Thursday, 30 April 2015

A look back at April & ahead to May for Montreal

A large upper level low continues to produce clouds and cool weather for most of Quebec and Atlantic Canada. The dividing line seems to be Montreal. The hope is that the system gets dislodged into the north Atlantic this weekend.
April is in the record books from a weather standpoint. It was not that great a month with plenty of cloud cover and a persistent northeast flow of damp, chilly air. Two weeks worth of an upper level low pressure area did not help the numbers at all. That system continues to produce clouds and cool weather across Atlantic Canada today with the clouds drifting southwest into southern Quebec. The satellite image above displays this well with heavy clouds north and east of Montreal and partial sunshine in Ontario and northern New York. While Montreal managed 16C (61F) on Thursday it was only 5C (41F) in Halifax and 2C (36F) in Charlottetown.

The average April temperature at Trudeau Airport through April 30 was at 6.3C (43F), just a notch below the normal of 6.4C (43.5). The average high was 11.2C (52F), the normal is 11.6C (53F). The average low was 1.3C (34F) very close to the normal of 1.2C. The lack of sunshine and persistent gusty winds made the month feel much colder. The extreme temperatures were -6.7C (20F) and 22C (72F). As I write this blog, most of the trees and shrubs are still struggling to bud from the lack of sunshine and real warmth. From a precipitation standpoint, rainfall was slightly above normal at 70.4mm, (normal 67.7mm), and snowfall slightly below normal at 8.2cm, (the normal is 12.9cm). The peak wind gust was 76km/h.

A warmer westerly flow should develop this weekend in southern Quebec along with more sunshine. Temperatures are forecast to reach the upper teens Saturday and low 20's Sunday. By early next week Montreal may see temperatures approach 24C (75F). The start of May is looking decent so far with warmer temperatures the rule rather than the exception. Some computer models are hinting at a potential coastal system developing next week and affecting New England, perhaps spilling into eastern Canada, but that is still several days out, stay tuned. For now enjoy the partial sunshine and warmth this weekend.

Monday, 27 April 2015

Improving weather for southern Quebec

It occurred to me this morning as I was walking my dog, that I have had gloves and a winter coat on for the past six months. Nobody should have to wear gloves for 6 months of the year! What a miserable weather week we have had across eastern Ontario and Quebec. Stubborn low pressure over Maine refuses to budge blocking the weather patterns right across eastern North America. Montreal has had an entire week of below normal temperatures and cloud cover. Any precipitation has been rather light including the showers that are around southern Quebec this morning.

There is a hint of hope in the forecast as weak high pressure will attempt to move into the region as the upper level low over Maine fills and weakens. It will be a slow process and with lots of moisture around clouds will remain frequent into mid week. The good news is any sunshine will warm temperatures into the middle teens. We witnessed this on the weekend, as it did not take much sunshine to squeeze out 15C (59F) on Saturday in downtown Montreal. Trudeau Airport managed 12C (54F) both days, and that is the forecast high for Monday as well. Showers are expected most of the day today with perhaps some clearing tonight. By Tuesday looks for more sunshine than clouds and a warmer high near 16C (60F). Looking ahead we see some warmer temperatures by next weekend with perhaps a 21C (70F) high in our near future.

Winter returned to portions of central Saskatchewan this weekend.
(Photo courtesy Scott Goodwill/CBC)
The weekend weather was a little wild in other parts of North America. Heavy snow fell across central Saskatchewan with 10-20cm from Saskatoon north to Prince Albert. The storm caught many by surprise as it had been rather warm lately. The warmth will return this week with highs in the 20's forecast. Meanwhile strong thunderstorms produced flooding, hail and tornadoes from east Texas into the Florida panhandle. Widespread damage was reported with more storms forecast today.

Damage is complete across parts of Nepal, and the death toll is rising after a 7.8 magnitude earthquake on Saturday.
As I am writing my blog this morning, the death toll in the devastating 7.8 magnitude earthquake in Nepal, has surpassed 3000. Catastrophic damage, loss of life and injuries have been reported. Relief efforts are underway but being hampered by bad weather, loss of infrastructure including power and a heavily crowded and damaged airport in the capital Kathmandu. Canada has dispatched D.A.R.T. our emergency rapid response team as well as pledged an initial $5 million dollars in financial support. The need is great, if you can help visit the Canadian Red Cross Nepal Page.

