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.

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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.

Major flooding in B.C.

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Flooding in Grand Forks, BC, 11 May 2018 (Regional District of Kootenay Boundary)

A combination of heavy rain, warm temperatures and rapid snowmelt from the mountains has created major flooding in Interior British Columbia.

About 4,000 residents have been evacuated from their homes mainly in the Regional District of Kootenay Boundary.

At the confluence of two rivers – the Granby and the Kettle – the city of Grand Forks has been hardest hit where firefighters have rescued dozens by boat.

The province has issued evacuation orders or alerts in six other regional districts and eight First Nations.

Officials say this spring’s flooding is worse than the devastating floods of 1948.

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.

Canada’s Top 10 Weather Stories 2017

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Icy road on the Acadian Peninsula, 27 Jan 2017 (Twitter)

Canada had the eighth warmest period in 70 years of reporting weather in 2017, with temperatures averaging 1.4°C above normal.

From a list of 100 significant weather events across the country, Environment Canada picked the top 10 weather stories of the year:

1. Long and destructive summer wildfire season in British Columbia

2. Hot and dry summer in the West from Interior BC to Manitoba

3. Spring flooding in Quebec and Ontario

4. Cold and snowy winter in BC including Lower Mainland and Vancouver Island

5. More heavy rain and flooding in Southwestern Ontario during late August

6. Cool and wet summer in Central Canada

7. Heavy snow cripples Ontario and Quebec in mid-March

8. Record heat across Eastern Canada during September

9. Blizzards hit Newfoundland in March and April

10. Lengthy ice storm impacts New Brunswick in late January

Bitter cold coast to coast

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Frigid temperatures across Canada, observed 8am AST 28 Dec 2017

This is Canada and we know it gets cold in the winter but the bitter Arctic air which has enveloped almost the entire country is a bit unusual so early in the season.

Environment Canada says the size of the cold wave – from interior British Columbia to Atlantic Canada – and the duration of the frigid weather are exceptional for late December.

Meteorologists say 1993 was the last time there was a similar cold spell between Christmas and New Year’s.

Only the coast of British Columbia will escape the worst but even there, daytime temperatures will barely climb above freezing.

West coast goes white

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Kitsilano neighbourhood,Vancouver, BC, 19 Dec 2017 (Twitter)

It doesn’t snow in Vancouver very often but when it does panic typically ensues on streets and sidewalks.

About 7 cm fell at Vancouver International Airport yesterday with higher amounts reported to the north and east.

Snow also fell on Vancouver Island with only 3 cm in Victoria but at least 20 cm in Nanaimo.

Parts of the British Columbia interior picked up more than 30 cm.

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.

Record heat in California

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Sunset over San Francisco, CA, USA, 01 Sept 2017 (Twitter)

San Francisco rarely suffers from hot weather which is why many residents are struggling to stay cool during a heat wave since most homes don’t have air conditioners.

The U.S. National Weather Service says the thermometer climbed to an all-time record-breaking 41.1 C (106 F) on 01 September and another record of 38.9 C (102 F) was set the following day.

Those sizzling highs are a far cry from the average of 21 C for the northern California city.

Numerous wildfires in the region have produced smoke and haze which has added to air quality concerns.

The heat has also stretched northward to Oregon, Washington State and British Columbia where temperatures could exceed 30 C on Vancouver Island.

Firefighters make progress in B.C. wildfires

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Active wildfires burning in BC, 13 July 2017 (BC Wildfire Service/Google)

More than 300 firefighters from across Canada including New Brunswick are now in British Columbia to relieve those already on the ground battling over 180 wildfires.

Some progress has been made thanks to recent cooler weather but 14,000 residents have been evacuated and thousands more are on alert to leave their homes at short notice.

Forecasters say gusty winds expected this weekend could fan the flames even further and the heat is also expected to return.

The economy of the B.C. Interior is taking a hit this summer with many campgrounds and provincial parks forced to close due to the wildfires and related road closures.