Wednesday, 31 December 2014

Cold & snow expected for Montreal to start new year

A superbly talented graphic artist, co-worker and friend, Vicki Fawcett, drew this for me in 2007.
Happy New Year!
I still can't get my head around the fact that another year is over. This was, for whatever reason, probably the quickest year of my life. In any event from my family to yours I wish you a safe, healthy and Happy New Year. Thank you once again for reading my rambling weather posts, without you there is no Valley Weather/Suburban Weather Blog. I truly appreciate your time.

After a very cold day, the setting sun frames a barn in Alburgh, Vermont on Tuesday, December 30. (Valley Weather Photo)
As I write this blog early on New Years Eve, we are looking at the prospect of a decent weekend winter storm as cold air pours into western North America and spreads east. This will be in sharp contrast to the last two weeks of  December that have been as much as 10 degrees above normal. In the short term, high pressure will give us a decent day in Montreal but with increasing clouds. A low pressure trough will sweep across Ontario and Quebec with gusty winds and flurries tonight and New Years Day. Significant accumulations are expected around the Great Lakes, so be prepared if your travels take you to Toronto along the 401 or south on Interstate 81 towards Syracuse, NY. Away from the lakes and here in Montreal, only a dusting is likely. Winds may reduce visibility briefly in blowing snow Thursday. The temperature is cold this morning at -13C on L'Ile Perrot, but should warm to -8C today and -5C on Thursday.

On Saturday, low pressure is expected to develop over the Ohio Valley and move down the St. Lawrence Valley on Sunday. We are looking at a mixed precipitation event for Montreal and Ottawa at this time with a burst of heavy snow late Saturday followed by a mix with sleet, freezing rain and rain for Sunday. Accumulations could be significant in Montreal, southern Quebec and eastern Ontario, and warnings may be needed. The weekend will be busy for travel, so please stay informed on the latest forecast. The track of this system is not set at this time and big swings in the forecast are possible. I will update this blog frequently on this potential storm. The low will move into Atlantic Canada by Monday with the coldest air of the season pouring into Ontario and Quebec on strong winds and lake effect snow just in time for back to work.

Monday, 29 December 2014

Winter returns to Quebec & Ontario

The Christmas Day windstorm produced gusts to over 100knm/h (60mph) across a wide area from western New York including Buffalo (above) to southern Quebec. Trees were knocked down and power was out to thousands of homes including nearly 35,000 in Quebec. (Photo via Twitter)
After a record breaking warm Christmas period, Montreal will return to much colder weather this week. The temperature rose above freezing during the morning hours on Tuesday, December 23 and only fell back below 0C (32F) around 6:30pm Sunday evening, a period of over 128 hours. This establishes a new above freezing record for Montreal in December, the previous being 98 hours in 1964.

Just how mild was it? The average temperature in the city through the Christmas week was 6C (43F), the normal should be around -5C (23F). We also managed to loose the 30cm (1 foot) of snow on the ground in about 36 hours and are only left with patches. This has not been very good news for ski resorts and those who like to snowmobile or snowshoe, or even outdoor skate for that matter. Some ski resorts claim business was down over 90% for the Christmas break so far. My grass even has hints of green in it after the 35mm of rain Christmas Eve. Strong thunderstorms and even tornadoes were reported Christmas Eve in the US. Thunderstorms were reported in Ontario.

There is some hope for those who prefer more traditional winter weather. You will be shocked when you step outside this morning as the temperature has fallen overnight to around -8C (17F) currently on L'Ile Perrot. Add to that a very gusty northwest wind in the 30-50km/h range and the temperature feels like -15C. There were a few flurries around as a cold front crossed the area overnight, but no accumulation was reported in Montreal. It will be cold today and all week with temperatures back to normal values. Some light snow is possible on New Years Day and a more significant storm may affect southern Ontario and Quebec by Saturday. This potential storm will make big news this week as it affects the US southwest. Snow is forecast for some parts of metro L.A. into Nevada including Las Vegas.

