Severe weather slams Alberta

Severe weather damaged homes in Calgary, AB, 14 June 2020 (Twitter/CityofCalgary)

Severe thunderstorms moved across Alberta over the weekend producing heavy downpours, strong winds and hail as large as grapefruit.

Calgary was hard hit as flash flooding inundated major highways stranding drivers in their vehicles.

Hail of various sizes damaged the siding on homes, smashed windows, dented vehicles and it looked like snow as it piled up.

Some tornadoes were also reported but Environment Canada could not provide confirmation of any touching down.

Wind gusts as high as 128 km/h were clocked just west of Calgary and as much as 75 mm of rain fell in just a few hours.

UPDATE – Environment Canada has confirmed a tornado did touch down in Barnwell, east of Lethbridge, on 13 June.

The long trek of Cristobal

Cristobal
Although the storm never reached hurricane status, Cristobal has made an incredible trek from the Gulf of Mexico to the Great Lakes.

Meteorologists have noted the unique formation of Cristobal which developed from the remnants of Tropical Storm Amanda that ravaged the Pacific coast of Central America during the last week of May.

The tropical storm made landfall along the U.S. Gulf Coast with strong winds and heavy rain all the way up the Mississippi River Valley causing widespread flooding and even spawning some tornadoes.

The remnants of Cristobal moved into Ontario on Wednesday where an associated cold front brought severe thunderstorms.

Severe weather strikes Fredericton

Tree down near Charlotte and Carleton, Fredericton, NB, 05 June 2020 (Twitter/@KarlieFooter)

Strong clusters of thunderstorms rolled across central New Brunswick Friday night bringing heavy downpours, hail and damaging winds to the Fredericton area.

Environment Canada estimates winds gusted to more than 90 km/h which uprooted trees and downed power lines causing widespread outages.

Flash flooding became an issue when about 20-30 mm of rain fell in a brief period.

A severe thunderstorm watch was in place for Southeast New Brunswick for almost an hour with only dark clouds and sprinkles of rain.

Active Atlantic hurricane season predicted

Hurricane

U.S. forecasters have unveiled their projections for the 2020 Atlantic hurricane season and it promises to be a busy one with 13 to 19 named storms and 6 to 10 becoming hurricanes.

The U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) believes several factors are at play this year including above average sea surface temperatures, weaker tropical trade winds and an expected La Nina climate pattern.

Although the season doesn’t officially begin until 01 June, there has already been one named storm – Arthur – which had peak wind gusts of 95 km/h and neared the Southeastern U.S. before moving out to sea without striking land.

The Canadian Hurricane Centre will also be keeping an eye on storms which enter northern waters.

Last September, Hurricane Dorian made landfall near Halifax and caused destruction across Nova Scotia, Southeast New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island.

Return to winter

A strong low pressure system is expected to bring a lot of snow, some rain and wind to Southeast New Brunswick starting Thursday night.

About 15 cm could fall in Greater Moncton prompting Environment Canada to issue a snowfall warning.

Strong winds will coincide with high tide along the Northumberland Strait creating storm surge.

This could be the heaviest snowfall event since 01 March when 14 cm fell.

Storm brings snow to Ontario & Quebec


A Colorado Low tracked across Lake Huron on Saturday and brought snow to nearly all of Ontario and Southern Quebec with the first major amounts this winter.

Strong gusty winds up to 100 km/h in some areas also created blowing snow.

The low pressure system continued through the Northeastern United States and impacted the Maritimes on Sunday.

Snowfall amounts (in cm):

  • Marathon  30
  • Thunder Bay  21
  • Ottawa  20 (new daily record for 18 January)
  • Kitchener-Waterloo  19
  • Toronto Pearson Airport  17.2 (new daily record for 18 January)
  • Montreal  17
  • London  16
  • Kenora  15

(Data courtesy Environment Canada and volunteer observations)

Historic blizzard buries Newfoundland

Aftermath of a historic blizzard, St. John’s, NL, 18 Jan 2020 (Bob Hallett/Twitter)

Eastern Newfoundland has been paralyzed by a blizzard which meteorologists are calling a weather bomb with historic snow and howling winds.

A state of emergency continued Saturday in St. John’s where a new all-time daily snowfall record was set on Friday.

The provincial capital received an astonishing 76.2 cm on 17 January which buried vehicles and left huge snowdrifts making even walking difficult.

The previous daily record was 68.4 cm from 05 April 1999 with records dating to 1942.

Other communities in the Avalon Peninsula recorded more than 90 cm of snow.

Wind gusts exceeded hurricane-force in many areas with a peak of 171 km/h at Fortune Bay.

The Newfoundland premier has asked the federal government to bring in the army for help in the cleanup effort.

First storm of 2020

Heavy snow in St. John’s, NL, 06 Jan 2020 (Twitter/@kelseyhowlett93)

Just days into the new year, a low pressure system has brought mostly snow to Atlantic Canada especially near the ocean.

For most of Nova Scotia, it was winter’s first major snowfall with up to 15 cm at Halifax Stanfield Airport and nearly 40 cm in Sydney.

The storm grazed Greater Moncton with only 3 cm of snow.

After leaving the Maritimes, the system brought 42 cm snow to St. John’s, Newfoundland and 30 cm to the Burin Peninsula with a peak wind gust of 106 km/h in Bonavista.

Meantime, forecasters say another low pressure system is coming midweek.

Storm sweeps Ontario

Freezing rain coats trees in central Ontario, 30 Dec 2019 (South Simcoe Police)

Ontario is so large and sprawling that it’s rare one storm could impact most of the province but that’s what happened Sunday into Monday.

A large low pressure system brought severe winds to the southwest, hours of freezing rain in the east and heavy snow in the northwest.

Temperatures also soared briefly in the Greater Toronto Area with a new record high of 10.2°C set at Pearson Airport.

Freezing rain duration in hours:

  • Ottawa Int’l Airport – 22
  • Sudbury – 20
  • CFB Trenton – 18

Snowfall in cm:

  • Marathon – 37
  • Thunder Bay – 30
  • Atikokan – 18

Maximum wind gusts in km/h:

  • Chatham-Kent – 104
  • Windsor – 100
  • Toronto Billy Bishop Airport – 81

(Data courtesy Environment Canada)

Mild but stormy conditions

A break in the rain at Irishtown Nature Park reservoir, 15 Dec 2019 (Dearing)

Another intense low pressure system moved through the Maritimes on the weekend bringing a new round of heavy rain and strong winds.

After a bone-chilling start, winds changed direction and a southerly flow pushed the high in Greater Moncton to 13.8°C – close to the record of 13.9°C from 2008.

Winds were strong with gusts up to 87 km/h in Southeast New Brunswick and a peak of 91 km/h reported in Bathurst.

As the storm headed to Newfoundland, cold air plunged into the region and temperatures fell below freezing and may stay that way for several days.