Tornado touches down in Alberta

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Tornado swirling near Three Hills, AB, 02 June 2017 (TWN/Twitter)


A large tornado touched down in central Alberta near Three Hills on Friday afternoon amid severe thunderstorms.

Environment Canada had issued a tornado warning for the region which lasted about half an hour.

Officials say wind speeds up to 130 km/h caused damage to trees, roofs and buildings but no one was hurt.

Canada’s Top 10 of 2016

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RCMP officer in burnt neighbourhood, Fort McMurray, AB, 05 May 2016 (Alberta RCMP)

From the horrible wildfires which destroyed parts of Fort McMurray, Alberta to the winter that wasn’t to a warm, dry summer which led to drought in areas of Eastern Canada, 2016 was certainly noteworthy for major weather events.

  1. Fort McMurray’s “Fire Beast”
  2. Super El Niño Cancels Winter – 2nd warmest Canada-wide ever
  3. August Long Weekend Storm on the Prairies… Big and Costly
  4. A Summer to Remember in the East
  5. November’s Heat Wave and December’s Deep Freeze
  6. Arctic Sea Ice Going, Going… Break-up earlier/Freeze-up later
  7. Wild Summer Prairie Weather
  8. A Tale of Two Springs – Cold East and Warm West
  9. Thanksgiving Day Atlantic Weather Bomb
  10. Southwest Ontario’s $100 Million September Gusher                                               (Courtesy Environment Canada)

Wildfires tear through Tennessee

Burned buildings and cars aftermath of wildfire in Gatlinburg Tennessee

Wildfire devastation in Gatlinburg, Tennessee, USA, 29 Nov 2016 (Reuters)

It sounds all too familiar in 2016 – wildfires devastate a community.

This time it’s autumn in Gatlinburg, Tennessee and last time it was spring in Fort McMurray, Alberta.

About 1,000 homes and businesses have been destroyed by wildfires in the eastern part of the southern U.S. state of Tennessee.

Officials believe the fire was human-caused and began earlier this week in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

Strong winds toppled trees and power lines and spread embers to nearby Gatlinburg where 14,000 people had to be evacuated.

Rain has helped fire crews but months of drought has left the ground bone-dry.

At least two Canadians are among 13 people who have died in the wildfires.

Warm in west, chilly in east

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Barren trees in Fairview Knoll Park, Moncton, 05 Nov 2016 (Dearing)


Most trees have now lost their leaves in Greater Moncton – with oak trees being the exception – and the starkness of November is settling in.

The thermometer dipped to a frosty -3.1 C yesterday morning which was the coldest low so far this fall and a chilly high of only 4.5 C.

It’s a different story in the Prairies and northwestern Ontario with record breaking warm temperatures climbing near 20 C which is well above normal.

Edmonton climbed to 20.6 C on Friday which was the warmest high ever for a November day in the Alberta capital.

Say it isn’t snow in Alberta!

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Snow falling in a Calgary backyard, 22 Aug 2016 (Twitter)


Snow is not unusual in Alberta in August but nevertheless no one wants to see it in late summer.

Calgary received a trace of snow while several centimetres fell in the foothills and in the Rocky Mountains.

The snow was part of a wild weather system which also brought thunderstorms, heavy rain, flooding, strong winds, a confirmed tornado and even a waterspout.

Heavy hailstorm hits Alberta

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Hail up to 30 cm deep fell near Calgary, AB, 28 June 2016 (Facebook)


Severe thunderstorms across Alberta delivered not only heavy rain but also heavy hail the size of quarters near Calgary yesterday.

The hail was so heavy and deep that it accumulated like snow and made an early summer day look downright wintry.

Funnel clouds and possible tornadoes were also reported during the stormy conditions.

PM Trudeau in Fort McMurray

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Prime Minister Justin Trudeau tours burnt-out areas of Fort McMurray, AB with Fire Chief Darby Allen, 13 May 2016 (Reuters)


Prime Minister Justin Trudeau visited Fort McMurray on Friday for the first time since wildfires destroyed more than 10 percent of the city or about 2,400 buildings.

Trudeau praised the work of emergency responders including firefighters for helping to save most of the city including the downtown core.

More than 90,000 people remain displaced and are staying with family or friends or remain in evacuation centres waiting for word on when they can return home.

Trudeau announced an extension of jobless benefits for those in the region which follows emergency financial aid announced for fire victims by the Red Cross and the Alberta government.

Although the wildfires have moved away from Fort McMurray, officials say the blazes could burn for weeks to come in forested areas.

Wildfires grow in northern Alberta

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RCMP officer in burned neighbourhood of Fort McMurray, 05 May 2016 (Alberta RCMP)


Apart from RCMP officers on patrol, the city of Fort McMurray remains a ghost town after wildfires forced almost 90,000 residents to evacuate.

Thousands who fled north to oil sands camps found themselves stranded since Highway 63 is the only route south.

RCMP are leading vehicles in convoys heading south through empty and burned out areas of Fort McMurray to evacuation centres as far south as Edmonton.

Wildfires have grown to cover 1000 square kilometres of northern Alberta and officials say only rain and cooler conditions will help temper the flames.

Wildfire engulfs Fort McMurray

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RCMP among few left in Fort McMurray enforcing evacuation, 04 May 2016 (RCMP/Twitter)

About 1,600 buildings have burned to the ground in Fort McMurray as a wildfire engulfed the southwest portion of the city late yesterday.

Alberta has declared a state of emergency as the government confirms many homes in the Beacon Hill and Waterways neighbourhoods have been destroyed.

The wildfire cut the city in two forcing 10,000 people to evacuate north to oil sands camps and at least 80,000 had to head south.

Traffic became gridlocked on Highway 63 as dozens of drivers abandoned their vehicles after breaking down or running out of gas.

Heading further south to Edmonton, drivers faced a slow, tense trip with bumper-to-bumper traffic and long lineups at the few gas stations available.

The military has been called in to help firefighters and hundreds of additional RCMP officers are being deployed to the region.

Wildfire forces evacuation of Fort McMurray

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Wildfire closes in on Fort McMurray, AB neighbourhood, 03 May 2016 (Facebook)

The largest mandatory evacuation in the history of Alberta is underway as more than 80,000 people flee Fort McMurray due to a raging wildfire.

The forest has been tinder-dry and weather has not been cooperating for firefighters either with strong winds, soaring temperatures and low humidity.

The fire had entered the city limits by mid-afternoon and social media reports say homes, a trailer park and a hotel were engulfed in flames.

The airport remains open and officials say the city’s only hospital has been successfully evacuated.

Residents are being told to head north to the oil sands camps or Highway 63 south with evacuation centres on the way to Edmonton.