Actually, the weather forecast for Quebec on Halloween is pretty scary

Does the decision to delay Halloween celebrations by Montreal and other municipalities merit mockery? The rainfall expected Thursday could be the most on Oct. 31 in more than 100 years.

Rainfall could be the most on Oct. 31 in more than 100 years

A decorative spider, perhaps waiting for the Halloween rain to subside. (Ivanoh Demers/Radio-Canada)

An established Canadian pastime is mocking the overreaction of officials to weather events, with Toronto's 1999 request for army assistance after a snowstorm still a highlight for Montrealers and others two decades later.

This brings us to Halloween, and the decision of numerous Quebec municipalities to "postpone" it due to ominous forecasts.

This may or may not have prompted Toronto's City Hall to note in a statement that the Ontario city is "not messing with Halloween." 

So are the Quebec municipalities overreacting? How bad is the potential weather?

Environment Canada has a rainfall warning and wind warning in effect for Montreal and its surroundings. Similar warnings apply to much of southern Quebec. The weather service says rainfall amounts could be as high as 50 to 80 millimetres — which could break records. 

"The most rain that happened in the Montreal area [on this date] was 100 years ago," said Alexandre Parent, a meteorologist at Environment Canada. "They measured 39 millimetres on Oct. 31."

The most rain on Halloween in recent years was 22.4 millimetres in 2013.

Montreal Halloween in the rain, 2013

2 years ago
Duration 0:34
A news report from Halloween 2013 — the last very rainy All Hallows' Eve in Montreal. 0:34

The current system originated in the southern U.S., with "a lot of influx from the Gulf of Mexico," Parent said. 

"That moisture is being pumped right over us."

Montreal has had so much rain this month — Parent says it will be the most total rainfall ever recorded in October — that the ground doesn't have much capacity to absorb more water, which means a higher chance of localized flooding.

Starting at midnight, the wind will start to pick up, Parent said, and gusts could reach speeds of 90 kilometres per hour Friday morning.

Parent said Environment Canada was contacted by "municipalities and provinces" yesterday. The department doesn't offer advice on whether, say, Halloween festivities should be postponed, he said, "but we do give guidance to try to minimize impacts."

"Under heavy rain, visibility is not good," Parent said. "From a public security perspective, conditions are going to be better tomorrow evening. I believe [the municipalities'] decisions were based on that."

So, southern Quebec will be getting a lot of rain.

Enough to justify delaying a collective sugar rush for much of the province's youth?

Enough to call in the army?

Those debates are unlikely to be settled anytime soon.


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