Northeast have a 50/50 chance of full on clouds or clear skies. It will likely be a daytime decision as to where some will choose to settle in and view this spectacular event. One guaranteed location for clear, safe and extensive viewing, will be online at the NASA website. Live steaming will occur at Eclipse Live. NASA will draw on the resources of 11 spacecraft, at least three aircraft, more than 50 high-altitude balloons and the astronauts aboard the International Space Station.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

The tropics are heating up

Hurricane Gert is located in the open waters of the Atlantic, while three other areas of disturbed weather are being closely monitored for development. (Weather Nation)
Hurricane Gert is churning northeast through the Atlantic Ocean this morning, 765km south of Yarmouth, Nova Scotia. Gert is the second hurricane of the 2017 season, and the earliest G named storm dating back to the 2005 season. Gert is forecast to remain well offshore along the east coast, however large swells are being generated by the storm. Wave heights along the Nova Scotia coast are expected to be as high as 2 metres through Thursday. On the south coast of Newfoundland, the waves may reach up to 4 metres and 5 metres in the Grand Banks.

As we head into the thick of the Atlantic hurricane season, the tropics are heating up. No less than three areas of disturbed weather in the far eastern Atlantic Ocean have the potential to become tropical systems. A tropical storm is named when winds reach 39mph. The storm is officially a hurricane at 74mph. Forecasters at the National Hurricane Centre in Miami will be closely monitoring the systems for potential development and to evaluate the risk to the Caribbean and eastern seaboard.

Eclipse Weather
Monday, August 21st will be an historic day, as a full solar eclipse takes place across portions of the United States. Here in Montreal, 60 to 70 percent of the sun will be blocked by the passage of the moon, reaching a peak at 2:38pm. At this time, the weather looks perfect for viewing in Montreal and southern Quebec. High pressure will be in control, with sunshine and warm temperatures in the upper 20s.

Monday, August 14, 2017

Partial eclipse to darken the skies over Montreal

The partial solar eclipse on Monday, August 21st, will darken 60 percent of the sun over Montreal.
On Monday, August 21, 2017, a narrow swath of North America, from southern Oregon to the Carolinas, will be treated to a very rare celestial phenomenon:  A total eclipse of the sun will occur on this date, starting on the Pacific Coast at 9:06AM PDT and exiting the Atlantic Seaboard at 4:06PM EDT. The eclipse will produce total darkness for a period of one to three minutes along a 70 mile (113km) wide path stretching diagonally across the US from Oregon to South Carolina. The percentage of sun covered by the moon will decrease rapidly as you move away from the main path. Here in Montreal, our partial eclipse of the sun will start at 1:21PM, reaching close to 60 percent coverage by 2:38PM and ending by 3:12PM. Across southern Canada, the amount of sun covered will vary from 90 percent in Vancouver, to 70 percent in Toronto and less than 50 percent across Atlantic Canada. 

A narrow path of total darkness will sweep across the US from coast to coast during the solar eclipse.
Residents in cities along the path of totality are preparing for a massive influx of people coming to view the rare event. Gridlock is expected on the more than 20 interstates that crisscross the path. Over 200 million residents live within a day’s drive of the path of totality. Hotels along the path have been booked for well over a year for this date. 

If crowds aren’t your thing, you can watch the event live on your computer or mobile device, streamed by NASA at www.nasa.gov/eclipselive   NASA also has an entire website devoted to the eclipse, eclipse.gsfc.nasa.gov

The Royal Astronomical Society of Canada has a list of viewing events planned from coast to coast. The list can be accessed on their website, www.rasc.ca/solar-eclipse-2017

 A reminder to those who plan on watching the eclipse live and in person, make certain you use protective eyewear. Staring directly into the sun does damage to your retinas and can result in permanent vision loss. More information on eyewear can be found here www.eclipseglasses.com

 With darkness lasting for up to three minutes at each location along the path of totality, the sudden loss of daylight can drop temperatures by as much as 10 degrees. It can also play havoc with wildlife, creating confusion, albeit for a short period of time. According to NASA, eclipses occur due to the special coincidence of the moon and the sun being the same angular size. The sun is 400 times wider than the moon, but it is also 400 times farther away, so both coincidentally appear to be the same size in our sky. A total solar eclipse occurs when the moon crosses the path between the sun and the earth. This happens, on average, once every 18 months, with locations varying around the world. The last total eclipse visible in Montreal was on February 26, 1979. I was in 7th grade at the time in Verdun and very excited, to say the least. The school chose to keep students indoors, however, and the day was cloudy, limiting the effects in Montreal. The next total eclipse visible in the US and Canada will not occur until April 8, 2024, traveling from Texas northeast to New England. It will pass right over Montreal.  Let’s hope for a sunny day!