Thursday, 23 April 2015

Below normal temperatures expected for Montreal

A very slow moving area of low pressure centered over Ontario will drift southeast into Maine by the weekend. Cloudy, cool weather with periods of rain and even wet snow is possible into the weekend for Montreal and southern Quebec. (AccuWeather Image)
The stubborn, vertically stacked low pressure over the Great Lakes continues to slowly move east from Ontario into Quebec. This low has been responsible for a cold, moist dome of air over the region stretching from the upper Midwest into Quebec and east to New England and Atlantic Canada. The result has been temperatures 5 to 10 degrees below normal as well as periodic showers and even wet snow. On Wednesday, more heavy showers with even small hail occurred across metro Montreal bringing the three day rain total at my home on L'Ile Perrot up to 36.8mm.

Light rain is falling again this morning with a very cold late April temperature of 1C (34F). Gusty northwest winds of 30-50km/h will make it feel even colder today. Light wet snow is being reported across several portions of eastern Ontario and northern New York this morning, so it would not surprise me one bit if we saw a snowflake or two today and tonight. Temperatures today will reach 7C (45F) in the showers. Tonight, more of the same, rain and snow showers and a low of 0C (32F). Sadly Friday through the weekend looks identical, perhaps a few more breaks of sunshine by Sunday. Temperatures will remain below normal with lows of 0 to 3C (32 to 38F) and daytime highs of 8 to 12C (47 to 54F).

Tuesday, 21 April 2015

Slow start to shipping season on the St. Lawrence Seaway

The bulk carrier Juno ran aground on the US side of the St. Lawrence Seaway near the Thousand Islands Bridge and Alexandria, New York on Monday. Officials will try to free the ship today. In the meantime Seaway traffic has been stopped. (USCG Photo)
Another large freighter has run aground in the St. Lawrence Seaway system, this one near the Thousands Islands International Bridge at Ivy Lea, Ontario. The ship is actually on the US (New York) side of the river just feet from the shoreline and several homes. Unlike the incident near Montreal at the start of April, this one seems to be mechanical in nature and not weather related. The 190 metre (620 foot) long Juno is flagged under Barbados and was hauling sugar to Toronto when it struck the shore around 1:00 am Monday morning. Thankfully no injuries were reported but there is damage to the ship as she hit land hard. The US Coast Guard and several tugs will attempt to free the boat today. In the meantime ship traffic has come to a halt along the Seaway. The Seaway has had a rough start to the 2015 season as a result of the two incidents and thick ice.

Soggy Weather
Just remember, April showers do bring May flowers, and we do need the rain. It has been a soggy start to the week with about 13mm of rain on Monday and another 14mm of rain overnight. It rained heavy at times on L'Ile Perrot in the wee hours this morning. There was even some lightning and thunder not too far south of Montreal along the New York border. Light rain will taper off by noon with even some partial sunshine this afternoon. Any sun will help the temperature warm to around 14C (56F). It will likely be the best day of the week as a stubborn, slow moving area of low pressure drifts from the northern Great Lakes across southern Quebec. The system will produce clouds and scattered rain and snow showers across the entire region into the upcoming weekend. It will trend a little cooler with highs near 9C (49F) and lows near 5C (41F) into the weekend. It won't be a complete washout but the weather will be less than ideal. Sunshine will finally return in full force by next Monday.

Monday, 20 April 2015

Rainy & windy weather week for Montreal

Showers on Saturday left us with this perfect rainbow late in the day on L'Ile Perrot. Sunday featured a deep blue sky and mild weather, but it will be awhile before we see the sun again. (ValleyWX)
A very slow moving low pressure area developing across the northern Great Lakes will shift east into southern Quebec by the end of this week. Deep tropical moisture is streaming northward into the system from the Gulf of Mexico. The result will be a wet and windy week for many of us. Rain will develop early this morning in the St. Lawrence Valley and spread north and east. The rain may be heavy at times with a general 15-25mm (1 inch) forecast by Tuesday afternoon. Higher amounts are forecast across the lower Laurentians, up to 50mm (2 inches), a warning is in effect for that area. Temperatures will remain relatively steady at 9C (49F) in metro Montreal. Winds will also increase out of the northeast and reach speeds of 50km/h later today. Wind gusts are expected to reach up to 90km/h (50mph) over the higher elevations of the Green Mountain and Adirondacks. Wind advisories have been posted in those regions.