Wednesday, 24 December 2014

Wet and windy Christmas for Montreal

The storm system that will be responsible for our wet and windy Christmas in Montreal, spawned several rare December tornadoes Tuesday from Louisiana to Mississippi. (WDAM News)
WIND WARNING METRO MONTREAL: Southwest winds 60-100km/h Christmas Day.

It looks like those of you who wanted a wet and green Christmas will have your wish come true. Rain is falling across the northeast and southern Ontario into Quebec on this Christmas Eve. Low pressure is lifting north from Mississippi towards Lake Huron. Mild air will surge north into our region guaranteeing rainfall for the next 24 hours. The rain combined with snow melt will produce some localized flooding. There may even be a thunderstorm is some locations especially in Ontario. Temperatures will warm from current readings around 5C (41F) up to 10C (50F) by Christmas morning in Montreal. The high temperature record for today is 8.3C (47F) set in 1957, that one should be ok, but we have a shot at the warmest Christmas record high of 11.7C (53F) set in 1964.

Besides the 25mm (1 inch) of rain expected in the St. Lawrence Valley, winds will increase sharply on Christmas morning in advance of a cold front. Southwest wind gusts to 80km/h are possible in Montreal with 100km/h possible in Ontario. Warnings will likely be posted later today for that element. The wind could lead to power outages or some trees toppling. Skies will clear for Boxing Day with a cooler high of 3C (38F), still well above normal. Unsettled weather returns over the weekend with a chance of rain or snow and then snowy and much colder into the last week of 2014.

This same weather system spawned severe thunderstorms and tornadoes on Tuesday along the Gulf Coast from Louisiana to Mississippi. Thousands were left without power and numerous buildings were damaged or destroyed. Sadly, 4 fatalities and multiple injuries were reported in Columbia, Mississippi. Severe weather will stretch from Florida to the North Carolina today with thunderstorms possible as far north as New York and Ontario.

Tuesday, 23 December 2014

Freezing Rain Warning for Montreal & Ottawa Valley

Santa may have trouble landing the sleigh in rain across Ontario and Quebec this Christmas Eve. (TWC Image)
A warm front approaching the St. Lawrence Valley early this morning is producing a wide area of light snow and freezing rain from Kingston across upstate New York and into southern Quebec and the Ottawa Valley. Light snow and sleet are falling in Montreal with slippery roads and a current temperature of -4C (25F).

Warnings are in effect for 2mm to as much as 10mm of frozen precipitation throughout the day in Quebec, enough to make travel very icy. Already this morning Highway 401 east of Kingston, Ontario is closed due to a crash, traffic is at a standstill according to MTO cameras. If you can wait to travel today, best to do so at least until late afternoon when temperatures should warm above freezing south and west of Montreal. It will take longer northeast of Montreal, likely into the overnight hours to warm up. By Christmas Eve everybody should be above freezing as a second more intense storm arrives in western Quebec.

This second storm, developing along the Gulf Coast, will send a surge of mild air and deep moisture north Wednesday into early Christmas Day. Montreal and most of eastern Ontario can expect a decent rainstorm with over 25mm (1 inch) of rain and winds increasing out of the west to over 50km/h. Temperatures may approach record high values in some parts of eastern Ontario and southwest Quebec Christmas Eve and Day. Look for highs to rise through 0C (32F) today up to between plus 7C and 10C (45 to 50F) Wednesday. There may even be a rumble or two of thunder Christmas Eve, just to add to the odd weather. On Christmas Day look for clouds along with a shower and mild highs of 5C (41F). A cold front may produce some flurries along with colder weather into Boxing Day. It will become very windy as well.

Winter enthusiasts don't despair, it looks like much colder and snowier weather to end the year, more on that later.

Sunday, 21 December 2014

Windy & wet Christmas for Montreal

Just a typical scene from Montreal during winter in the 1970's. I was blessed to be a child in this city during that time.
Happy Winter, the season arrived at 6:03pm Sunday evening.