Tuesday, August 08, 2017

Montreal's summer weather in one word, unsettled

Damage in Saint-Joseph-de-Beauce from a confirmed EF-1 tornado on Saturday, August 5. (Radio Canada Photo)
If there is a word I have overused this summer, it is unsettled. I don't know how else to describe the days where we have sunshine, clouds and the ever present risk of showers or thunderstorms. There have been many. Since May 1st, Montreal's Trudeau Airport has recorded precipitation of a trace or more, on 65 of 100 days through August 8. On many of the other days, the weather has been overcast and cool, not exactly a summer of champions. Some like the cool weather, I don't. Our summers are too short to begin with, I like them to be warm.

This past weekend was just terrible, more clouds than sun, breezy, cold and at times wet. This followed a very stormy Friday, that had rounds of strong thunderstorms impacting southern Quebec. The wind gusted close to 80km/h at Trudeau Airport along with heavy rain. There were numerous reports in the city of downed trees. Some locations such a Napierville and St Constant reported major flooding as more than 100mm (4 inches) of rain fell on Friday alone. A sate of emergency was declared in Napierville. Thousands were also left without power. On Saturday, more strong storms occurred in Quebec, this time east of Montreal. Environment Canada confirmed the provinces fifth tornado of the season, and EF-1, capable of winds up to 170km/h. The storm struck Saint-Joseph-de-Beauce, south of Quebec City. Widespread damage was reported to trees and homes, along with power outages.

The forecast for the balance of the week into the upcoming weekend does not look great. Following the trend well established this summer, expect unsettled weather at best. Tuesday and Wednesday will be the best days of the week, with more sunshine than clouds and mild highs near 27C (81F). The rest of the week into the weekend will be partly cloudy and humid, with numerous showers and isolated thunderstorms. The best chance for rain will be in the afternoon each day. This trend will last well into next week, with temperatures close to normal. The normal high is 26C (79F) and low 15C (59F).

Solar Eclipse
Expect a rare celestial treat for North Americans on Monday, August 21. A solar eclipse will be visible across a large portion of Canada and the US. I will post details on the timing of the partial eclipse here in Montreal, later this week.

Wednesday, August 02, 2017

More strong thunderstorms possible through Friday

Flooding after Monday's severe thunderstorm under Cote-de-Liesse at Hickmore. Firefighters opened the manhole cover to release the flood waters. (CTV News)
Warm and humid weather is expected to continue Wednesday through Friday across metro Montreal. Montreal has not recorded a 30C plus temperature since June 18, when the mercury hit 32.1C (90F). The 30C free month of July, was only the eighth time in recorded history that this has occurred in Montreal. Weather records at Trudeau date back to 1942. The streak will come to an end today, if the city reaches the forecast high of 31C (88F). Strong thunderstorms are possible this afternoon, and again right through Friday evening, as the warm and humid air remains in place. Several impulses of energy will rotate through the warm air mass, generating the thunderstorms. Any storms that do develop will be possible of producing heavy rain, just like the storm Monday afternoon in central Montreal.

Flood waters gather in the parking lot along the Trans Canada Highway at Cote-Vertu on Monday, July 31. (Valley Weather)

Severe Thunderstorm Produces Flooding
On Monday afternoon, a strong isolated thunderstorm cell moved from Laval across north central Montreal towards Trudeau Airport between 4 and 5pm. The storm brought torrential rain, with between 33mm and 37mm falling in less than one hour in Saint Laurent and Dorval. The result was flooding of several basements and highways. Our parking garage and ramp here at The Suburban flooded rapidly from the torrential rain. Strong wind gusts in excess of 85km/h brought down several trees. Lightning and wind knocked out power to over 17,000 Hydro Quebec customers in metro Montreal. The thunderstorm also produced pea size hail. The storm rapidly dissipated as it swept southeast across the Island of Montreal. The isolated nature of this particular storm produced the heavy rain and flooding in a narrow swath through the city. I measured no rain at all on L'Ile Perrot, just 20 kilomteres to the southwest of Trudeau Airport.

