Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Snowfall totals for January 28, 2009

8:30 am - 4.0 cm
11:30 am - 6.0 cm
2:30 pm - 10.0 cm
5:30 pm - 11.0 cm

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Snowfall summary - January 27, 2009

We have gone about a week without a major snowfall (although one might be coming overnight and tomorrow).

As a result, although we started out strong this season, we are now creeping towards last year's numbers.

Looking at the snowfall graph you can see that last year (the top red line on the graph) was pretty much average until about mid-January and then it really took off to become the record breaking season it was.

It is by no means a certainty that we will surpass last year's total snowfall, even with the head start we had this year.

Click on the image below to see the snowfall graph:

Friday, January 23, 2009

January thaw?

The temperature went above 0°C on Friday, January 23rd.

This was the first time it had happened since December 29th of last year and it probably won't happen again for a while.

(note I originally had the previous above zero date listed as December 28th by mistake)

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

UW weather station application for Mac OS

I've had this for a while but I didn't want it to get lost in all the end of year summaries.

Weather station fan Nolan Waite wrote a little application for the Mac operating system that should put the latest data from the station on the menu bar automatically.

I don't have the means to test out the application, but I encourage anybody who does to please leave feedback on the blog.

But note that the UW weather station is not responsible for the content or the operation of this application.

Contact information for Nolan is contained in the Readme file.

You can download the latest version of the application here:


Current version is 1.2.4, available March 20, 2009

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Big freeze Day 5 (Saturday)

High temperature -8.9°C

Low temperature -20.9°C

As we are back into single digit temperatures I'm going to officially declare the end of the big freeze.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Big freeze Day 4 (Friday)

High temperature -15.1°C
(lowest daytime high temperature since February 4, 2007 when it only got up to -15.1°C)

Low temperature -19.3°C

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Big freeze Day 3 (Thursday)

High temperature -11.5°C

Low temperature -28.7°C
(lowest temperature since January 28, 2005 when it was -30.5°C)

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Big freeze Day 2 (Wednesday)

High temperature -13.5°C

(lowest daytime high temperature since March 5, 2007 when it only got up to -13.8°C)

Low temperature -27.2°C

(lowest temperature since January 28, 2005 when it was -30.5°C)

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

It's getting colder

The big freeze has begun.

The temperature was around -1°C before noon on Tuesday, January 13th, but now it has started its plunge that is forecasted to take it down well into the -20s over the next few days.

There is no telling when we will see temperatures close to zero again.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

More on the snow in 2008

I kind of buried this in the year end summary, but with all the stories about local cities being over their snow removal budget I thought I should update the paragraph from the year end summary. So here is the updated paragraph:

"One final note about the precipitation, although I don’t normally like to talk about total snowfall in terms of calendar years, it is kind of interesting to break it up this way for 2008. The snowy winter and spring from earlier this year combined with the third snowiest fall to give us 332.0 cm for 2008. This is far and away the most for a calendar year, easily surpassing the old record of 257.4 cm back in 1924 and twice the average annual snowfall which is 159.5 cm."

Also lost in the year end frenzy were the weekly snowfall updates, so here we go again: As of January 9th we have had 154.0 cm of snow this snowfall season. This compares to only 79 cm last year at this time.

And as per a suggestion from the comments on the blog here is a graphical comparison of this year's snowfall to the average (the green zone) and last year's amount (the top red line).

Click on the image below to see the snowfall chart:

Monday, January 5, 2009

2008 Summary

Wet, wet, wet. That was the weather story for 2008. I don’t think that will come as a surprise to most people if they think back to green lawns, lush gardens, and a whole lot of shoveling.

We finished with 1159.5 mm of precipitation in 2008 compared to an average of only 904.0 mm. This makes it the third highest annual total precipitation in the area since records began back in 1915. We were only 15 mm away from second place (1174.9 mm in 1940) and about 25 mm away from the all time record (1186.4 mm in 1985).

The abundance of precipitation was relatively consistent, with seven months of the year coming in with above average precipitation, 3 within the average range, and only 2 below average.

For the first half of the year the precipitation was merely above average, but then in July we saw 181.0 mm (the wettest month since July of 1991 as well as seeing a 1 in 25 year 6 hour storm and a 1 in 10 year 15 minute storm) and we started entering record territory. The precipitation didn’t let up for the rest of the year ending with the wettest December since 1949.

