Friday, 27 February 2015

Will March come in lamb or lion like?

A beautiful picture from one of my favorite places on the planet, Ocracoke Island, North Carolina. They had some rare snow this week as cold air settled into the deep southern US. Only Florida and Hawaii were spared snowfall this week.
(Ocracoke Island Journal Blog)
The lion versus lamb reference is always referred to at this time of year. This is an old English proverb that basically states that if March starts poorly in the weather department, it will end well and vice versa. In reality March is often a month of tremendous transition in Montreal, with our biggest snowstorms, biting cold but also heavy rain and record warmth. It can really go either way. It looks rather lamb like at the moment.

So the question of the week, and stated here in much more polite terms that is has been poised to me, when will it warm up? The answer, soon, but very slowly. It is a valid question given that this is one of the longest below 0C (32F) periods in recent memory. The temperature dropped below 0C in Montreal at 1pm on January 19, 2015, by my calculations very close to 40 days ago. It has not risen above since. The average temperature for February so far is in the -15C (5F) range with a day to go, which puts it on par to be one of the coldest months ever in this city. If we look even further back into the record books, 56 of the last 59 days have been below freezing making it one of the most prolonged cold spells since the early 1900's in Montreal.

Sunshine will prevail today across the St. Lawrence Valley but with cold highs of around -10C (14F). On the weekend it will turn warmer with highs forecast to be around -4C (25F) both Saturday and Sunday. Overnight lows will remain chilly, down to -18C (0F). Late in the day Sunday clouds will increase from a weak frontal system, with some light snow overnight into Monday. Amounts will range from 3-10cm across the area with the highest amounts in the Adirondacks and Green Mountains. Sunshine returns Monday into Tuesday before another low pressure area approaches form the Great Lakes. At this time it looks like snow will develop late Tuesday night in Montreal and persist into Wednesday, perhaps mixing with rain. Yes I said rain, and that means our streak of below freezing weather could come to an end as early as next Wednesday. Amounts of precipitation with this storm will be in the moderate range, perhaps more than 10cm (4 inches of snow), then rain or freezing rain, so perhaps warnings will be required. It is still early in the forecast period, so we will have to wait and see how this system evolves.

Tuesday, 24 February 2015

Very slow warming trend for Montreal

Above & Below: Just how cold has it been? Enough to partially freeze over the mighty Niagara Falls.
  It was another cold morning in Montreal on Tuesday, the coldest February 24 since 1972. The temperature dropped to -24.8C (-13F) at Trudeau Airport, shattering the previous record of -21.7C (-8F). It was even colder in rural areas with -27C (-17F) on L'Ile Perrot, the second coldest morning of this winter and the third coldest since I moved here in 2009. Other records were set with St. Anicet at -30C (-24, 2005), Kemptville, Ontario at -27.3C (-25, 1934) and Ottawa at -26.8C (-20.9, 1989). The core of this batch of cold air will move east tonight as a very weak area of low pressure slides across southern Quebec. Moisture is very limited with this system so don't expect much in the way of snowfall, perhaps 1-3cm across the region. Winds will become gusty again Wednesday afternoon, up to 50km/h, creating areas of blowing and drifting snow.

I may have been a little too excited this morning in my claim that Montreal would not see anymore minus 20 degree mornings. In fact the cold front that crosses the region tomorrow night will introduce a reinforcing shot of cold air. With clear skies tomorrow and again Thursday and Friday we may indeed dip just below -20C in some parts of southern Quebec. The good news is we are looking at a general warming trend into the weekend and next week. It won't become tropical, but temperatures will get closer to the normal high and low of -2C and -11C respectively. What I do however see for March is snow, and perhaps lots of it. Montreal has really managed to avoid a major snowstorm this year with a generous 20cm recorded on two occasions. That may change as we head into March and the storm track begins to originate more from the Gulf of Mexico and travels a little further north along the jet stream. Time will tell, but that is what the crystal ball is showing right now.

