Sunday, 1 March 2015

Welcome to meteorological spring after the coldest February ever in Montreal

From WBZ news Boston, the collapsed roof of the Metropolis Skating Rink in Canton, Massachusetts. It, along with scores of other buildings in coastal New Hampshire and Massachusetts, have lost there roofs after record snowfall and cold in February. This roof collapsed Saturday morning, thankfully with no injuries.
Welcome to what meteorologists like to call the start of spring. True spring does not arrive until March 20 this year and actual spring weather may even be later than that, as we have become accustomed to in southern Quebec.

By all accounts we just survived the coldest February ever in Montreal. The data goes back about 115 years for the city, and I have looked back as far as the 1960's. The numbers still have to be crunched by Environment Canada but the monthly average will fall either side of -15C (4F) for Montreal. I recorded -14.8C here on  L'Ile Perrot. The 30 year average for the city is -7.7C, so we were cold to say the least! As far as duration goes, we are now starting our 41st consecutive day in a row of below freezing temperatures, a stretch that has included 18 days below -20C for nightly lows. There is an end in sight, but as I have overstated this past week, it will be very gradual. Already warmer air is trying to move northward. The warm air is being slowed by deep snow pack and lots of ice on area lakes and rivers. The result will be temperatures getting away from the minus 20's, but remaining below normal through middle March.

In the short term we are looking at two snowfalls this upcoming week with perhaps an end to our below freezing streak this coming Wednesday. Low pressure will pass south of Quebec today and bring a general 2-5cm snowfall tonight into early Monday. That will be followed by colder air once again along with gusty winds into Tuesday. Temperatures will be a mild today, -4C (25F) and -5C (23F) on Monday. By Tuesday stronger low pressure will approach southern Quebec from the midwest US and move down the St. Lawrence Valley. Snow will start late in the day Tuesday and mix with freezing rain early Wednesday before ending. Montreal can expect as much as 10cm of snow. There is a risk of some flurries or sprinkles Wednesday with the mercury perhaps making it up to 2C (36F). That would be welcome. Colder weather and clearing skies return for Thursday.

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