Canada’s Top 10 Weather Stories of 2011

Flooding in the Prairies (Lyndon Tucker photo)

Environment Canada has released its annual list of top ten weather stories of the year:

1.  Prairie flooding – Historic spring floods in Manitoba and Saskatchewan turn into historic summer floods.

2.  Alberta burning – Forest fires destroy one-third of the town of Slave Lake, Alberta in May.

3.  Richelieu flooding – Quebec’s Richelieu Valley floods after heavy snowpack melts in Northeastern U.S.

4.  Farming challenges – From coast to coast, wet fields cause problems throughout the growing season.

5.  Ontario twisters – An F3 tornado (with winds up to 320 km/h) ravages SW town of Goderich.

6.  Busy Atlantic hurricanes – Irene, Katia, Maria and Ophelia did the most damage of the season in Atlantic Canada.

7.  Bummer Summer – Either too hot in Central Canada or too wet and cool on both the East and West Coasts.

8.  Arctic ice shrinking – Sea ice in the Arctic reaches an all-time minimum in September since records began 50 years ago.

9.  Groundhog Day Storm – Blizzard shuts down travel for days in Ontario, Quebec and Atlantic Canada.

10.  Windy Alberta – Strong winds in November (peak gust of 204 km/h) blow trucks off highways and shatter office towers in Calgary.

Forest fire burns Alberta town

Burned out neighbourhood Slave Lake, AB (Reuters)

Almost half of Slave Lake, in northern Alberta, has been destroyed by a raging forest fire.

The town of 7,000 is nearly empty as convoys of cars and trucks evacuated the community over the weekend to escape the flames which at times were whipped by winds of 100 km/h.

Local emergency information was difficult to come by as the radio station and town hall were both destroyed by fire and many residents turned to social media websites such as Facebook to get further details.

No deaths or injuries have been reported.