Incidentally the Great Lakes have more ice cover than last year at this time. Just over 84% of the lake area is covered with ice, way ahead of last year which was 67% at this time. In 40 years of record keeping, the maximum recorded ice was in the cold winter of 1979 with 97%. Last year the maximum of 92.5% was reached in March. Even the mighty Niagara Falls have been slowed somewhat as large portions of it are frozen over. The vast ice cover will likely have an impact on our spring, just as it did last year.

Monday, 23 February 2015

One more week of the arctic chill for Ontario & Quebec

While L'Ile Perrot and the rest of metro Montreal have only had between 50-60cm (20-24") of snow this month, the extreme cold has meant is it all still around. The relentless smaller snowfalls and wind have kept roads in poor condition and snowplow operators working non-stop. (ValleyWX Photo)
Montreal managed a high of -4C (25F) on Sunday afternoon, the warmest in some time, but still short of the freezing point. That makes 34 days since we were last above freezing in this city, a trend that will last all this week. After 5-10cm of snow over the weekend, including a decent squall along the cold front late last evening, temperatures have dropped rapidly this morning. It is currently -19C (-2F) on L'Ile Perrot with northwest winds in excess of 40km/h. This has placed windchill readings once again in the minus 30's across southern Quebec. The cold wind chills extend into Ontario and New York as well as New England prompting widespread extreme cold and windchill warnings. The criteria in Quebec is -40C, so no warnings are posted here. This makes no difference at all, it is still stupid cold once again!

The cold will last all week with a forecast high of only -18C (0F) today for Montreal, dropping into the mid minus 20's overnight region wide. Tuesday clouds will increase as a weak clipper moves in from western Canada. That will moderate temperatures slightly, rising up to between -7C and -9C (15 to 20F) for the balance of the week. While that is still well below normal, it is a vast improvement over the rest of this month. Lows will be in the -15 to -17C (2 to 5F) range. As far as snowfall goes, we are expecting at 2-5cm late Tuesday and Wednesday before high pressure returns on Thursday. Skies will remain clear into next weekend with moderating temperatures. At this time the start of March looks stormy, but that is still a week away. As we have seen this winter, allot can happen in that time frame.

Saturday, 21 February 2015

24 hour break from the cold for Montreal

Frozen in time...Belgrave Avenue in NDG on Friday morning. (Global News Photo)
The winds have finally calmed this morning after almost 48 hours of 50 to 60km/h gusts across southern Quebec. The constant blowing and drifting snow made road travel terrible especially off island to the south. At one point yesterday several highways including Quebec Autoroute 15 to the US border were closed because of the weather. Blowing snow reduced visibility and iced roads in the extreme cold. Numerous accidents were reported. The cold has been relentless this month and Friday was no different in Montreal. Despite the eventual sunshine, temperatures only warmed to -16C. That is the current temperature this morning. 

Clouds have increased again over southern Quebec this morning in advance of low pressure moving from the Ohio Valley down the St. Lawrence Valley. Light snow will start early today and taper off by Sunday morning. A general 5-10cm (2-4 inches) is forecast across southern Quebec and Ontario with perhaps 15-20cm (6-8 inches) along the US border and points south into the Greens and Adirondacks. Temperatures will warm all day today, tonight and Sunday up to a sultry -2C (28F). It may even rise above freezing in a few spots Sunday, which would be the first time that has happened in over 6 weeks. It will be short lived as winds will increase again late Sunday and temperatures will plummet down to -20C (-4F) in Montreal by Monday morning. Clouds and flurries are likely along an arctic front that will clear the region by Monday morning. The high on Monday will only be -17C (2F) with gusty winds and low windchill values. The gusty 50km/h winds will also blow around the fresh snow once again making travel poor on highways outside the city.

