Snow falls in Vancouver, BC, 15 January 2020 (Vancouver PD/Twitter)
Extremely cold Arctic air has enveloped Western Canada.
Temperatures have dropped into the -30s Celsius with bitter wind chills in the -40s on the Prairies and near -50 in the northern territories.
Even the normally mild Pacific coast has not escaped a so-called Arctic outflow.
About 15 to 20 cm snow fell in Vancouver and Victoria.
Schools closed, traffic was snarled and public transit buses got stuck in a region ill-equipped to handle wintry weather.
Hurricane Dorian damage in Halifax’s west end, 08 Sept 2019 (NS Power)
Canada is a land of weather extremes and this year has been no exception with frigid winter cold and stifling summer heat which brought wildfires, flooding, snowstorms and hurricanes.
Environment Canada has compiled its annual list for 2019:
Another record Ottawa River flood
Destructive hurricane season especially Dorian
Snowy Prairie autumn
Bitterly cold February nationwide
Record heat continues in the Arctic
Too dry early, too wet later on Prairies
Blustery Halloween in the East
Spring never arrives in Eastern Canada
More flooding along the St. John River
Fewer wildfires but more hectares burned
Here are some weather highlights for Atlantic Canada:
New Year’s Day takes Newfoundland by storm
January Maritime storm included every type of weather
Winter storm forces Moncton residents outside
February storm causes road closures in Labrador
Pre-Valentine’s storm across the Maritimes
March starts out stormy in Nova Scotia
Newfoundland’s icebergs please tourists and locals
October “weather bomb” drops lots of rain
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.
While much of Canada is covered in white on this Christmas Day, many of the major cities are without a snow cover.
Only the Prairie cities of Winnipeg, Saskatoon and Edmonton were guaranteed a White Christmas.
Recent heavy rain and warm temperatures have erased the snow pack across Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island and southern New Brunswick.
Traditionally Greater Moncton has a 65 percent chance of having a White Christmas.
Today, the airport recorded 3 cm of snow lying on the ground but much of the city and surrounding area have no snow cover at all.
Wildfires create smoky sky over downtown Calgary, AB, 14 Aug 2018 (Dearing)
Here is the annual list from Environment Canada:
Record wildfires and smoky summer skies in the West
Summer heat wave from East to West
Tough growing season in the Prairies
Powerful May winds impact Ontario and Quebec
September tornadoes touch down in Ottawa-Gatineau
Spring flooding in southern British Columbia
Historic spring flooding along the St. John River Valley
August deluge in Toronto
Record cold start to a long winter nationwide
Cold and stormy April for the East
autumn, cold, dry, fire, flooding, heat, rain, smoke, snow, spring, summer, tornado, warm, wind, winter |
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.
Most Canadians know winter, astronomically speaking, begins around 21 December but we know the season actually gets underway weeks before then.
Meteorologists like to package winter into neat three month blocks which is why 01 December marks the start of meteorological winter and 28 February marks the end.
In its three month outlook, Environment Canada expects most of New Brunswick will have above normal temperatures and near normal precipitation.
A large swath of the Arctic will likely be warmer than usual while Ontario and the southern Prairies will have higher amounts of rain and snow compared to normal.
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.
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.
Fort McMurray’s “Fire Beast”
Super El Niño Cancels Winter – 2nd warmest Canada-wide ever
August Long Weekend Storm on the Prairies… Big and Costly
A Summer to Remember in the East
November’s Heat Wave and December’s Deep Freeze
Arctic Sea Ice Going, Going… Break-up earlier/Freeze-up later
Wild Summer Prairie Weather
A Tale of Two Springs – Cold East and Warm West
Thanksgiving Day Atlantic Weather Bomb
Southwest Ontario’s $100 Million September Gusher (Courtesy Environment Canada)
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.