The cloudy, cool and wet weather will linger through most of this week with high temperatures no better than 10 or 12C (50 to 54F). Overnight lows will be around 4C (39F) in Montreal. The unstable, cool weather will result in cloudy skies lingering into the later portion of the week and perhaps even next weekend with scattered showers and even a rumble of thunder in Montreal. There is also the possibility of a snow shower across the higher elevations north and south of the city.

Thursday, 16 April 2015

Cooler and wet weather on the way for Montreal

This is what is left of winter 2014/2015 in many parts of the city of Montreal. It amazes me every spring just how much people litter in the winter. Do they not think it will surface in the spring? I keep a a bag in my car, it takes a few seconds for each of us to put garbage where is belongs and avoid this mess each year. The highways are lined with it, especially near shopping malls.(ValleyWX)
The weather will be spectacular today with sunshine and warm high temperatures up to 17C (63F) in Montreal. L'Ile Perrot is currently -2C (28F) as we continue with the wild diurnal temperature swings. This is common in spring, but the difference from high to low this past Monday was truly amazing. The overnight low at my home was -0.4C (31F) reached around 6am. By 3pm in the afternoon the temperature had warmed all the way up to 25.6C (79F) here on L'Ile Perrot. You can do the math on that one, a remarkable warm-up in such a short period of time.

Not much snow left on the ground on a 26C April day in Montreal.
High pressure that has been in control of the weather for most of this week will slide off the east coast today with a warming southerly flow. A frontal boundary will arrive overnight with showers into Friday before some clearing late in the day. On Saturday more showers are possible as another weak disturbance moves across southern Quebec. The mild temperatures of this week will begin to cool by the weekend with an extended period of below normal weather expected next week. High temperatures will range from 10 to 12C (50 to 55F) with lows of 4 to 6C (40 to 43F) into next week. In addition to the cooler weather, there will be frequent periods of rain next week with perhaps some significant amounts.

Monday, 13 April 2015

Warmest day of 2015 - remove the snow tires Montreal!

Warm air will stream northward from the southern US today giving Montreal its warmest day so far in 2015
After a spectacular Sunday across southern Quebec, we can expect the warmest day of 2015 so far in Montreal today. The last of the snow melted away from my backyard on Saturday about 48 hours ahead of 2014, only patches remain in the rest of my neighborhood. The temperature manged to reach 17C (63F) on Sunday, the mildest it has been in Montreal since back in November. Warm southerly winds today ahead of a cold front will help to increase temperatures rapidly to highs of 22C (72F) in Montreal. We are currently 0C (32F) on L'Ile Perrot, so that will be quite the climb today. Expect abundant sunshine but with increasing high clouds late in the day and very windy conditions developing, especially in the St. Lawrence Valley. Winds will increase out of the southwest up to 70km/h in Montreal by early evening.

The thickening clouds are in response to a cold front crossing the region late this evening. Some showers and perhaps a rumble of thunder are possible before skies begin to clear overnight. The low tonight will remain very mild near 10C (50F). The high temperature on Tuesday, with returning sunshine by afternoon, will be near 16C (60F). The balance of the week looks decent with mild temperatures and sunshine through Thursday. A frontal system will bring a return to clouds and showers by Friday, but temperatures will remain above the normal high of 11C (52F) through the period. I will stick to my prediction made last week that we have seen the last of the accumulating snow for Winter 2014/2015, my snow tires are coming off Wednesday.