Monday, July 31, 2017

Humidity and thunderstorms forecast to return to Montreal

The weather this past weekend was perfect for whatever outdoors plans you had. I chose the 37th Annual Granby Antique Car Show in the Eastern Townships. A perfect venue, light breeze, low humidity and bright sunshine resulted in hundreds of cars on display and thousands of spectators.
After an absolutely perfect weekend, with full sunshine, low humidity and temperatures in the middle 20s, showers and thunderstorms will be on the increase today to end July. High pressure dominated the weather across southern Quebec, giving us a very rare stretch this summer with no rain. A frontal system will begin to impact Montreal today, signalling a change in the air mass. We can still expect partial sunshine, but with isolated showers and thunderstorms developing in eastern Ontario this afternoon, and moving into southern Quebec late in the day. The biggest threat from any developing thunderstorms will be heavy rain, as some cells will be slow moving.

The high temperature today, and through the entire week, will be in the 27C to 30C range (80 to 85F). As the month draws to a close, Montreal has yet to record a 30C high temperature. Normally we have 5 such days, with July 2016 featuring 6 days above 30C. Overnight lows this week will be on the mild side, around 19C (66F), In addition to the warm temperatures, humidity levels will be on the rise, reaching oppressive levels by Thursday. The risk for showers and thunderstorms will exist each day this week, peaking late Friday with the arrival of a cold front. At this time, next weekend looks decent, with clearing skies, cooler temperatures and low humidity.

The weather has been very active across North America over the past week. Heavy rain and thunderstorms occurred across a portion of the middle Atlantic states, with numerous reports of flash flooding. Meanwhile, the weather remains hot and dry across western Canada, with strong thunderstorms occurring along the periphery of the heatwave in Saskatchewan and Manitoba. Temperatures soared into the upper 30s on Sunday, with Assiniboia, Saskatchewan, a little Prairie town I am very familiar with, reaching 37.7C or 99.8F. Mankota, Saskatchewan, near the Montana border, was the warmest placer in Canada on Sunday, reaching 38.2C (101F).

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

More rain, more flooding - our summer of discontent

A quick thinking employee from Bed Bath and Beyond, checks on a stranded motorist in Kingston, Ontario on Monday. (Photo via Twitter @YGKtraffic)
Low clouds, mist and a September-like chill prevail across southern Quebec this morning, as a nasty upper-level low slowly spins eastward. The storm produced torrential rain, strong winds and cold temperatures on Monday. The high in Montreal was a mere 20C (68F), reached in the wee hours of the morning. Most of the day was spent in the middle teens as temperatures fell with the onset of heavy rain. The real story with this system was the rainfall. Trudeau Airport measured 17.8mm, but amounts rose quickly as you headed west down the 401. Here on L'Ile Perrot, I recorded 28.8mm, with 32mm at St. Anicet. In Ontario, Kingston reported 102.2mm, Brockville 102mm, Ottawa 79mm and Kemptville, 71.3mm. There were isolated reports of as much as 150mm in some locations along the Thousand Islands Parkway, and north of Kingston. Conditions were the same south of the St Lawrence River in upstate New York. Flood warnings were in effect for St. Lawrence County, New York, where upwards of 4 to 6 inches of rain fell.

Widespread flooding was observed, with several road closures across eastern Ontario. Numerous accidents were reported along area highways, including Autoroute 20, west of Montreal near Coteau du Lac. Highway 2 was closed near Johnstown, Ontario due to several metres of water covering the roadway near the rail bridge. Isolated power outages also occurred, with as many as 8000 Hydro Quebec customers without power Monday afternoon. That number is down to 1000 as of Tuesday morning.

Flood warnings and watches have been posted for several watersheds in Ontario as a result of rapid runoff. Water levels on the Kemptville Creek and Rideau River basin will be running well above normal for the next few days. All this water will be rushing down the St. Lawrence River towards Montreal over the next week. All waterways across southern Quebec and eastern Ontario remain dangerous for any activities, and vigilance is strongly encouraged.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

The ring of fire dominating the weather in Montreal

Montreal remains on the northern edge of the "ring of fire". While areas to our south are experiencing searing heat this summer, the weather remains unsettled and humid in southern Quebec. Heavy rain, flash flooding and severe weather has been occurring all around the edge of the high pressure ridge. (AccuWeather)
• 12:50 JULY 20: SEVERE THUNDERSTORM WATCH POSTED FOR METRO MONTREAL.

