Atlantic: Flooding, flash freeze mark changeable weekend
Saturday, December 22, 2018, 9:36 AM - Much of Atlantic Canada is seeing their white Christmas dreams turn to slushy puddles this weekend, as heavy rain and soaring temperatures devour what was a healthy covering of snow as recently as last Wednesday. This moisture-packed system is also raising flooding concerns as climbing temperatures spur snow melt, and the frozen ground absorbs very little of the rainfall. And while afternoon highs on Saturday surge to numbers more fitting for September, the end of the weekend will set a decidedly frostier tone for the last week of December. More on the flood threat, and the roller coaster temperatures, below.
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- Heavy rain, snow melt spur flooding concerns Saturday
- September-like temperatures expected across region Saturday
- Flash-freeze possible for some Saturday night/early Sunday
- Monitor watches and warnings, here
HEAVY RAIN, SNOW MELT PROMPT FLOODING CONCERNS
Rainfall warnings and special weather statements for snow melt might not be what you'd expect for the days leading up to Christmas in Atlantic Canada, but that's what most of the Maritimes, southern Newfoundland, and parts of Labrador are dealing with for Saturday. By sunrise on Saturday, some parts of New Brunswick had already seen close to 50 mm of rain, with 15 to 20 mm reported across Nova Scotia.
WATCH BELOW: HEAVY RAIN SPARKS FLOOD CONCERNS, TIMING
While the rain moves out of the Maritimes through early Saturday afternoon, that won't put an end to the flooding concerns -- more on that below. Newfoundland, particularly the southern shores, will see the heaviest of the rain move in later Saturday morning, slowly shifting eastward and off of the island through Saturday night.
SEPTEMBER-LIKE WARMTH SURGES IN -- BUT NOT FOR LONG
Records are likely to fall across parts of northern Atlantic Canada on Saturday; mid-to-upper single-digit temperatures are likely all the way to central Labrador. If that doesn't sound terribly warm, keeping in mind seasonal temperatures for late December are closer to minus 10. Parts of the southern Maritimes will see highs soar into the mid-teens on Saturday.
This near-record warmth and heavy rain has heightened the risk for flooding in some areas -- especially places that saw a decent dumping of snow this week. Environment Canada has issued special weather statements for much of New Brunswick with significant snow melt expected on Saturday. The additional water "may cause pooling of water on roads or minor flooding," warns EC.
WATCH BELOW: SHORT-LIVED BLAST OF WARMTH
This unusual warmth won't last for long, however. Cold northwesterly winds sweep through behind the system beginning Saturday night in New Brunswick, and they will see temperatures will quickly dropping to below the freezing mark on Sunday. Untreated roads may be icy by Sunday morning across northern and central New Brunswick, and flash-freeze conditions are possible for parts of Labrador.
Although this colder air lingers into the new week, the weekend's warmth and rain will squash many white Christmas hopes across eastern Canada.
"This system will washout hopes for a white Christmas for many areas that had a substantial amount of snow on the ground during the middle of last week," says Weather Network meteorologist Dr. Doug Gillham. "We will see fair and chilly conditions after Christmas with the next system arriving around December 28 with the potential for a messy mix changing to rain for the southern Maritimes and snow to the north."