The prolonged frigid weather has created a mess with multiple water main breaks in Montreal. There have been several major breaks across the island that have flooded basements and trapped cars in mounds of ice. Yesterday was no different with a break on Belgrave Avenue in NDG not only flooding roads, but also the AMT commuter rail line, delaying service for the third time this week. The delay in train service left thousands of commuters freezing on windy platforms on three lines. Earlier in the week, frozen switches delayed train service for over an hour Thursday night.
No major relief is in sight yet with more cold weather all this week.

Wednesday, 18 February 2015

It could be the coldest February in Montreal since 1978

Brackley Beach, PEI buried under record snows.
If you thought it was cold in Montreal, you were right. A little research on my part is showing that we have not been this cold, this long in February, since 1978, when I was 12! I looked back over the data to see the last time Montreal remained below 0C (32F) for the entire month of February. I had to go back to 1978 when the overall average for the month was only -12.1C (10.2F). Through February 17, 2015, we are sitting at -15.9C (4F). For reference the normal average for February is -7.7C (18F). If we last the next 10 days below the 0C mark we will establish the dubious distinction of having stayed below freezing for an entire month. As a matter of fact the last time Montreal was above freezing was January 19. If you look at the average high and lows for the first 17 days of this month, you see just how cold it is. The current data from Trudeau (and my house backs this up) shows an average high of -11.7C (11F) and low of -20.0C (-4F), the normal is -3C (27F) and -12C (10F) respectively. We are literally freezing and it is expected to stay that way into the first week of March. Other cold years in Montreal included 1979, 1993 and 1994, but they had a least one day above freezing in February.

We have not had lots of snow this month, but what has fallen has stayed and is piled high everywhere. It is no coincidence that Boston is having a winter that is rivaling that of 1978. The two winters have strong similarities, and we are not done yet.

The next storm poised to bring snow to New England, Quebec, Ontario and Atlantic Canada this weekend.
 More snow is on the way for Montreal with a brief warm up to -8C or so over the next day or two. Expect light snow to develop this evening in Montreal and persist all day Thursday. Up to 5cm can be expected in Montreal with perhaps as much as 10-15cm for the Townships, along the US border. Friday will clear out slowly but it will turn wind and cold again, down to -20C Friday night. Another storm system is expected to arrive for the weekend with perhaps 5-10cm of snow for Montreal and points south, less north and west. I am watching this system closely to see if we can expect more from it or not. The computer models have been all over the place with this potential storm, stay tuned!

Sunday, 15 February 2015

Powerful winter storm slams Atlantic Canada

A visible satellite image of the intense Nor'easter just south of Nova Scotia on Sunday afternoon. (NOAA image)
Another major winter storm has bypassed southern Quebec with just 1-3cm of light snow on Saturday. Winds were gusty with some blowing snow, but not the whiteouts that has been feared. On Saturday, low pressure moved across New York State and off the coast near New Jersey. It then bombed out, dropping more than 24 millibars of pressure in 24 hours and becoming an intense winter storm. With a look from space that resembled a hurricane, the powerful storm swept along the New England coast and into eastern Nova Scotia.

Heavy snow with strong winds in excess of 100km/h brought travel to a standstill, even keeping the snowplows off the roads in parts of New Brunswick and Nova Scotia. Nearly 50cm of snow fell in Greenwood, Nova Scotia, with 43cm at Moncton. In Halifax, the heavy snow was followed by a brief warm up and over 20mm of rain. The rain and melting snow flooded streets which rapidly froze when the temperature fell from plus 2C (36F) to -6C (21F) in one hour this afternoon. Strong winds in excess of 70km/h also hit Halifax. Charlottetown, PEI has received over 60cm of snow with 95km/h winds and visibility under 1km for over 24 hours. The Gaspe coast of Quebec was also hit with blizzard conditions, and up to 40cm of snow. Widespread travel disruptions and power failures stretch across Atlantic Canada and into eastern New England. Boston has now had its third snowiest winter on record reaching 89.2 inches of snow on Sunday as another 10 inches fell by late in the day. More snow is forecast by Wednesday as another storm moves up the eastern seaboard.