The continent appears to be split into two distinct weather patterns this summer: extremely wet or dangerously dry. We all know how wet a year it has been here in southern Quebec, across eastern Ontario and into northern New England. At the same time, they are desperately hoping for rain in fire-ravaged B.C. The culprit this July is a rather large area of high pressure anchored over the central US. Under that dome, temperatures have soared into the upper 30s, with very little rainfall. The influence of this high pressure occasionally nudges into western Canada, keeping that region hot and dry as well. Around the ring of high pressure is a region of instability, with frequent showers and thunderstorms. In many cases, the storms have been severe, with flash flooding. Flooding has affected portions of Arizona, the Great Lakes, New England and southern Quebec, south along the Atlantic Seaboard into the US southeast.
Smoke from the British Columbia wildfires has now spread as far east as Manitoba (dark grey). There is a chance we may even see some in Ontario and Quebec before the end of July. (Environment Canada)
Here in Montreal, we are dealing with dripping-wet humidity this week, along with frequent clouds and showers. Temperatures have been close to the normal high of 27C (81F), but once the humidity is factored in, it has felt like the middle 30s. This familiar pattern will remain in place through Friday, before slightly less-humid air moves in late Saturday. The dry air will be short-lived, as another round of showers and thunderstorms is expected on Monday.

Fire damage from Loon Lake, BC. (CBC)
BC Wildfires
In western Canada, more hot and dry weather is forecast in Alberta and Saskatchewan to end July. In B.C., temperatures will trend a little cooler, but unfortunately no appreciable rain is in the forecast. The state of emergency, in effect since the start of the month, has been extended for another two weeks. Over 140 fires are burning across the province, having already consumed over 3200 square kilometres. Of those fires, 27 are considered major, with 15 threatening communities. BC resources are being augmented, with an additional 100 firefighters expected to arrive this week from Ontario. They will join 830 already on the ground from across Canada, including 45 from Quebec and 54 from Australia. To date, 41 homes and three dozen trailers have been lost to the fires. The cost to battle the wildfires has now exceeded $100 million, with over 40,000 residents evacuated. Outdoor fire bans remain in effect for the foreseeable future. Smoke from the fires has drifted as far east as Manitoba, and into the central portions of the US. Air quality advisories have been in effect on almost a daily basis across southern BC and Alberta.

Friday, July 14, 2017

The 30th Anniversary of the Decarie Expressway flood

Firefighters rescue trapped motorists from the Decarie Expressway after thunderstorms generated historic flash flooding on July 14, 1987. (Radio Canada)
Tuesday, July 14, 1987 dawned hot and humid across southern Quebec, as it had been for the previous week. Montreal recorded high temperatures in excess of 32C (90F) from July 9th through the 14th, including a record high of 34C (94F) on July 13th. Accompanying the high heat was stifling humidity levels. Montreal is a city that is accustomed to very humid summers, but these levels were off the charts. The elevated humidity had saturated the atmosphere, similar to the tropics, not southern Canada. On the morning of July 14th, a strong cold front was lying west of Ottawa. In addition to the the front, low pressure had developed in southeast Ontario. Some partial sunshine early on July 14th in Montreal, allowed the mercury to climb to 30C (86F) before the noon hour, adding fuel to the atmosphere. The air mass had become unstable and volatile, all the conditions were perfect for powerful thunderstorms.

Widespread flooding trapped hundred of motorists in Montreal on July 14, 1987. (Radio Canada)
The storms would first develop southwest of Montreal around 11am, approaching the city shortly afterwards and moving from Chateauguay northeast across the Island of Montreal and into Laval. With plenty of available moisture, the thunderstorms would produce torrential rainfall for several hours, training over the same locations. Four separate thunderstorms cells in total would impact the city from 11am through 3pm. In some cases, a months worth of rainfall would occur in less than 2 hours. Trudeau Airport measured 57.4mm (2.25"), but it was the central portion of the city and the downtown core the would be hardest hit. I lived on the waterfront in Verdun at the time, and my rain gauge overflowed at 100mm (4 inches).