If there is one thing I hate, it is rain on Christmas Day. You have to understand, I am a child of the 70's, as far as I am concerned, the best decade out of the last 5. The 1970's were just awesome at Christmas time. A look back at the stats for Montreal backs that up with lots of snow at Christmas time for sledding and skiing and ice at the park to skate on. I remember 1975 for example, 74cm of snow for the month, 3 storms including a Christmas Day storm that dumped 27cm into Boxing Day. There were others as well throughout the decade. This was my childhood, snowy Christmas after snowy Christmas throughout the 70's until 1979 that is. It seemed to change overnight as the decade was coming to an end. Christmas Day 1979 was green, the first of my childhood. It rained, over 31mm on the 25th. The month was very mild with only 8cm of snow, but 64mm of rain. It could be global warming, it could be the fact I turned 13, but either way the magic for me ended in 1979. After that, and certainly in the last 20 years, you have a more than even chance of rain and a green Christmas as you do for snow on December 25th in Montreal.

That brings me to Christmas 2014 and the likelihood of heavy rain and gusty winds throughout the middle portion of this week. To start the week we have chilly temperatures along with some fog and perhaps a few flurries. Low pressure developing along the Gulf coast will combine with another over the Great Lakes to create a potent storm by late Tuesday. This system will draw mild air into New England, Ontario and Quebec. Temperatures will begin warming by Tuesday and rise above freezing through Christmas Day. Heavy rain, from 25-50mm (1-2 inches) is likely from Wednesday into early Thursday. There may be a little freezing rain early on in the event on Tuesday afternoon. Temperatures will warm to 5C (41F) in Montreal and as warm as 10C (50F) in Toronto by Christmas Eve. Winds will also increase with this storm gusting well in excess of 50km/h by Wednesday. A cold front will bring an end to the rain late Thursday with perhaps a few flurries into Friday.

It is a very busy travel week for many and warnings may be required by Tuesday. I will update the blog as often as needed through Christmas Eve.

Thursday, 18 December 2014

Potential Christmas Eve storm for Montreal

Wrapping up the snow clearing operation on L'Ile Perrot from last weeks storm. (ValleyWX Photo)
This dreary, soupy weather we have been in for at least a week has become rather tiring. The last week has seen low clouds, fog, light precipitation and temperatures hovering around 0C (32F) all the time here in Montreal. This morning is no different with a current reading of, you guessed it, 0C. We will remain steady there today into tonight as low pressure deepens in the Atlantic Ocean east of Nova Scotia. This system is producing quite a decent snowfall in Maine and New Brunswick with 15-20cm falling. The western edge of it is producing light snow across southern Quebec with 5-10cm for Sherbrooke and Quebec City and 2-4cm for Montreal. The snow should taper by noon for Montreal followed by cloudy skies. Temperatures will be a little cooler tonight under clearing skies with lows of -5C. Friday into Sunday should be partly cloudy with temperatures near -1C.

A pattern change looks likely for the week of Christmas across Ontario and Quebec. Much colder air is forecast to arrive by Boxing Day with the increasing potential for a major storm for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. Some computer models have a very deep storm system over the central Great Lakes by next Wednesday producing heavy amounts of snow north and west of the track and mixed precipitation here in Montreal. It would be a very windy system as well. There remains lots of uncertainty with this forecast as to timing and location of specific precipitation, however with it being a busy travel week we need to put it out there early. Have a back up plan ready just in case, this applies to our entire region into Ontario and south into the Ohio Valley, New York and New England.

