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    Brett Anderson

    Snowstorm Totals and Another Visit by the Polar Vortex

    1/23/2014, 10:50:34 AM

    I am not doing my normal schedule today as I am holding a series of seminars for our forecasting staff about the extreme weather events that impacted parts of Canada during 2013. Two of those events were the Alberta and Toronto floods. We also looked at the December ice storm in the east and the December blizzard in Alberta.

    What is amazing is that the two floods were the first and third most costly natural disasters in Canadian history (insurance dollars) and they occurred in the same year!

    Also, I just read that Canadian insurers paid out a record $3.2 billion in claims for 2013 due to the weather. Hopefully, things will settle down for 2014.


    Snowstorm recap....

    The storm that brought the heavy snow and strong winds to parts of the Maritimes is now beginning to move away from Newfoundland. Here are some of the snowfall totals for the Maritimes....

    Charlottetown, PEI.... 37 cm Sydney, NS..... 30 cm Yarmouth, NS..... 29 cm Greenwood, NS.... 27 cm Dartmouth, NS..... 26 cm Halifax, NS... 24 cm Moncton, NB..... 15 cm Saint John, NB.... 13 cm Summerside, PEI.... 12 cm


    Cold and clippers

    The polar vortex will get displaced unusually far to the south once again by this weekend and will be centered over the James Bay region Saturday and Sunday.


    In addition to a reinforcing shot of Arctic air into the eastern half of the country as series of storm systems and fronts will also bring some snow and gusty winds.

    The first system will produce a large area of snow showers and heavier squalls Friday night into Saturday across Ontario and Quebec.


    Travel conditions across Ontario and Quebec Friday night into Saturday will not be very good due to a combination of snow, sub-freezing temperatures, blowing/drifting, gusty winds and poor visibility. Expect travel delays.

    In terms of snowfall, most areas in eastern Canada will get anywhere from 4 to as much as 10 cm of snow from Friday night through Saturday.

    There will also be a brief period of lake-effect snow Saturday night into early Sunday morning downwind of the lakes. It looks like the wind direction will be from the 270-280 range for the snow bands.

    By Saturday evening and Saturday night, more moist air will be drawn northward into the system resulting in some heavier bursts of snow over interior New Brunswick, while any snow will change to rain over PEI and Nova Scotia Saturday evening as southerly winds produce enough warming in the low-levels.

    Snowfall by Sunday morning could reach 15-20 cm over a large part of New Brunswick.


    Another Clipper storm

    Another clipper storm will dive southeast through the Prairies on Saturday and will bring a swath of accumulating snow to eastern Saskatchewan and southern Manitoba Saturday into Saturday night. Snowfall will average 2-8 cm for most places; however, behind this clipper, stronger north to northwest winds will bring in another blast of bitterly cold air into the Prairies Sunday into Tuesday. Daytime temperatures in Winnipeg on Monday will probably not get above minus 25 C.

    This clipper will then take aim at eastern Canada on Sunday. At this time, computer models are still all over the place in terms of the track/intensity, which is critical to how much snow there will be.

    The heaviest snow with this clipper will be out ahead and just north of the track. South of the track, there will be a heavier burst of snow then more like snow showers.

    At this point, I think the greatest potential for 10 cm or more of snow will be along and north of a line from Sarnia to Toronto then up toward Ottawa and Montreal.

    Behind the clipper, the Arctic air will return and I expect a significant outbreak of lake-effect snow with a mostly west-northwest to eat-southeast snow band orientation, which would likely keep the heaviest snow north of London, Ontario, but dump on ski country to the north.

    The clipper will intensify as it moves into New Brunswick Monday with the potential for over 10 cm of snow from New Brunswick to PEI and the northern half of Nova Scotia.


    There are indications that the strong, blocking eastern Pacific ridge will retrograde back to the northwest into Alaska late next week. If this happens, then there is an opening for some of the cold air to get back into southern British Columbia.


    I will post some pictures from my recent ski trip up into Ontario tomorrow.

    The views expressed are those of the author and not necessarily those of AccuWeather, Inc. or AccuWeather.com


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