Officially, 102.2mm (4.02") fell at the McGill Observatory on McTavish, 86mm (3.38") of that fell in less than one hour. At Parc Lafontaine, 103mm (4.05") was recorded, with unofficial reports of as much as 180mm (7.1"). The deluge would overwhelm the sewer system, designed for no more than 36mm (1.41") per hour. Water would pour into highway underpasses, basements, businesses and of course the Decarie Expressway. Over 300 motorists became trapped in their vehicles on the Decarie alone, requiring rescue from the Montreal Fire Department. Nearly 400 cars would be abandoned. Traffic was gridlock across the city as major routes such as Highway 20 at 1st Avenue in Lachine and the St Remi Tunnel became flooded as well. The Metro was forced to close as a result of flooding on several lines. The evening commute would last into the wee hours of July 15th.

Flash flooding on Atwater Street in downtown Montreal, July 14, 1987. 
(The Montreal Gazette)
Wind gusts of 80km/h occurred with the thunderstorms, knocking out power to over 350,000 homes. Along with the loss of power, came the loss of air conditioning and electronic pumps. The wind snapped trees and power lines, but it was the rain that created the massive damage. In all, over 40,000 homes in the city sustained some form of water damage. As is often the case, much of it was not covered by insurance. Total losses for the storm exceeded $220 million. Sadly two fatalities were reported, one man drowned in his car in a Cote-des-Neiges underpass, while a second person was electrocuted.

Water pours down Mount Royal Avenue during flash flooding on July 14, 1987. 
(The Montreal Gazette)

Monday, July 10, 2017

Thousands forced to flee British Columbia wildfires

Highway 97 near Ashcroft, B.C. remains closed as a fire burns out of control near the community, 90km west of Kamloops. (BC Transportation via Twitter)
Nearly 300 wildfires are burning across interior British Columbia, according to the BC Wildfire Service. Of these, at least a dozen are large, intense and out of control. This includes a fire burning near 100 Mile House, that prompted the evacuation of the entire community Sunday. This increases the number of evacuees in B.C. to over 10,000. More are likely today, with a provincial state of emergency now in effect. Nearly 2000 firefighters are battling the fires, with help coming form Alberta. The fires are the result of hot, dry weather, with frequent lightning strikes prompting new fires daily. The weather has been hot across all of western Canada, with high temperatures on Sunday in the middle 30s. A brief break is expected in the form of thunderstorms by Tuesday, before high pressure builds back in, with more extreme heat. The heatwave is expected to continue right through the end of the week. The hot weather stretches into Alberta and Saskatchewan, as well as a large portion of the western US.

Stormy in Eastern Canada
It was a much different story here in Montreal, and across a large portion of eastern Canada. Our wet and frequently cool summer continues, with little relief in sight. Early Saturday morning, a strong thunderstorm with wild lightning and up to 25mm of rain in less than 30 minutes, moved from L'Ile Perrot towards the downtown core of the city. The storm produced some minor flooding, especially off island to the west. The entire weekend was unsettled, with below normal temperatures and frequent clouds, showers and thunderstorms. The weather this week will follow a similar one to that of the entire summer to date. More showers and thunderstorms are possible each day through the weekend. Temperatures will struggle to reach the normal high of 26C (79F) each day. Sadly this trend is expected through the end of July. Montreal has had measurable precipitation, on 6 of the 10 days this month, with 37.8mm of rain so far. In Ottawa 98.4mm of rain had fallen through Sunday. The July average for the entire month is 91.9mm.

Friday, July 07, 2017

Don't like the weather - just wait a few minutes

Water from Lake St Louis continues to produce minor flooding in shoreline communities in and around Montreal. Above, flood waters creep in Summerlea Park in the borough of Lachine on Wednesday. The municipality has raised the level of the walking path as well as built some reinforcements to hold the water back.(Valley Weather Photo)

Scattered thunderstorms are possible in Montreal and across southern Quebec today, as a warm and humid air mass is in place. Some of the storms may produce heavy rain and gusty winds. Temperatures will be near 27C (81F), along with elevated humidity levels. Temperatures will be slightly cooler tonight and into the weekend, with lows down to 16C (61F), and highs both Saturday and Sunday near 24C (76F). Unfortunately the weekend will display the same weather we have become accustom do for the last few months. I hate to reuse the same word over and over again, but unsettled comes to mind. The atmosphere will be busy, changing frequently and quickly, with fair skies in the morning, building instability, and showers or thunderstorms in the afternoon. This type of weather will prevail into early next week.

Where is all the hot air? 
If you want heat, go western North America. However, the sunny, hot weather comes at a price. Wildfires are running rampant from California to Montana and in especially hard-hit Colorado. Heat emergencies have been declared in many communities. The hot air has arrived in Canada, from southern interior B.C., eastward into Alberta and Saskatchewan. Temperatures this week have been in low to middle 30's, and may approach 40C along the Montana border by next week. Heat warnings have been issued by Environment Canada for several locations in Alberta and southwest Saskatchewan.

