Happy New Year and may your power stay connected until the ice on the branches melts!
Twenty-five years to the day of the Great Ice Storm in 1998, a smaller yet still challenging ice storm imposed itself on the Chateauguay Valley during the night of January 3 and 4. The Valley was hardest hit in the southwest region of Quebec, with areas to the north and east receiving more rain than freezing rain.
The 16 millimetres of freezing rain (120 mm over seven days in 1998!) that descended on the Valley left a 1.25-centimetre (a half-inch) coat of ice on the east sides of trees, hydro lines, and windows, cutting power for many Valley residents for up to three days.
Colder-than-forecast temperatures have prevented the ice on the branches and hydro lines from rapidly melting, resulting in a continuous sequence of branches breaking off and the power flickering on and off for some. Fortunately, the winds have been quite light, so the heavily laden branches have not been further stressed by the weight of the ice on their limbs.
Even still, January so far has been extraordinarily “warm.” The normal average temperature for the month is -8.6 degrees Celsius, but the average temperature for the first week of the month was only 0.1 C. Temperatures are forecast to be well above normal until the last week of the month, with even a few dates where the night-time low will be higher than the normal daytime high. Despite this, there will only be a few days where the daytime high exceeds 0 degrees C, and only marginally so at that.
Total precipitation for the first week of January was 29 mm, which is slightly above average, and it was made up of 16 mm of freezing rain, 6.5 mm of rain and a smattering of snow which melted down to 0.5 mm of water.