Elsewhere in Weather News: March 21st, 2015

Maritimes Experience a Winter to Remember

With spring now in place Maritime residents would expect to see more forgiving weather than they have been experiencing this past winter. However, this has not been the case this past week. The East Coast has been hit with another strong coastal storm that brought blizzard conditions and large amounts of snow Tuesday-Wednesday. A fairly deep low pressure system was anchored just off the coast and drew in some cold air in behind – conditions right for a blizzard.

Halifax was especially hit hard by this storm with a general 35cm falling in the city, with some higher amounts reported. These combined with winds that gusted up to 113km/h to create blizzard conditions. Schools, businesses and government offices were forced to shut down and no public transit was running. Currently, Halifax has a whopping 93cm of snow on the ground which almost doubles the old record of snow on ground of 51cm in 1967 for today (records for snow on ground have been kept since 1955 in Halifax). Saint John, NB even had more snow than that on the ground after the storm – 169cm of snow was on the ground Thursday.

Sidewalks in Halifax are getting quite narrow after the most recent snowstorm. (Source: Twitter/@HadynWatters)
Sidewalks in Halifax are getting quite narrow after the most recent snowstorm. (Source: Twitter/@HadynWatters)

Unfortunately, yet another system is set to affect the Atlantic Provinces as another strong trough makes its way towards the East Coast. The storm will really ramp up later this afternoon – numerous types of precipitation will be in play, with mostly rain near the shoreline, transitioning to mixed types and finally heavy snow as you head further inland. The highest snowfall amounts are expected to be around 40-50cm where it will be all snow, and as much as 20mm of rain could fall in Halifax. City crews have begun clearing city drains to limit the flooding that could take place if most precipitation falls as rain in Halifax.

In other news, Australia has been hit with another strong cyclone this week. The cyclone had a fairly small inner core, but still managed to bring winds of up to 170km/h near Cooktown and a decent storm surge to the coast. Thankfully no injuries were reported with the storm and it is currently in the dissipating stage over northern Australia.

Elsewhere in Weather News: March 29th, 2014

Atlantic Storm Slams Canadian Maritimes

This past week a strong Nor’easter affected the Canadian Maritimes which brought large amounts of snow as well as record-breaking wind gusts. The dynamic system that started off as a weak low off Florida’s east coast and quickly deepened, over 40mb in 24 hours, over the Gulf Stream. By the time the low had traveled up the East Coast and reached the Canadian Maritimes, it had peaked in strength at 955mb. Although this system, a cold low, was much different dynamically than a hurricane, it brought extreme wind gusts of category 3 strength; 186km/h gust in Wreckhouse, NL (breaking the old record of 180km/h). Widespread 100km/h gusts were reported across both Nova Scotia and Newfoundland.

Impressive picture of the Nor'easter just before the storm reached maximum intensity. (Source: NOAA)
Impressive picture of the Nor’easter before the storm reached maximum intensity. (Source: NOAA)

The forecast proved to be a tough one, especially along Nova Scotia’s coast, where warm air coming off the Atlantic Ocean had an impact on the snow amounts. Widespread amounts of 40cm were reported in both Nova Scotia and New Brunswick. Halifax’s snowfall total, which was affected by the warm air coming off the Atlantic, only received 21cm. The highest total out of all the major Maritime cities was Charlottetown, PEI, which reported an incredible 53cm from the storm and experienced snowfall rates as high as 10cm per hour. Unsurprisingly, about 20,000 people were out of power at some point in the Maritimes and most flights in Halifax were cancelled on Wednesday. The Confederation Bridge connecting PEI to the mainland was also closed, due to the strong winds.

Only to add salt to the wound, the Maritimes are expecting another messy weather system to affect the region Sunday night into Monday. It will bring a mixed bag of precipitation to the region, depending on proximity to the Atlantic Coast; rain and freezing rain can be expected near the coast such as in Halifax. Further inland into New Brunswick, ice pellets/freezing rain transitioning to heavy snow will fall. The precipitation amounts will not be as high as the previous system, but nonetheless significant, as models are snowing that conservatively 15cm could fall in the snowfall region and 20mm of rain near the coast.