Flooding and a rapid freeze made for a difficult day on the roads in Halifax. (The Halifax Chronicle)
Cold air has been drawn into southern Quebec and Ontario on the backside of the storm. Overnight lows of -23C to -27C are expected by Monday morning with winds of up to 50km/h into Monday. Windchill values will be in the minus 30's for metro Montreal. At least it will be sunny.

Outside Moncton, NB this morning. (Global via Twitter)

Saturday, 14 February 2015

Frigid with blowing snow advisory for southern Quebec

Low pressure is diving southeast across the Great Lakes today and will move towards Cape Cod tonight. This storm will then deepen rapidly into a major Nor'easter as it moves along the coast and into Nova Scotia. A very tight pressure gradient on the west side of the storm will increase winds across the Great Lakes basin and St. Lawrence Valley late today and Sunday. Winds in excess of 60km/h are likely in Montreal with higher gusts along the waterways. The result will be widespread blowing snow late this afternoon, overnight and early Sunday. Environment Canada has posted a blowing snow advisory for metro Montreal and points south with visibility expected to be under 1km at times. Travel with caution later today, especially outside the city going south.

As far as accumulations go, Montreal will be on the edge of the precipitation shield with perhaps 5-10cm (2-4 inches) of snow over the next 24 hours. The northwest wind will also pull down bitterly cold air with readings around -18C (0F) today and Sunday and windchill readings in the minus 30's. Lows Sunday night may be the coldest of the season, down to -25C with windchill values approaching -40C in southern Quebec and Ontario. The same forecast holds true for New York and New England with more snow forecast in those regions. A vast amount of warnings are in effect from the Ohio Valley across southern Ontario and Quebec, New England and into Atlantic Canada. Snowfall will range form 10-40cm across those regions. Winds will gust to hurricane force along the New England coast and into the Maritimes. Coastal flooding is possible in many communities. Around the Great Lakes snow squalls will affect the area south of Georgian Bay and Lake Huron as well as western New York as the cold air surges in. The Nor'Easter will pull away into Newfoundland by Monday with diminishing winds and very cold temperatures in its wake across Quebec.

Friday, 13 February 2015

Windy, bitterly cold weekend for Quebec & Ontario

A Notre-Dame-de-L'Ile-Perrot Public Works tractor takes advantage of a break in the snow to clear away some of the huge piles from fire hydrants. It has snowed everyday in February in Montreal with 33cm (13 inches) at Trudeau Airport but as much as 40cm (16 inches) across the south shore and off island. More is forecast this weekend. (ValleyWX)
Low pressure that brought us another 10cm (4 inches) of snow on Thursday is now well east of Quebec in the north Atlantic. Winds have increased this morning in southern Quebec as the storm deepens in the Atlantic. High pressure will be over us today with sunshine, but bitterly cold with a high around -18C (0F). Factor in a northwest wind of 30-50km/h and windchill values will be in the minus 30's. Currently L'Ile Perrot sits at -24C (-11F) with a windchill of -35C (-30F). It is -24C at Trudeau Airport and -27C in Ottawa. All around metro Montreal, including New England and Ontario, windchill and extreme cold warnings are in effect. The criteria is different by province so while Montreal is just as cold, we have no special mention to highlight the danger. All I can say is bundle up all weekend.

Another clipper low will dive across Lake Ontario tonight and Saturday with another period of snow and blowing snow for southern Ontario and Quebec. A general 5-7cm is likely, very similar to Thursdays system. As that low reaches the Gulf of Maine it will bomb out becoming a major storm. Eastern New England, including Boston, and Atlantic Canada will see blizzard conditions on Sunday with heavy snow, over 30cm (1 foot) and winds in excess of 100km/h. Coastal flooding is possible from Massachusetts into Nova Scotia. The storm will also pull down very cold air across Quebec. Temperatures this weekend will be frigid around -16C (4F) for highs in Montreal with very strong winds all weekend. Montreal will remain on the edge of the coastal storm with clearing skies on Sunday but windy and cold. No warm air is on the horizon through at least the middle portion of next week.