Monday, 15 December 2014

Mild but dreary week ahead for Montreal

The storminess has shifted to the west coast of North America with heavy rain and snow as well as very strong winds and coastal flooding from B.C. to California. The dramatic photo above is from Mission Terrace, California. The storms have killed three in California producing flooding, landslides, power outages and massive transport delays. (Photo via Twitter,
Low clouds and fog and in some cases freezing drizzle continue to prevail across eastern Ontario and southern Quebec this morning. It is quite mild at -2C with very little movement in temperature over the entire weekend. Low pressure that brought us our first big snow last week is now located well east of the region over the Atlantic. High pressure has been trying to clear skies out since Saturday but to no avail. Moisture trapped at the surface has created a temperature inversion and left us with solid cloud cover. Sadly the clouds will hang on until the arrival of the next weather system, so it does not look good for any sunshine. Temperatures will be mild in Montreal for the next several days, near 0C (32F) today and Tuesday and above freezing to 2C (36F) on Wednesday. Low pressure will move very near the St. Lawrence Valley on Wednesday with a period of rain or mixed precipitation before changing to snow Wednesday night.  This is not a big storm, so amounts will be on the light side. It nevertheless will make for some slippery driving mid week. Temperatures will trend colder by the end of the week but no real arctic air is forecast until after Christmas.

Thursday, 11 December 2014

Storm lessens grip on southern Quebec

The weight of the snow has put a tremendous strain on power lines and trees, but thankfully most have held in Montreal. Above the power and cable lines are almost touching my fence on L'Ile Perrot. (ValleyWX)
The first big winter storm of the season for metro Montreal will begin to slowly taper off today. Nearly 27cm (11 inches) of snow has fallen in Montreal with a general 15-30cm (6-12") across the entire region. The snow has been wet and heavy and difficult to clean. Temperatures for the duration of the storm have been within a few degrees of 0C. The official high at Trudeau Airport on Wednesday was 0.2C with a low of -0.8C, not much range. Typically coastal lows pass very quickly on the way to Atlantic Canada but not this one. It has lingered over New England now for 48 hours and will continue to do so well into Friday before weakening. The result has been lots of Atlantic moisture being transported inland as far west as Toronto this morning. Light snow will continue into Friday before ending with perhaps another 5cm for Montreal. The weekend at this time looks fair and mild for the big cleanup.

Rainfall has exceeded 100mm (4 inches) across portions of New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and PEI, while heavy snow and freezing rain knocked out power to over 20,000 Hydro Quebec customers, mostly in the Quebec City and the Eastern Townships. Winds around Quebec City and the lower St. Lawrence were as high as 100km/h on Wednesday. Numerous flights in and out of Trudeau Airport were either delayed or cancelled. The roads were terrible during the evening commute with a number of major accidents and even the closer of Highway 20 east of Quebec City due to whiteout conditions.

Wednesday, 10 December 2014

Long duration storm for Montreal

Around 10cm of wet snow fell on L'Ile Perrot overnight. More on the way this afternoon. (ValleyWX)
 Low pressure this afternoon is located over southern New York State. The system continues to send moisture across New England and into New York, Ontario and Quebec. Around 10cm (4 inches) of very dense heavy wet snow has fallen in Montreal and west into eastern Ontario with areas of freezing rain across the Townships. Quebec City has had 8cm of snow. Winter Storm Warnings and Snowfall Warnings remain in effect across the region. Another surge of moisture should arrive in Montreal by this afternoon with an additional 10-15cm (4-6") forecast into Thursday morning. Strong winds are also occurring today with gusts to 60km/h in Montreal.

Green Mountain Power crews in Vermont are keeping busy after heavy snow brought down trees on power lines. Over 35,000 customers were without power overnight. (NECN)
 Hydro Quebec is reporting nearly 10,000 customers without power due to the storm across the province, while Green Mountain Power in Vermont has nearly 17,000 blacked out. This number in Vermont is down from a high of 35,000 overnight. It may take days to restore all the power in Vermont, depending on how this next batch of moisture plays out. Roads are in good shape right now in metro Montreal, mostly slushy with the temperature stuck at 0C (32F) since 3am this morning. That may change as more snow arrives later this afternoon.