Thursday, 9 April 2015

Much warmer weather on the way for Montreal

The snow that fell overnight in southern Quebec may be the last of the season. (ValleyWX)
The snow that fell here on L'Ile Perrot overnight may well have been the last of the season. That meandering front that has been with us all week will move north today as a strong warm front. Low pressure developing over Colorado will move northeast across the Great Lakes and north of Montreal and bring with it a major pattern change. We can expect some sunshine early today through increasing clouds. Overnight expect rain to develop, which could be heavy at times. There may even be a rumble of thunder, a sure sigh of Spring! Temperatures will warm to 9C (49F) today and drop to 4C (39F) overnight. On Friday expect more rain and very windy but with mild temperatures near 14C (56F). Winds may gust in excess of 70km/h in the afternoon. The weekend at this time looks sunny with warming temperatures. The high Saturday will be 8C (48F) and Sunday 13C (55F). Peeking into Monday, more sunshine with a very pleasant high of 18C (65F). I can finally say goodbye to the remaining snow on my lawn!

The system bringing us the rain tonight has prompted a wide area of warnings from southern Ontario into western Quebec. Heavy rain is expected with perhaps as much as 50mm (2 inches) later today into Friday. The rain, along with melting snow and ice, may create some flooding problems in some localities. In addition to the rain, heavy wet snow and perhaps freezing rain is possible in northeast Quebec and northern New Brunswick. A winter storm watch is in effect for the regions north and east of the Saquenay region. 

In the central US the problem will be severe weather. Strong thunderstorms are likely from Oklahoma into Missouri and Illinois with the potential for large hail and isolated tornadoes. Thunderstorms are possible across a wide swath of the eastern US into southern Ontario today.

Monday, 6 April 2015

Major pattern change will finally bring spring to Montreal

The newly constructed bulk carrier CWB Marquis was the first ship into the St. Lawrence Seaway system for 2015 on Thursday, April 2. Unfortunately she ran aground due to ice just a few hours later near Beauharnois. (St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corporation Photo)

We are finally seeing in our future a marked pattern shift in the weather for Eastern Canada. As we all know, 2015 has seen one of the coldest starts to any year for many locations. The warmest temperature so far in 2015 at Trudeau Airport in Montreal has only been 12.8C (53F), recorded this past Friday. Of course that was followed just a few hours later by 5-10cm of snow across southern Quebec. Easter was windy and very cold, only reaching plus 1C (34F) in Montreal, well below the normal high of 9C (48F). Monday and the start of this week will be no better as we remain along a stalled frontal boundary separating much milder air to the south with the cold air damning over the St. Lawrence Valley and points north. It could have been much worse this weekend with very heavy snow, strong winds and bitter cold temperatures for April occurring over portions of northern Maine, Eastern Quebec and New Brunswick.

The bad news for Montreal is we are looking at an unsettled week as that front meanders back and forth across the valley. Temperatures will remain below normal with a mix of wet snow and rain at times. There will only be a little sunshine. The good news is that we see a major shift in the pattern allowing warmer more spring like weather to arrive by next Sunday. We should see lots of melting and the warmest temperatures of 2015 by Sunday into Monday next week Highs will reach 15C by next weekend.

The St. Lawrence Seaway opened to shipping last Thursday, April 2nd, about two weeks later than normal and the latest since 1997. As with the 2014 season, thick ice had delayed the opening and is currently causing further navigation problems. The Canadian Coast Guard is using no less than 5 ice breakers to try to clear the seaway of ice. It was not the best of openings as the first ship through the locks in St. Lambert only made it about 35km southwest of Montreal before an ice flow caused the ship to run aground early Friday. The newly built Canadian bulk carrier CWB Marquis encountered the ice near Beauharnois, Quebec, not far from my backyard here on L'Ile Perrot. Two tugs set the ship free several hours later after the Transportation Safety Board of Canada gave the all clear. The ice, more than three feet thick in places,  is still breaking up on the St. Lawrence River and Great Lakes. Large ice flows will continue to be problematic for several more days at the very least.