Wednesday, 11 February 2015

Another arctic outbreak forecast for Montreal

Above and below are a smattering of pictures showing the impact of heavy snow in Boston and southern New England. They have resorted to snow melters in Boston, in an effort to get rid of the mounds of snow. Most of the storms have just missed Montreal leaving our seasonal snow total at 125cm (50 inches). (AP Photos)
Weather has always been big in my world, going back to my childhood years in the early 70's. It seems weather has become a big topic lately as the mainstream media, especially in the U.S. comes on board with the recent spat of storms. We had a friendly debate yesterday at work over climate change and global warming. Whether or not you believe in such theories, it is a topic that usually conjures up a lengthy and exhausting debate. Bottom line, what you see out the window now is related more to the current short term weather pattern and not long term climate change. I am just saying, don't discount climate change because it is cold out today.

This pattern by the way, shows no signs of changing in the near future. L'Ile Perrot is clear this morning at -17C (2F), another cold morning, well below the normal low of  -13C (9F). The high today is forecast to be only -13C (9F), the normal high is -4C (25F) for Montreal. Clouds will increase this evening as another clipper type low pressure system, following the same track as the last few, moves south of Montreal across New England. Snow will develop in Ottawa this evening and Montreal after midnight with 5-10cm forecast through Thursday. Temperatures will moderate slightly in the snow but then plummet Thursday night and remain frigid into this weekend. Lows overnight both Saturday and Sunday will be near -24C (-11F) in Montreal and even colder in rural areas away form the city. Strong winds will make the windchill bitter. After the snow Thursday, no major storms are forecast for Montreal at this time.

The big weather news this week has been the relentless parade of storms across New England. More heavy snow this week in Boston and southern coastal New Hampshire, has pushed the three week total to over 70 inches (175cm). It also has placed this winter`s snow depth at number nine all time in Boston, and climbing up quickly. More heavy snow is forecast this weekend with the potential of two separate storms impacting the region. Snow is piled up to the roof tops in some places. The National Guard has been called in to help with snow clearing operations. Some roofs have even collapsed under the weight of the heavy snow. It has snowed in Boston on 13 of the last 17 days.

Snow blocks the entrance to the Seacoast Science Center in Rye, New Hampshire. I love this place, having visited most recently this past summer. I would love to visit this week! (Facebook)

Monday, 9 February 2015

Below normal temperatures for Montreal

Snow covered roads and poor visibility greeted drivers off island on Sunday. (ValleyWX Photo)
The front that brought us around 10cm (4 inches) of snow on Sunday has now settled south across southern New England. Places like Boston and Albany are getting more heavy snow today with already 30cm on the ground in places. Thousands of flights are delayed or cancelled for the third week in a row as the relentless parade of storms continues. Once finished with New England the storm will move into Atlantic Canada giving them another major storm.

Montreal will see just a few flurries today, with little additional accumulation expected. Gusty northeast winds will persist. On Sunday the wind reached as high as 60km/h, and combined with the cold and snow, made for terrible road conditions. Numerous accidents were reported again, including a major one on the South Shore near Drummondville. The wind also made it feel as cold as -30C (-22F) in Montreal. Today will be no different with the high struggling to reach -13C (9F) along with a 50km/h wind. It will warm slightly for Tuesday and Wednesday, up to -8C (18F) or so, but another round of snow is on the way for mid-week. A clipper system will follow the same track across the Great Lakes and New England giving Montreal and southern Quebec another 5-10cm of snow late Wednesday into Thursday. Once that system clears the region Friday, strong north winds and bitter cold will arrive with some of the coldest air of the winter expected. Highs will be near -18C (0F) with lows as cold as -25C (-13F). It will at least be sunny next weekend.

