In Three Climates Major!
Quebec weather is under the influence of no less than three distinct climate regions.
However, the tiniest portion in the south is the more populated. Consequently, it's weather tends to make the news more often!
Québec's territory is so vast that it has a foothold in the Arctic Climate Region, roughly north of Umiujaq, and Kuujjuaq.
South of this area, most of Québec lies within the Northern Climate Region, all the way south to the foothills of the Laurentian Mountains, just north of Québec City, Montreal, and Hull.
Finally, the relatively very small sliver of territory, from the foothills of the Laurentians, south to the U.S. border, is in the Southeastern Climatic Region of Canada. This amounts to (roughly) less than 10% of Québec!
Extreme Southern Québec
Mean annual temperatures range from about 7C, in the extreme south, to around -8C, in the extreme north. In January, temperatures are respectively around -10C, and -25C. Winter minima can be expected to fall below -40C, in the dead of winter, over most of Québec.
The Quebec weather that is most know internationally, is usually that of the southernmost portion. Fortunately, the very cold minimum temperatures, just mentioned, only occur occasionally in the St. Lawrence River valley, south of Québec City.
Spring "springs up" usually rather quickly in April, in this region! Summer months are warm, with temperatures averaging 21C in July. The Eastern Townships are one or two degrees cooler.
But … moist air has often a tendency to "sink and lie trapped" in the valley, often making July and August uncomfortably muggy! Temperatures can occasionally rise in the mid to upper thirties Centigrade. Such occurrences of high "humidex" conditions (index of discomfort) fortunately usually never last for more than a few days!
The St. Lawrence River Valley East of Québec City
In comparison, the Lower St. Lawrence River valley, and the Gulf of St. Lawrence, normally experience very comfortable mid-summer temperatures around 18C, and 15C, respectively. Summer Quebec weather at it’s finest!
The Gulf of St. Lawrence
Let me digress, for a moment. To give you an idea of the influence of the Gulf of St. Lawrence on temperatures, I spent the entire summer of 2005, on the tiny archipelago of the Iles-de-la-Madeleine. Summers are blissfully pleasant there, with the cool Gulf of St. Lawrence waters generally preventing the maximum temperatures from rising above 21C. There is always a breeze to keep you cool, too!
Admittedly, Les Iles-de-la-Madeleine are not representative of the most publicized Quebec weather. They are considered in the more maritime-Atlantic type of climate.
"Les Iles", as their inhabitants call them, are part of Québec. They are considered by many, who want to flee the hot, muggy summers of southern Québec, and Ontario, as a summer seaside resort of choice, with it's endless beaches!
The winter, however, is "batten down the hatches" time. The winter storms are something to behold! There is nothing to dampen their fury in the Gulf! Fortunately, they are not frequent.
Normally, 750mm to 1000mm of precipitation will fall annually, on Southern Québec.
Southern Québec will usually receive between 200 and 250cm of snow, with higher amounts in excess of 300cm on the mountainous terrain of the Eastern Townships. However, more than 400cm of snow can fall annually on Gaspesie and the shores of the Lower St. Lawrence river!
In comparison, the northern half of Québec will generally receive less than 150cm of snow annually.
Stay tuned, and keep a sharp weather watch!
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