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.

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