Sunday, 8 February 2015

Bitterly cold & snowy for Montreal

NWS Burlington snow forecast including the St. Lawrence Valley. Around 6 inches (15cm) is forecast along the border, with less as you move northwest towards Montreal, 4 inches (5-10cm). Double click map for more detail.
The snowy, cold weather pattern will prevail across eastern Canada with a couple of more waves of low pressure affecting the region this week. A frontal boundary draped across the Great Lakes this morning is the dividing line between the arctic air over Montreal and warmer air to the south. This boundary will be the focus of snowfall today as low pressure rides along it through Monday. Snow and blowing snow is forecast for eastern Ontario, along the 401 and into Montreal today and Monday. It will be light most of the time with 5-10cm from Montreal north and 10-15cm south to the U.S. border and along the 401 corridor. South of the border, winter storm warnings are in place for upstate New York and Vermont for up to 30cm of snow or 1 foot by the time it ends late Monday or early Tuesday. Gusty northeast winds up to 50km/h in the St. Lawrence Valley will blow the snow around and make it feel bitterly cold. This morning it is -18C (0F) in Montreal with a northeast wind at 37km/h and a windchill of -31C (-24F). The cold will last all week with the potential for the coldest night of the winter by Friday or Saturday. More snow is forecast on Wednesday as another clipper crosses the valley. While it seems like we may have had lots of snow this month, it has come in small amounts and has added up to 15-20cm (6-8 inches) for southern Quebec. Let's compare that to Moncton, New Brunswick and other parts of the Maritimes that have had over 150cm (60") in the last 10 days alone with two more storms forecast for this week.

Friday, 6 February 2015

Lond duration period of snow forecast for Montreal

More snow is forecast for the winter weary east this weekend. (AccuWeather)
 I had mentioned earlier this week that the weekend forecast could go either way. Most forecast offices within our region were leaning towards clouds and snow this weekend but Environment Canada out of Montreal continued with the sunshine forecast, so up the middle we went. There seems to be more of a consensus now that snow will fall this weekend. While we are not expecting a big storm, it will be a long duration event that will add up to a few centimetres by late Monday.

A frontal boundary will establish itself across southern New England separating the polar air over our region from the more March like warmth creeping into the southern US. The warm air rising over the cold air at the surface will generate precipitation in the form of snow across interior New England, southern Quebec and eastern Ontario. Flurries are expected today, before a general light snow starts late Saturday. On Sunday a period of steady snow is expected, with up to 10cm possible by Monday afternoon for Montreal. Accumulations may reach 15cm or more over New Engalnd. The good news is that temperatures will moderate from the frigid low of -26C (-15F) this morning on L'Ile Perrot up to -10C (14F) today. Highs this weekend will be around -8C (18F). More arctic air is poised to invade Ontario and Quebec next week with very cold temperatures expected by Wednesday night. No real warming trend is anywhere in sight at this time, just more periods of snow and cold as the weather pattern remains active.

Thursday, 5 February 2015

Intervals of sunshine and snow but remaining cold

Above & Below: Lots of smaller snowfalls this winter and little melting has left many streets quite narrow on the West Island. Dorval Public Works were busy widening several of them on Wednesday. (ValletWX Photo)
 No big storms on the horizon as the mountains of snow continue to grow in Montreal, 5cm at a time. We had another clipper system give a decent 5-8cm of snow to Montreal and the entire region on Wednesday. The evening commute was very difficult as bursts of heavier snow along an arctic boundary arrived just in time for the nightly rush and wait. A break today with sunshine but a fresh breeze and cold highs of around -15C. (5F). Tonight will be frigid with overnight lows of -22C (-8F) in Montreal and Ottawa, but as cold as -26C (-15F) in Sherbrooke. Friday we will see increasing clouds as yet another weak clipper type low from western Canada rides along the warm/cold boundary and gives us a couple of centimetres of light snow late in the day. The story remains the same into this upcoming weekend, sunshine Saturday and cold, -13C (9F) followed by clouds and flurries on Sunday and cold, -14C (7F). Another area of low pressure will move across New England Monday with perhaps 5-10cm of snow once again for Montreal. The good news, the sunset today in metro Montreal is 5:06 pm, the days are getting longer!

