Cherry blossoms brighten B.C. coast

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Cherry blossoms in Vancouver,BC,15 April 2017 (CityofVancouver/Twitter)

Canada’s so-called Left Coast may have the mildest winters in the country but along with that comes a lot of cloudy skies and precipitation mostly falling as rain.

After a colder and snowier than usual winter, Vancouver experienced a gloomy March with the least amount of sunshine since records began in 1951 and it rained 28 out of 31 days.

So it’s no wonder, the sight of beautiful pink and white cherry blossoms is causing traffic troubles with so many drivers and pedestrians stopping to admire them.

The peak bloom is a bit later than normal this year thanks to dismal weather causing the Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival to reschedule some events.

White Christmas guaranteed

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For the first time since 2013, Southeast New Brunswick will have a White Christmas.

Although it was mild and rainy on Christmas Eve, not enough showers will fall to wash away the roughly 10 cm of lying snow in Greater Moncton.

Christmas Day is expected to be sunny with seasonal temperatures.

The only two parts of Canada that will not have a White Christmas are the Atlantic coast of Nova Scotia or the Pacific coast of British Columbia.

Trio of storms hit B.C.’s south coast

Three storms in quick succession have battered the south coast of British Columbia delivering more than 200 mm of rain in some areas.

Strong winds gusting up to 100 km/h caused up to 300,000 power outages at one point and brought down at least 250 trees in Vancouver.

The series of storms were from the remnants of Super Typhoon Songda.

Canada’s Top Ten of 2015

WeatherTop

Courtesy Environment Canada

1. Record Cold Winter in the East

For the second consecutive year, Canada’s top weather story was a long, cold, snowy winter from Ontario to the Maritimes.

2. Forests Blazing in the West

The wildfire season began early, ended late and was extremely active; 4,922 fires consumed an incredible 3.25 million hectares of woodland, four times the 25-year average.

3. Dry to Almost Disastrous in the West

Prairie farmers faced many challenges this year with killing frosts in May, spring and early summer dryness, and too many hailstorms.

4. Maritime Snowmaggedon

Maritimers endured brutal cold and had to dig out from record snowfalls. January, February and March were the coldest in 68 years.

5. Record Hot Dry Summer across B.C.

Persistently warm waters and a large high pressure area off the coast led to record-breaking warmth and even drought in British Columbia.

6. Stormy Summer on the Prairies

Severe summer weather events such as tornadoes, heavy rainfalls, strong winds and hailstorms numbered 307 across Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba compared to an average of 234.

7. Groundhog Day Storm

The nasty nor’easter brought strong winds, poor visibility and a mix of messy precipitation from Ontario to Atlantic Canada.

8. B.C.’s Big August Blow

After heat, drought and massive wildfires, a dramatic shift in late August brought leftover fuel from tropical storm Kilo which was known more for its fierce winds than relief rains.

9. Maritime Valentine Storm, A White Juan-a-be

A powerful nor’easter charged the Maritimes on Valentine’s Day, with up to 80 cm of snow. Maritimers compared this storm with the infamous White Juan blizzard 11 years earlier.

10. January in July for St. John’s

Eastern Newfoundland had a cold July with an average high of 15.8°C, a new low record dating to 1942 and 10 degrees cooler than last year! Total July rainfall of 181 mm was the second wettest on record.

(List courtesy Environment Canada)

Powerful winds pound SW British Columbia

Two trees topple onto two houses, Vancouver, BC, 29 August 2015 (Twitter)

Two trees topple onto two houses, Vancouver, BC, 29 August 2015 (Twitter)


Strong winds gusting up to 80 km/h brought down trees and power lines in Greater Vancouver and British Columbia’s Lower Mainland.

At the peak of the wind storm, about half-a-million customers were without power in the region but crews had restored most by Sunday morning.

Vancouver officials blame a summer drought for making trees weaker and more susceptible which is why many came crashing down on homes and vehicles.

Environment Canada warns that more wind and rain is expected to impact the region over the next couple of days.

Smoke from B.C. forest fires invades Vancouver

Smoky sky over Vancouver, BC, 05 July 2015 (Vancouver Sun)

Smoky sky over Vancouver, BC, 05 July 2015 (Vancouver Sun)


Smoke from forest fires in southern British Columbia has led to an air quality advisory for Metro Vancouver and the south coast.

