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Quebec Climate

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In general, the climate of Quebec is cold and humid. The climate of the province is largely determined by its latitude, maritime and elevation influences. According to the Köppen climate classification, Quebec has three main climate regions. Southern and western Quebec, including most of the major population centres and areas south of 51oN, have a humid continental climate (Köppen climate classification Dfb) with four distinct seasons having warm to occasionally hot and humid summers and often very cold and snowy winters. The main climatic influences are from western and northern Canada and move eastward, and from the southern and central United States that move northward. Because of the influence of both storm systems from the core of North America and the Atlantic Ocean, precipitation is abundant throughout the year, with most areas receiving more than 1,000 millimetres (39 in) of precipitation, including over 300 centimetres (120 in) of snow in many areas. During the summer, severe weather patterns (such as tornadoes and severe thunderstorms) occur occasionally. Most of central Quebec, ranging from 51 to 58 degrees North has a subarctic climate (Köppen Dfc). Winters are long, very cold, and snowy, and among the coldest in eastern Canada, while summers are warm but very short due to the higher latitude and the greater influence of Arctic air masses. Precipitation is also somewhat less than farther south, except at some of the higher elevations. The northern regions of Quebec have an arctic climate (Köppen ET), with very cold winters and short, much cooler summers. The primary influences in this region are the Arctic Ocean currents (such as the Labrador Current) and continental air masses from the High Arctic.

The four calendar seasons in Quebec are spring, summer, autumn and winter, with conditions differing by region. They are then differentiated according to the insolation, temperature, and precipitation of snow and rain.

At Quebec City, the length of the daily sunshine varies from 8:37 hrs in December to 15:50 hrs in June; the annual variation is much greater (from 4:54 to 19:29 hrs) at the northern tip of the province. From temperate zones to the northern territories of the Far North, the brightness varies with latitude, as well as the Northern Lights and midnight sun.

Quebec is divided into four climatic zones: arctic, subarctic, humid continental and East maritime. From south to north, average temperatures range in summer between 25 and 5 °C (77 and 41 °F) and, in winter, between −10 and −25 °C (14 and −13 °F). In periods of intense heat and cold, temperatures can reach 35 °C (95 °F) in the summer and −40 °C (−40 °F) during the Quebec winter, They may vary depending on the Humidex or Wind chill. The all time record high was 40.0 °C (104.0 °F) and the all time record low was −51.0 °C (−59.8 °F).

The all-time record of the greatest precipitation in winter was established in winter 2007–2008, with more than five metres of snow in the area of Quebec City, while the average amount received per winter is around three metres. March 1971, however, saw the “Century’s Snowstorm” with more than 40 centimetres (16 in) in Montreal to 80 centimetres (31 in) in Mont Apica of snow within 24 hours in many regions of southern Quebec. Also, the winter of 2010 was the warmest and driest recorded in more than 60 years.

Average daily maximum and minimum temperatures for selected locations in Quebec
LocationJuly (°C)July (°F)January (°C)January (°F)
Montreal26/1679/61−5/−1422/7
Gatineau26/1579/60−6/−1521/5
Quebec City25/1377/56−8/−1817/0
Trois-Rivières25/1478/58−7/−1719/1
Sherbrooke24/1176/53−6/−1821/0
Saguenay24/1275/54−10/−2114/−6
Matagami23/973/48−13/−268/−16
Kuujjuaq17/663/43−20/−29−4/−20
Inukjuak13/556/42−21/−28−6/−19

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