Wednesday, 4 February 2015

Relentless snow & cold to continue

Moncton, New Brunswick on Tuesday. (CBC Kate Lerrerick)
The title of this blog entry states the obvious, after all it is February in Canada. We have a mild morning in Montreal with a current temperature of -6C (21F). Cloud cover with light snow is being reported across most of eastern Ontario and western Quebec. A clipper near Lake Ontario will rapidly move east across the region today. Snow will accumulate 5cm in Montreal with perhaps a little more in places. The mild air will be short lived as an arctic front will cross southern Quebec tonight with a burst of snow and dropping temperatures. The low tonight will be -15C and it will not warm up at all on Thursday. Tomorrow night will be clear and cold with lows in the minus 20's once again by Friday morning. The weather this weekend is a little up in the air. Depending on which model you look at, it will either be sunny or we get snow. It will be cold. The snow, if it happens will not be anything impressive, perhaps a few centimeteres. We will know more in the next 24 hours.

Snow has pounded New England and Atlantic Canada once again with over 30cm (1 foot) in parts of New Brunswick, PEI and Nova Scotia on Tuesday, adding up to over 100cm in the last two weeks. A state of emergency was declared in St John after 91cm of snow. Winds in excess of 150km/h produced blizzard conditions in western Newfoundland on Tuesday as well. A rapid freeze occurred in Newfoundland with snow changing to rain or freezing rain and then back to snow in a matter of hours. In Boston, the city has set a record for the most snow in a seven day period with 40.2 inches, this after another 16 inches hit that city Monday. More snow is forecast Thursday for New England and the Maritimes with winter storm warnings now posted for Nova Scotia and New Brunswick.

A Vermont Transportation Department snow plow lies on its side off Interstate 91 in Vermont after it was hit, one of four on Monday alone. (WCAX TV 3)
The snow combined with the frigid temperatures has created treacherous road conditions over the last few days in our region. Yesterday was no different with a major accident closing Highway 15 north of Montreal into Laval at the height of the morning commute. Also on Tuesday a fatal collision between a car and truck closed Highway 401 near Cornwall, Ontario for several hours. Two deaths were reported in that accident. The OPP reported numerous serious collisions and urged motorists to slow down. The same message was being delivered by Vermont State Police after a rash of major accidents on Interstate 89 and 91 Monday and Tuesday. One of their officers was nearly run over after a semi truck collided with his stopped patrol car. In Vermont, no less than four VTrans snowplows were hit on Monday alone. At one point state police were escorting the trucks. The message SLOW DOWN!

Tuesday, 3 February 2015

Welcome to the 33rd day of January

It was a painfully slow commute to and from work in Montreal on Monday. Expect more of the same today as the extreme cold has made salt ineffective. (ValleyWX Photo)
Different month, same weather for southern Quebec. My drive into work and home on Monday was possibly the worst commute I have had this winter. Snow and extreme cold is making salt ineffective. Roads were snow packed and extremely icy, and that has lead to hundreds of accidents as drivers refuse to slow down. In one split second on Monday on Highway 20 near Beaconsfield, two SUV's spun out in front and immediately behind me, hitting the guard rail in the process. It was icy, and the vehicle behind me in particular was travelling too fast for the conditions. The same holds true this morning with icy roads and many accidents in metro Montreal.

Around 10cm of snow fell in Montreal on Monday, driven by winds in excess of 50km/h most of the day. It was cold with a high of only -17C (1F) and bitter windchill values. We currently sit at -24C (-11F) in Montreal with lighter winds thankfully. It will be sunny today and a little milder with highs to -12C (10F) by late in the day. Clouds will be on the increase as another clipper type low pressure area arrives from western Canada. Snow will develop tonight and last into Wednesday with another 5-10cm possible for eastern Ontario and southern Quebec. Temperatures will be much milder on Wednesday in the snow, up to a balmy -6C (21F). It will turn colder again on Thursday with more snow likely by Saturday for Montreal.