Saturday, 4 April 2015

Spring to Winter in less than 12 hours

Snow blankets L'Ile Perrot this morning bringing a halt to our one day taste of Spring. (ValleyWX Photo)
It really did feel like spring Friday afternoon. I managed a long walk with Bella my 20 pound Terrier, with my jacket wide open, no gloves, no hat, Spring! The temperature, 13C (55F) at 4pm, snow melting, it was beautiful in the bright sunshine. This morning, not so much. The temperature has managed to slide a full 17 degrees to -4C (25F). The rain changed to snow around 3am and has accumulated 5-10cm across southern Quebec. Winds increased as well up to 40km/h making it feel much colder and actually blowing the snow around. It is just plain nasty out there with snow covered icy roads. There have been several accidents overnight and early this morning including one that has Highway 640 closed north of Montreal.

The snow should taper off by noon with clearing skies, but windy and chilly with a high just above freezing near 2C (36F). Overnight will partly cloudy with flurries and cold with and Easter morning low of -8C (18F). It will be a sunny and cold Easter with a high of only 1C (34F).

This same storm system has been responsible for major flooding across the Ohio and Tennessee Valleys as well as tornadoes and hail. It has also produced heavy snow across the Eastern Townships of Quebec into northern New England and Atlantic Canada.

Friday, 3 April 2015

Easter snow for Montreal

Special Weather Statement for snow for southern Quebec.
Winter Weather Advisory for snow: Adirondacks, Northeast Vermont.

The seasons will do battle this weekend as is typical in the volatile season of spring. There is plenty of energy available in the atmosphere from April through June, that is why we have so much severe weather in the central and southern plains of the US. Cold air remains in control of portions of central and far northern Canada while warm and humid air has started streaming northward form the Gulf of Mexico. This scenario will be all too clear in Montreal over the next 24 hours. We start this morning very mild at plus 6C (43F) with the prospect of our warmest day since early November. With some sunshine through thickening clouds we may reach 14C (56F) in Montreal and Ottawa.

A strong cold front will move across the region late this evening stalling to our south separating the warm air from unseasonably cold air that will become our reality for this weekend. The temperature will crash from today's warm highs down to -3C (27F) overnight. Low pressure will develop and move along the front with rain developing this evening and changing to snow overnight in Montreal. Wet snow is likely Saturday with a cold high of only 2C (36F). The heaviest snow will fall south and east of Montreal with 10-15cm in Sherbrooke and northeast Vermont. From Montreal east to Quebec City we can expect 5-10cm with 2-4cm for the Ottawa Valley and eastern Ontario. The snow will taper off Saturday but it will be a raw and chilly day. Temperatures will be cold Saturday night with lows of -7C (19F). Easter Sunday will be partly sunny and cold with a high of only 2C (36F).

Looking ahead to next week, it remains unsettled and cold for early April with the chance for more snow. The good news is we see some above normal temperatures finally by the middle of this month so don`t loose hope.

Wednesday, 1 April 2015

April Fools forecast - Easter snowstorm for Montreal?

Don't take those winter tires off just yet. We just can't shake those winter blues this year. The snow is melting, ever so slowly. The average temperatures are creeping up, ever so slowly, and lastly the sunshine is growing stronger. But that nasty morning chill just won't leave us. On Wednesday morning we managed a low of -6C at Trudeau Airport and  -10.6C (13F) here on L'Ile Perrot, well below the normal of -2C (28F). If we manage to squeeze out a plus 2 or 3C (36 to 38F) today for a high it will still be below the normal of 7C (45F). Such has been the case through the early portion of Spring 2015 in Montreal. High pressure will dominate today before the weather becomes very active Thursday and into the Easter holiday weekend.

A warm front will advance into southern Ontario and Quebec on Thursday into Friday with a period of light rain or even some spotty freezing rain followed by showers and very mild temperatures on Friday. We may see double digit highs on Friday of 10 to 14C (50 to 56F) across eastern Ontario and Quebec. Friday night a strong cold front will sweep the St. Lawrence Valley with rapidly dropping temperatures down to -4C (25F) by Saturday morning. At the same time low pressure will develop and move along that front south of Montreal spreading snow into the region. So after a warm high of 12 or 14 on Friday the temperature will plunge to well below freezing. At this time Saturday looks windy and cold with a high of only -3C (27F) and snow. Early estimates are for 5-10cm for southern Quebec but that amount could change either way depending on the eventual development and track of storm system.