New Brunswick

'Disturbingly warm' temperatures bring early maple syrup season

The record-setting weather over the weekend has paved the way for an early maple syrup season in New Brunswick.

Heather Fraser from the City of Moncton sugar camp surprised, but expects to be boiling sap this week

Heather Fraser has been tapping trees in the City of Moncton sugar camp over the past few days. She said the sap is already running thanks to the above normal temperatures. (Submitted by Heather Fraser)

Record-setting weather over the weekend has paved the way for an early maple syrup season in New Brunswick.

Heather Fraser, natural resource program co-ordinator for the City of Moncton, said the sap has already been running for three days at the Moncton maple sugar camp.

"I expect if it stays four, five or six degrees — we'll definitely be boiling this week," Fraser said.

That is almost disturbingly warm for this time of the year.- CBC meteorologist Brennan Allen

She said all of the trees are now tapped and on Monday she was bringing in collection equipment.

"Last year was early as well — we tapped the end of February ... and we were boiling March 1 last year, which was the first time that we ever boiled at the beginning of March in our almost 20-year history, so it was a very early boil and I expect it's going to be the same this year."

The early maple syrup season is no surprise to CBC meteorologist Brennan Allen.

He said the temperatures over the past weekend were the warmest in a century, with Saint John setting records on both Saturday and Sunday.

Only about 40 centimetres of snow covered the ground at the City of Moncton sugar camp on Monday morning, with more expected to melt in the above-normal temperatures. (Submitted by Heather Fraser)
On Saturday the mercury rose to 11 C, breaking the previous record of 8.9 C set in 1915. On Sunday the high reached 10.2 C, which beat the record from 1916 of 7.2 C.

"It's not like you're just beating these records by a few tenths of a degree," Allen said. You're beating them by two or three degrees and these records have stood for over 100 years.

"That is almost disturbingly warm for this time of the year."

Camp expected to open by March Break

Fraser said just 40 centimetres of snow covered the ground at the sugar camp on Monday, and it is melting quickly.

She expects the municipally run sugar camp in Turtle Creek, which offers free tours to the public, will be open by March 6, the start of March Break.

Last year was the first time Fraser could remember the camp opening early enough for March Break, and the maple syrup went fast.

"As quick as we could make it on the counter it was sold ... but people were looking for something to do. The snow was going, the skiing wasn't the best, so they were looking for something to do with their families.

Allen, who called the record-setting temperatures over the past few days, "truly impressive," said localized flooding is expected to continue with temperatures remaining above seasonal in most areas for the next few days.

With files from Information Morning Saint John