Spring blizzard sweeps Prairies

A snowy sidewalk in Calgary, 27 April 2019 (Instagram/machadogiselia)

A strong low pressure system brought snow and strong winds to Alberta creating poor visibility and even thunderstorms and a possible tornado were reported.

Emergency officials scrambled to respond to more than 120 road crashes in Calgary on Sunday due to slippery, treacherous conditions after about 15 cm snow fell.

The spring blizzard continued to move across the Prairies where it dumped up to 45 cm on southwestern Saskatchewan including the Cypress Hills area.

The storm crossed into Manitoba with as little as 5 cm in the southeast to about 30 cm in the southwest.

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Spring arrives early in the North

A warm air mass has surged into Western Canada this week bringing record temperatures to the region and also to the North.

Many communities from Yukon to Nunavut were well above freezing and into the double digits breaking March records.

Yohin Lake hit a record high of 18.8°C Monday and spiked to 20.2°C Tuesday marking the first time in March the thermometer has climbed above 20°C in Northwest Territories.

Daytime highs in British Columbia’s Fraser Valley hit the mid 20’s while Alberta residents enjoyed maximums in the high teens.

Unbelievable cold in the West!

COLD

Thermometer reading near Edmonton where Celsius meets Fahrenheit, 05 Feb 2019 (Twitter)

An Arctic air mass has plunged much of Western Canada into the deep freeze with the coldest weather in nearly a decade.

Frigid temperatures have broken records in Saskatchewan, Alberta and British Columbia with the wind chill making it feel more like -50 in some areas!

Emergency responders had many calls related to frostbite and hypothermia with seniors and young children being especially vulnerable to the cold.

Auto clubs had almost ten times as many requests from drivers for dead car batteries.

These locations were among new minimums set on 05-06 February 2019:

Key Lake, SK
New record of -47.7
Old record of -44.0 set in 2007
Records started in 1976

Meadow Lake, SK
New record of -43.5
Old record of -41.0 set in 1979
Records started in 1959

Saskatoon, SK
New record of -42.5
Old record of -41.7 set in 1907
Records started in 1900

Grande Prairie, AB
New record of -41.5
Old record of -39.4 set in 1933
Records started in 1922

Edmonton International Airport, AB
New record of -41.2
Old record of -37.2 set in 1975
Records started in 1959

Jasper, AB
New record of -39.4
Old record of -35.7 set in 2014
Records started in 1916

Blue River, BC
New record -35.6
Old record -33.0 set in 1989

Lytton, BC
New record -17.4
Old record -17.2 set in 1949

(Data courtesy Environment Canada)

Canada’s Top 10 Weather Stories 2018

img_2955

Wildfires create smoky sky over downtown Calgary, AB, 14 Aug 2018 (Dearing)

Here is the annual list from Environment Canada:

  1. Record wildfires and smoky summer skies in the West
  2. Summer heat wave from East to West
  3. Tough growing season in the Prairies
  4. Powerful May winds impact Ontario and Quebec
  5. September tornadoes touch down in Ottawa-Gatineau
  6. Spring flooding in southern British Columbia
  7. Historic spring flooding along the St. John River Valley
  8. August deluge in Toronto
  9. Record cold start to a long winter nationwide
  10. Cold and stormy April for the East

 

Heavy snow hits Calgary

Heavy snow covers cars in Calgary, AB, 02 Oct 2018 (Twitter)

Late summer and early autumn have been cold in southern Alberta but a big snowfall suddenly made it seem like winter.

Heavy snow moved across the Rockies and the foothills today dumping between 20 and 40 cm of snow (including over 30 cm at Calgary International Airport).

Environment Canada warns the snow will continue into Wednesday morning with a few more centimetres expected.

Traffic also ground to a halt as vehicles became stranded on snowy and icy highways.

September snow in Alberta!

Snow falls in Edmonton, AB, 12 Sept 2018 (Instagram)

Cold Arctic air has combined with moisture moving over the Rockies to give Alberta a taste of winter in late summer.

Forecasters say northern Alberta including Edmonton could receive at least 8 cm snow with up to 15 cm in Jasper.

Temperatures are hovering near or slightly below freezing with a plunge to -6°C in northern British Columbia.

Environment Canada says more seasonable weather is not expected to return until early next week.

Smoke impacts Alberta air quality

Smoke over downtown Calgary, AB, 14 August 2018 (Dearing)

Smoke from forest fires in British Columbia is streaming into Alberta resulting in poor air quality and reduced visibility.

Environment Canada says smoke conditions can change quickly during wildfires but air quality will be poor for the rest of the week.

Small children, seniors and anyone with chronic conditions are especially at risk.

British Columbia has declared a state of emergency with over 560 out-of-control wildfires forcing 3,000 residents from their homes and another 20,000 are under evacuation alert.

Calgary sets new heat record

Palm tree flourishing in the heat, SE Calgary, AB, 11 August 2018 (Dearing)

Calgary hit an all-time record high on Friday when the thermometer climbed to 36.5°C which eclipsed the previous record of 36.1°C set 85 years ago.

Environment Canada had issued heat warnings for more than 100 regions in Alberta, British Columbia, Saskatchewan and Manitoba.

Besides the heat, smoke from forest fires have caused poor air quality throughout Western Canada.

A cold front lowered temperatures in Alberta to near seasonal values for the weekend but the heat lingered in the eastern Prairies.

Hail Calgary!

CalgaryhailJul18

A sea of white – hail – on a Calgary highway, 23 July 2018 (Global/C. Bills)

It looked like a snowstorm in July as violent thunderstorms rolled across southern Alberta on Monday covering Calgary in golf ball-sized hail.

Traffic was snarled during the afternoon commute as drivers coped with hail piling up like snow.

By early evening, the storms had passed and Environment Canada dropped severe thunderstorm warnings for the region.

Calgary is dubbed the hailstorm capital of Canada and south central Alberta is known to be one of the worst areas of the world for thunderstorms producing damaging hail.

Snow cover lingers across Canada

snowApr18
We know it snows in Canada in April but an astonishing amount of snow remains on the ground for the middle of the month.

The only snow-free areas as of 18 April are mainland Nova Scotia, extreme SW Ontario, southern Manitoba, SW Saskatchewan, SE Alberta, coastal British Columbia and southern valleys of the interior.

Even much of the northeastern United States and the upper Great Lakes region is still covered in white.

In Greater Moncton, the snow has mostly disappeared except for man-made snowbanks but as much as 100 cm remains in northern New Brunswick.