Unusual ‘killer’ frost hits the Maritimes as temperatures plunge to -4 °C (24.8 °F), Canada

Crops across the Canadian Maritimes sustained widespread damage after a sharp plunge in spring temperatures caused unusual ‘killer’ frost. On the same day, a rare June snow accompanied by frigid wind chills hit Newfoundland. Environmental Canada issued yet another frost advisory for early June 7 in all of Atlantic Canada.

Everything from Nova Scotian wine grapes to Island asparagus was harmed, locals said, as they begun to asses the damage from June cold front that hit Monday, June 4, 2018. 

“The temperatures dropped down to -2 °C (28.4 °F) and in some places to -4 °C (24.8 °F). These are killer frost temperatures,” said Gerry McConnel, founder of Benjamin Bridge vineyards. McConnel’s wine grapes in Gasperau Valley sustained significant damage.

“We’ve got damage from frost and we have damage also from overhead irrigation trying to keep the frost off and wetting the plants to death,” said Curtis Millen, a strawberry and blueberry farmer in Great Village, Nova Scotia.

“Record lows were set early Monday,” Ian Hubbard, a meteorologist at Environment Canada, said.

In Kentville, Nova Scotia, it dropped to almost -2 °C (28.4 °F), marking a huge shift from the 28 °C (82.4 °F) high on Friday, June 1 that had set off a growth spurt in a wide variety of crops before the frost hit.

Mathew Vankoughnett, a researcher with the applied geomatics research group at Nova Scotia Community College, says such a rapid temperature flip is rare.

His research indicates that Greenwood, N.S., in the center of the Annapolis Valley, only had one similar episode in 1978 when temperatures fell below freezing on June 2.

A rare June snow accompanied by frigid wind chills hit Newfoundland on the same day. Temperatures dropped down to -1 °C (30.2 °F) and the wind chill to about -7 °C (19.4 °F).

The event comes almost two weeks after a late spring storm buried cars in snow, closed many Newfoundland schools, and dumped more than 35 cm (1.1 feet) of snow at Gander International Airport on May 24.

Featured image: Strawberries that are soaked in irrigation waters used to try and prevent them from freezing in the frost, but which leave a coat of ice, are shown on Monday, June 4, 2018 in Great Village, N.S., as a killer frost spread across the region. Credit: THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Ann Millen

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