Environment Canada along with several partners issued the advisory over the weekend and cautioned residents with medical conditions to stay indoors.

Meantime, smoke from forest fires in northern Alberta and northern Saskatchewan has prompted air quality advisories across the Prairies as far south as Regina.

Cool end to June in N.B.

Aboiteau Beach, Cap-Pele, NB, 27 June 2015 (Dearing)

Aboiteau Beach, Cap-Pele, NB, 27 June 2015 (Dearing)


June is ending the same way it began in New Brunswick – on a cool note.

While it was sunny and warm (near average at about 22 C) yesterday and a great day to enjoy Aboiteau Beach in Cap-Pele, today was mostly cloudy and cool (high teens C) in Greater Moncton with rain by evening.

Meantime, a heat wave in Western Canada has brought highs well into the 30’s peaking at 41 C in Warfield, BC, 38 C in Medicine Hat, AB and 36 C in Maple Creek, SK.

Flash flooding hits B.C. Interior

Aftermath of flash flooding in Cache Creek, BC, 25 May 2015 (CP)

Aftermath of flash flooding in Cache Creek, BC, 25 May 2015 (CP)


A state of emergency has been declared in the small town of Cache Creek, British Columbia, west of Kamloops, after torrential downpours created mudslides and flash flooding.

Environment Canada reports almost 40 mm of rain fell in only a few hours on Saturday and the semi-arid region was unable to handle such a large amount of precipitation in such a short time.

At least 60 homes have been damaged and at least 100 people have registered at a temporary emergency shelter.

The provincial government has announced the community of 1,100 people will be eligible for disaster relief funding.

The year without winter – on Canada’s West Coast

 

Cherry blossoms in Victoria, BC, 28 February 2015 (Twitter)

Cherry blossoms in Victoria, BC, 28 February 2015 (Twitter)

The rest of Canada is resenting the coast of British Columbia this winter.

Why?  It’s simple really.  While most of Canada has been much colder and snowier than usual, the West Coast has been basking in spring-like temperatures all winter long.

Both Vancouver and Victoria have been well above normal with average daytime highs last month reaching 11 C and overnight lows which seldom dropped below freezing.

One noticeable example of the warmth is the sprouting of cherry blossoms about three weeks earlier than usual.

A large ridge of high pressure along the West Coast has kept Arctic air well to the east of British Columbia for weeks.

 

Canada’s Top Ten Weather Stories 2014

George Street in Fredericton, NB, 05 July 2014 (Twitter)

George Street in Fredericton, NB, 05 July 2014 (Twitter)

Each year Environment Canada compiles a list of the ten most significant weather events across the country and the following is how 2014 shaped up:

1. Canada’s Long Cold Winter – While much of the country shivered under cold and snowy conditions, Southeast New Brunswick was actually rainier and slightly warmer than normal.

2. Summer Flooding in the Eastern Prairies – Too much rain too fast over too many days led to extensive flooding in Manitoba and Saskatchewan.

3. Wildfires in the West and Northwest – Exceptional warmth and dryness led to an abundance of wildfires in British Columbia and the Northwest Territories.

4. The Nightmare Before, During and After Christmas – A series of snow and ice storms in late 2013 and early 2014 left thousands without power for days from Ontario to Atlantic Canada.

5. Summer – Hot on Coasts, Cool in Centre – While British Columbia and Atlantic Canada enjoyed above normal temperatures, it never really got that hot or hazy in Ontario.

6. Hurricane Arthur – The first hurricane of the Atlantic season in early July packed a punch in the Maritimes with hundreds of trees toppling over on power lines leaving many in the dark for days.

7. Alberta Hailstorm – A series of thunderstorms in early August moved across Southern Alberta producing tennis to baseball-sized hailstones and covering the ground like snow.

8. Powerful December Storms on Coasts – Three storms in rapid succession battered the Pacific coast while an East Coast deluge delivered 150 mm of rain in Greater Moncton over two days and caused extensive flooding.

9. Ontario Tornadoes – The province recorded 19 this year with the worst twister in Angus near Barrie on 17 June which damaged more than 100 homes after peak wind gusts up to 220 km/h.

10. Snowtember in Alberta – The so-called snow event brought summer-like temperatures to a screeching halt on 07 September when upwards of 40 cm of snow fell on Calgary and region over the next three days.