Tuesday, 9 December 2014

Snowfall warning for metro Montreal

Visible Satellite image of low pressure near New York City this afternoon. (NWS NYC)
 Southern Quebec will be affected by a major east coast storm over the next 36 hours. Low pressure near New York City will slowly meander across New England through Thursday. The storm has been pounding coastal areas with flooding from North Carolina to New England today. Inland heavy rain and freezing rain is falling along the coastal plain with snow over the Green Mountains and Adirondacks. The snow has reached the St. Lawrence Valley and will fall steadily into late Wednesday. Montreal is looking at 20-30cm of snow, the first big storm of the season, therefore a snowfall warning is now in effect for the city and suburbs. Traffic is already crawling along area highways tonight.

Very poor travel across Vermont today. (via twitter Fox44)
Heavy snow is also forecast across eastern Ontario where warnings have been posted for Cornwall and points east. Winds will be strong along the St. Lawrence Valley from 50-70km/h with higher gusts possible, especially near Quebec City. Travel will be poor Wednesday into Thursday. Temperatures will be near the freezing point for the storm so the snow will be wet and very heavy. Winter storm warnings are also in effect fro northern New York, Vermont, Quebec City and the Eastern Townships. Environment Canada recommends postponing unnecessary travel on Wednesday for points south and east of Montreal.

Major storm to impact southern Quebec

NCDOT photo of the Atlantic Ocean rushing onto North Carolina Highway 12 on the Outer Banks Monday. The flooding was caused by a strong Nor'Easter heading for New England and Quebec. Gale force winds, coastal flooding and heavy snow and rain will occur along the track of the storm. Strong winds and snow for Montreal.
Winter Storm Warning: Vermont, NY as well as Quebec City, Beauce and Townships.
Winter Weather Advisory: St. Lawrence Valley.
Special Weather Statement: Metro Montreal and Ottawa.

Low pressure this morning just east of Virginia Beach will move northeast towards New York City while deepening today. A plume of moisture associated with this system will overspread New England today and into southern Quebec and eastern Ontario tonight. Temperature profiles will be critical but it looks like mainly snow for Montreal and Ottawa with perhaps a mix across other portions of the province. This morning Montreal is cloudy and -5C. The temperature has fallen 5 degrees in the last hour after a wind shift form southeast to northeast. Northeast winds will increase all day becoming strong 50-70km/h by tonight and as high as 110km/h in Quebec City.

Light snow will develop this evening and continue throughout Wednesday in Montreal with 10-15cm (4-6 inches) likely for the city and perhaps 20cm (8 inches) outside the metro areas. As much as 30cm (1 foot) is possible in Quebec City and across the Beauce and Eastern Townships. There will be blowing snow as well reducing visibility in the St. Lawrence Valley. Travel will be slow across a wide area of eastern Ontario, southern Quebec and the northeast US late tonight and Wednesday. Light snow will continue into Thursday for Montreal with additional accumulations likely. Temperatures during the storm will be around 0C (32F) for highs and -4C (25F) for lows. The storm will slowly weaken as it meanders around New England before being swept into the Atlantic by Saturday.

Monday, 8 December 2014

Atlantic Coast storm to impact southern Quebec

Just one computer model depicting a major storm near New York City by early Wednesday morning. This scenario produces heavy wet snow over the St. Lawrence Valley.

A rather complex weather scenario is setting up this week with the potential to dump heavy wet snow on the St. Lawrence Valley from Brockville to Quebec City. Cold high pressure is in place this morning with some of the chilliest readings so far this season. Temperatures range from -11 to -15C on the island of Montreal, but as cold as -18C north of the city. Look for sunshine with increasing clouds today and a cold high of -8C. Those clouds will thicken on Tuesday in response to low pressure organizing off the US eastern seaboard. This system will deepen into a major storm with strong winds and heavy precipitation for all of New England, New York eastern Ontario, Quebec and Atlantic Canada. It has been a difficult scenario for the computer models to handle, and lots of uncertainty remains as to the type and location of the heaviest precipitation. Right now it looks like mostly wet snow for eastern Ontario and a rain snow mix for southern Quebec with perhaps a prolonged period of freezing rain.