As we head into summer vacation time in Quebec and Ontario, please be extra careful around any body of water. Levels on the Great Lakes, Ottawa and St Lawrence Rivers continue to run very high. When you add any wind to the mix, the water can easily overwhelm a boat, or make swimming dangerous. Minor shoreline flooding also continues in several communities.

Tuesday, July 04, 2017

A break in the soggy weather for Montreal

A spectacular rainbow developed at sunset over the St Lawrence Valley late Sunday. It was a perfect end to a not-so-perfect weather weekend in Montreal. (Valley Weather Photo)
After a seemingly endless streak of wet weather, the sun is out today, Tuesday, July 4 across the entire region. Since early April, it has rained on nearly every second day in southern Quebec and eastern Ontario. During June, Montreal measured rainfall on 21 of the 30 days. In Ottawa, it rained on 23 of 30 days, including a stretch of 18 consecutive days through July 2. Water levels remain fast and high on area lakes and rivers. Montreal has a 30 percent chance of showers today, before high pressure settles in for a 36 hour dry spell. It is not much, but we will take it. Sunshine will prevail through Thursday morning, along with temperatures warming into the middle and upper 20s.

A tornado moves over Sebago Lake in western Maine on Saturday, July 1st. It was one of four reported in the state on Saturday alone, double the annual average. (TWC)
While Montreal had a few showers and thunderstorms this past weekend, the bulk of the heavy rain fell across the Adirondacks in New York, into central Vermont. Several locations reported severe weather, with hail, strong winds and torrential rains. Well in excess of 75mm of rain fell on already saturated ground, producing widespread flash flooding. Washouts and closures were reported on several major roads in Vermont, including Interstate 89. Severe thunderstorms were also reported in Maine, where 4 tornadoes occurred on Saturday, July 1. Maine averages only two tornadoes for the entire year.

The entire region will be under high pressure for the next two days, before more clouds, showers and thunderstorms arrive for Friday and Saturday. The humidity will be on the rise as well as we head into Thursday. Meanwhile in Western Canada, heat warnings are in effect for portions of southern Alberta. A prolonged heatwave is forecast this week for interior B.C., Alberta and Saskatchewan. Some locations near the US border are expecting high temperatures in the middle and upper 30s.

Saturday, July 01, 2017

Mother Nature's fireworks on display this Canada Day

Mother Nature will provide the fireworks today, with increasing clouds, and more showers and strong thunderstorms forecast for Canada Day in Montreal and Ottawa.
Mother Nature will provide natural fireworks today, as rounds of showers and thunderstorms are forecast for the entire region. Montreal, southern Quebec, Ontario and New England remain in a soupy air mass this Canada Day. The atmosphere will remain primed today for heavy showers and thunderstorms, as it has been most of this past week. Temperatures will be warm, 24 to 27C (75-80F), along with high humidity and very muggy conditions.

Flooding is occurring in parts of northern Vermont after torrential rain Thursday and Friday. (WCAX TV) 
On Thursday and Friday, strong storms swept across portions of the St Lawrence Valley into northern Vermont and New York. Flash flooding was reported in several locations, with roads washed out. More flooding is likely today as the thunderstorms fire up. A flood watch is in effect across all of upstate New York and Vermont. Thunderstorm watches and warnings may be likely for portions of southern Quebec and eastern Ontario including Ottawa as the day progresses. Please keep this in mind of you have any outdoor Canada Day plans. The heavy rain is falling on already saturated ground, so the potential for flooding exists across the entire region. In June, Montreal recorded 135.2mm of rain, well above the normal June rainfall of 89.3mm. On L'Ile Perrot, I recorded 127.5mm, with 130mm in Ottawa. This of course is all falling on top of the waterlogged spring we had.

After today's storms, Sunday will dawn slightly cooler and less humid, but still with a chance of showers and thunderstorms in the afternoon. Conditions should improve on Monday, with dryer weather forecast for the first time in over a week. The sunny and dry conditions should persist into early Thursday.

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.

COOLER THAN NORMAL
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.

Tropics
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. (AccuWeather.com)
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.

STRONG THUNDERSTORMS
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. (AccuWeather.com)
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 suburban.com

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 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.