Snow cover lingers across Canada

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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.

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Bitter cold in the West

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Winter just won’t let go in Western Canada with Environment Canada noting the duration and intensity of the current cold snap hasn’t been felt since April 1970.

The polar vortex is to blame as the pool of Arctic air sinks south into the Prairies.

Daytime highs in southern Alberta are only climbing to -7 C with overnight lows in the -20’s C in Saskatchewan and -30’s C in Manitoba.

Forecasters say the bitter cold will hang around until the weekend.

Extreme cold warning

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A portion of Niagara Falls has frozen over, along Canada-US border, 31 Dec 2017 (Instagram)

Environment Canada issued an extreme cold warning today for most of New Brunswick with frigid temperatures and moderate winds bringing bitter wind chills between -30 and -36 on New Year’s Day and 02 January.

From Yukon to Quebec, extreme cold warnings have been posted prompting many cities including Toronto and Ottawa to cancel some New Year’s Eve festivities or move events indoors.

In Calgary, zoo officials say it’s been so cold even the penguins have been brought inside.

Claresholm, Alberta set a new record low of -41.8 C and Brooks was close behind at -40.5 C.

Record highs in Alberta

Residents of Alberta were golfing rather than skiing this weekend as chinook-like weather brought record high temperatures.

On 09 December, Calgary set a new record of 15.4 C which broke the old record by one full degree from 1890.

The normal daytime high for Calgary is -1 C with an overnight low of -13 C.

Other records were set in Claresholm which hit a summer-like 20.3 C while Sundre reached 16.3 C.

Environment Canada says double digit highs are likely for at least the next few days.

Early snow along BC South Coast

The first Arctic front of the season has moved across British Columbia bringing a blast of cold air, strong winds and the first snowfall to the south coast including most of Vancouver Island.

Victoria received 7 cm of snow which was the earliest appearance since 1991.

Significant snow fell in the BC interior with 19 cm in Kelowna and 34 cm in Cranbrook.

The same storm system also has Southern Alberta digging out with Calgary getting 14 cm and Lethbridge picking up a whopping 39 cm of snow.

Snow in Edmonton!

Snow falling in Edmonton, AB, 19 Sept 2017 (Dearing)


The northernmost city in North America with over one million residents had 5 cm of snow today. 

Edmonton had a winter-like day during the final days of summer when a cold rain turned white making highways slippery. 

Alberta weather can be highly variable given that on 07 September, the provincial capital climbed to 32.8 C – the warmest temperature so far this year. 

Environment Canada says the cold and snow will be short-lived with sunshine and daytime highs climbing to 16 C by the weekend. 

Heat wave in the West

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Cooling off in the Elbow River, SW Calgary, AB, 27 July 2017 (Postmedia/G. Young)

Environment Canada issued heat warnings for most of Alberta along with parts of Saskatchewan and Manitoba this week in the wake of sizzling high temperatures.

The weather office says a daytime maximum of 30 C or higher could pose an elevated risk of heat-related illnesses and residents should avoid outdoor activities until cooler hours of the day.

Temperatures could climb to 33 C as far north as Thompson and almost 30 C in Churchill along the Hudson Bay coast.

Forecasters say the extreme heat will continue this weekend but a slight cool down is expected early next week.

Heat warnings issued in the West

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Weather watches, warnings, statements re: heat and thunderstorms, 08 July 2017 (Environment Canada)

A strong ridge of high pressure over Western Canada has pushed the thermometer into record high territory for British Columbia and Alberta.

On 07 July, dozens of communities set new maximum temperatures with the highest at 39.4 C in Warfield and 38.3 C in Nelson but the hot spot in Canada was Garden River in northern Alberta at 40.3 C.

The major cities were warm too with Calgary reaching 33 C and Edmonton 30 C.

Heat warnings have been issued for most of Alberta and parts of Saskatchewan where temperatures will be near 29 C or higher for the next few days and residents are urged to take precautions.

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)