The initial push of moisture will arrive by late Tuesday, I am hopeful after the evening commute for Montreal. That will result in a few centimetres of wet snow with highs near 0C (32F). The snow will continue overnight into Wednesday morning with the possibility of over 10cm by Wednesday morning. I don't think Wednesday will be a good driving day in Montreal and Ottawa as well as the Quebec City to Brockville corridor. Heading south the same situation will prevail with 15-30cm (6-12 inches) of wet snow possible over northern Vermont and New York. Winds will become very strong out of the northeast in Montreal gusting in excess of 50km/h by late Tuesday. Looking ahead the system will be in no hurry to move away lingering along the coast near New York City and continuing to pump moisture into our region. Light snow or a wintry mix may last well into Thursday or Friday.

Warnings will likely be required for a portion of our region later today. I will post those as soon as they are available. Plan your week accordingly as travel will be rather difficult at times.

Friday, 5 December 2014

Big temperature swing - more light snow for Montreal

Snowfall forecast from
Another shot of light snow or freezing drizzle is expected for southern Quebec as we head into this weekend. We are quite cold this morning across the western suburbs of Montreal with temperatures between -12C and -15C (5 to 10F). Expect a sunny, chilly day today with highs reaching -2C (29F) by late in the day. Clouds will be on the increase all day as a warm front lifts north from the Ohio Valley. Low pressure will move along the front as well passing well south of Montreal. Some light snow will develop this evening and mix with freezing rain overnight. A general 2-3cm is possible for metro Montreal, very similar to Wednesday night. More snow is expected further south and east along the Maine border as well as northeast of Quebec City. Temperatures will eventually rise above freezing on Saturday to around 2C (36F) with showers likely. Another strong cold front will cross the region late in the day Saturday with a round of snow showers before temperatures fall back down below freezing. Sunday and Monday look fair but cold with highs near -7C (19F).

Looking ahead into early next week, an active period of weather is possible with the potential for an east coast storm by the middle of the work week. Temperatures across North America will be above normal as the cold air retreats well to the north and milder Pacific air takes over. As far as the east coast storm goes, there is the chance for significant snow or rain depending on the track. It will bear watching. Look for updates on this blog over the weekend.

Tuesday, 2 December 2014

Snow & freezing rain tonight for Montreal

Hydro workers continue to restore power in Maine and New Hampshire after the Thanksgiving Day snowstorm knocked 200,000 customers into the dark. Crews from across New England, Atlantic Canada, Ontario and Quebec arrived to help. The worker above, Larry Page, is from New Brunswick working in Bow, New Hampshire. AP Photo
We are cold this morning in metro Montreal, the coldest morning this season so far. The temperature here on L'Ile Perrot is at -15C (5F) almost 20 degrees colder than it was Monday morning. Along with that is a biting northeast wind pushing the windchill value down to -23C. It will be a cold day in southern Quebec and Ontario with temperatures around -5C (23F) for a daytime high. The good news is we will have bright sunshine and it will remain dry.

This evening the weather will begin to deteriorate, setting us up for a messy commute Wednesday morning. Low pressure and a warm front will approach form the Ohio Valley with a period of snow, sleet and freezing rain forecast for the entire region. Precipitation will begin this evening and change to rain in Montreal by mid morning Wednesday as the temperature rises back above the freezing point to a high of 4C (39F). The wintry mix could accumulate 5cm to as much as 8cm (1-3 inches) in some locations. A winter weather advisory is now in effect for all of New York and New England. We do not have such a level of weather warning in Canada, however be prepared for icy and snow covered roads overnight and early Wednesday across the area.

Any leftover rain will change back to flurries by late Wednesday in Ontario and Quebec as we take another dive down in the temperature department. Thursday looks windy and cold at this time, -3C, as the roller coaster ride I mentioned late last week continues.