It was quite the contrast to the previous year, when the big weather story was how dry it was. In fact the amount we were over the average in 2008 was very close to the amount we were below in 2007, so if you take the total precipitation over the last 2 years it is very close to the average.

One final note about the precipitation, although I don’t normally like to talk about total snowfall in terms of calendar years, it is kind of interesting to break it up this way for 2008. The snowy winter and spring from earlier this year combined with the third snowiest fall to give us 326.5 cm for 2008. This is far and away the most for a calendar year, easily surpassing the old record of 257.4 cm back in 1924.

Looking at the temperature for 2008, we didn’t really see any extended periods of extremely above or below average temperatures. Overall it was 0.2 degrees above the 1971-2000 average; this still makes it the coolest year since 2004.

The year started off very warm, with January over 3 degrees warmer than average. Then more winter-like temperatures took hold and stayed until a brief warm spell in early April, but it wasn’t until late May that it really started to warm up. This combined with the record snowfall totals for the 2007-2008 snowfall season to make a lot of people think that winter would never end.

Although we didn’t see a single day above 30ÂșC during the summer, the average temperature for the season was higher than average. In a survey done on the UW weather station blog over 75% of people called it either a good or great summer, perhaps as a result of the lack of both smog warnings and extremely humid days.

These warm temperatures carried on into the early fall, however, the year ended with 3 consecutive colder than average months.

Notable weather days of 2008:

January 8: The high temperature on this day was 13.3°C, making it the 4th highest January temperature ever seen in the region.

February 27: Not really something to do with the actual weather, but this day was the 10th anniversary of the University of Waterloo weather station.

March 8 & 9: 31.5 cm of snow fell between the morning of the 8th and the 9th, this was the highest single day’s total since January 22, 1966.

April 4: The last 1 cm of snow was recorded, capping off the snow season of 2007-2008, which was the highest ever recorded in the region at 257.5 cm.

July 11: On the morning of July 11th between 3 and 9 am we recorded 78.0 mm of precipitation at the University of Waterloo Weather Station. It was the highest one day precipitation since July 7, 1991 when 82.0 mm was recorded at the Waterloo-Wellington Airport. So much rain fell that day you can see it clearly on the annual graph of precipitation.

July 22: On July 22nd between 7:30-7:45 pm 23.0 mm of rain fell. That was the highest 15 minute rainfall ever recorded at the UW weather station beating the previous record of 16.2 mm on June 27, 1999.

November 24-28: The temperature went above +1°C on the morning of November 28th, breaking a streak of 88 hours when the temperature stayed been between +1°C and -1°C. The longest previous streak of a 2 degree temperature range in the history of the UW weather station was back in 1998 between March 17th and 20th when we had 59 hours in that range.

December 27: The high temperature of 13.3°C was the highest December temperature since 2001.

Click on the image below to see the temperature chart:

Click on the image below to see the precipitation chart:

Friday, January 2, 2009

December 2008 Summary

The wettest December since 1949 with cold temperatures

Except for a few notable warm days in the middle and near the end of the month, the rest of December was very cold. Overall it was full degree colder than average, making it the most below average month since May.

The high temperature of 13.3 °C on the 27th was the highest December temperature we have seen since 2001. This was the second of two “snow resets” we saw during the month, the other one occurred on the 15th when the temperature got up to 7.7 °C.

We almost set a record as the wettest December since records began in the area back in 1915. We had 136.3 mm of precipitation this year almost surpassing the 139.7 mm measured back in 1949. This was almost double the average for December of 71.1 mm.

There was also a lot of white stuff to shovel as we got 92 cm of snow, this is over twice the average of 38.5 cm and makes December 2008 the snowiest since 2000.

Environment Canada prediction of temperature for the month: Below average
Actual Temperature: Below average

Summary for December 2008:
Maximum Temperature 13.3 °C
Minimum Temperature -18.8 °C
Average Daily High Temperature -0.6 °C (Long term average -0.2 °C)
Average Daily Low Temperature -8.8 °C (Long term average -7.3 °C)
Total Precipitation 136.3 mm (Long term average 71.1 mm)

(Long term averages based on 1971-2000 data for the Waterloo Wellington Airport)

Follow this link to see the graph showing the temperature and precipitation:

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