Monday, 2 February 2015

Six more weeks of winter - starting today!

Phil in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania at 7:20 AM this morning. Phil saw his shadow, 6 more weeks of winter, as if we did not already know!
7:20 AM Update: Punxsutawney Phil in Pennsylvania has seen his shadow, lots more winter ahead.

As I write the various groundhogs across North America are getting ready to make their fearless prediction for an early Spring or six more weeks of winter. I just had to ask my dog, she did not want to walk this morning, and for good reason. It is a frigid Monday morning in Montreal and across the entire region. The temperature is currently -22C (-8F) with a wind blowing out of the northeast, as it will be all day, in excess of 50km/h. Add the two and you are looking at windchill readings in the minus 30's.

Strong low pressure that has put down 1-2 feet of wind driven snow from Illinois into Michigan and Ontario is edging into southern Quebec this morning. The center of the low will move across Pennsylvania and off the Atlantic Coast near New York City by tonight.We will remain on the northern edge of the precipitation with 10cm of snow for Montreal and up to 20cm along the US border. 20-30cm is forecast for snow weary New England and Atlantic Canada. The wind will be a major factor in Montreal as it has been along the entire 401 corridor. Expect lots of blowing snow with visibility often under 1km. A blowing snow advisory is in effect for the St. Lawrence Valley, with winter storm warnings for the Townships where 20cm is forecast today. Travel by air and road has been greatly impacted across Ontario and the US Midwest and expect delays in New England and Quebec today. Call ahead to the airport as many flights to Toronto have been delayed. Already 15-20cm has fallen in Toronto with 35cm (14") in Windsor, Ontario and Detroit, and 19.3 inches in Chicago.

Sunday, 1 February 2015

Groundhog Day storm to shift north - affect Montreal

A dramatic picture via Twitter of FDNY firefighters tackling not only a major fire Saturday, January 31 in New York City, but also the elements. This is NYC, but it could be Montreal or any other city in the northeast or eastern Canada that has been suffering with extreme cold for most of January.

4pm UPDATE: Blowing Snow Advisory for Montreal.
Winter Storm Warning: Eastern Townships, Vermont & New York.
A strengthening winter storm over the US Midwest will now impact most of southern Ontario and extreme southern Quebec today and Monday. As I said Saturday morning, this system needed to be monitored closely and indeed a more northerly track is expected. Snow is now forecast today from Windsor to Toronto with 10-25cm. It will not be close enough to deal Montreal a major storm at this time, but just the same there will be snow and blowing snow by Monday morning. Today will be sunny and cold with temperatures up to -15C (5F). Expect increasing clouds tonight with snow developing by morning along the US border and expanding up to the St. Lawrence River early Monday. The snow will be accompanied by strong northeast winds up to 50km/h and frigid windchill readings. With a low tonight of -24C (-11F) and a high on Monday of only -19C (-2F) it will be cold. Windchill readings will be in the -30's Monday along with areas of blowing snow making travel challenging. The further south you go, the more snow you will encounter. Expect 5-10cm (2-4") from Montreal south to the US border, as well as eastern Ontario, 10-20cm (4-8") over northern Vermont and New York with 20-30cm (8-12") or more across southern New England. It will end late Monday followed by clearing and cold weather for Tuesday, but more snow by Wednesday

This same storm will impact regions from Minnesota to New York today into Monday with a wide range of warnings posted including a blizzard warning for northeast Illinois and Chicago. Warnings are in effect for southern Ontario as well as all of northern New York and Vermont. The storm will impact New England into Atlantic Canada on Monday. Thousands of flights across the Midwest have already been cancelled. The snow will also hit Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania on Monday where Phil will give his annual February 2 Groundhog Day prediction for the rest of the winter.