Tornadoes confirmed in Ontario

Ominous clouds over Toronto, ON, 03 Aug 2020 (Twitter/@Ariana_Khakpour)

The first few days of August were stormy across southern Ontario with severe weather spawning at least four tornadoes confirmed by Environment Canada.

On Sunday, thunderstorms with pounding rain moved across the province and a tornado touched down in Camden East, near Kingston, with maximum winds of 130 km/h (Enhanced Fujita scale-0 rating) tearing off roofs as well as bringing down trees and power lines onto buildings and vehicles.

A couple hours later, another twister was recorded in Oxford Mills, south of Ottawa, with maximum winds of 90 km/h (EF-0 rating).

Just a half hour afterwards, another tornado struck Kinmount, north of Peterborough, with maximum winds of 150 km/h (EF-1 rating).

Finally on Monday, a weak tornado causing some tree damage was reported in Mitchell, west of Kitchener, and an EF rating has not been assigned since it remains under investigation.

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)

White Christmas

Light snow falls on Boxing Day, Truro, NS, 26 Dec 2019 (Dearing)

Despite a relatively snow-free December, Greater Moncton still managed to have a White Christmas this year after all – but just barely.

Environment Canada reports 2 cm of snow on the ground at the airport Christmas morning which fits its official definition.

Other parts of southern New Brunswick and Nova Scotia did not have snow including in Truro where I spent the holiday.

Meteorologists say odds of a White Christmas have decreased in recent years.

Here are the odds for select Canadian cities (1994-2017 versus 1955-2017):

  • Moncton – 65% / 73%
  • Fredericton – 50% / 76%
  • Saint John – 45% / 60%
  • Charlottetown – 55% / 78%
  • Halifax – 40% / 54%
  • Montreal – 70% / 76%
  • Toronto – 45% / 52%
  • Winnipeg – 100% / 98%
  • Calgary – 60% / 59%
  • Vancouver – 10% / 10%

Fading tropical storm batters Ontario

Courtesy Weather Nation

The remnants of Tropical Storm Olga were felt across Southern Ontario on the weekend with rainy and windy conditions.

Environment Canada says between 30 and 60 mm of rain fell across the region including the Greater Toronto Area.

Wind gusts were up to 80 km/h in some locations with a peak of 104 km/h recorded at Port Colborne on Lake Erie.

Olga formed in the Gulf of Mexico several days ago and made landfall in Louisiana before quickly churning northward toward the Great Lakes.

Forecasters are calling for more wet weather and cooler conditions by Halloween.

Thunderstorms cool off Eastern Canada

Thunderstorms rolling across Southern Ontario and Southern Quebec this weekend brought an end to oppressive heat and humidity.

Toronto residents were trying to keep cool Saturday when the mercury soared to 33.0°C with a stifling humidex of 44 and Montreal reported similar conditions.

In the Maritimes, even typically cooler coastal areas were warm with new record highs set in Saint John and Grand Manan.

The temperature in Greater Moncton peaked at 32.4°C which fell short of the record of 33.5°C from 1991.

A brief, violent thunderstorm hit Halifax on Sunday afternoon with flash flooding and strong winds knocking out power to more than 44,000 Nova Scotians.

Bitter cold in Toronto

A bitterly cold day in downtown Toronto, 20 Jan 2019 (Dearing)

Without a doubt, Canada’s largest city can often be cold during the winter.

But during a recent stopover in Toronto, an Arctic air mass pushed into Southern Ontario giving the provincial capital its coldest daytime high ever recorded.

A bitterly cold maximum of -14.2°C was set on 20 January at Pearson Airport.

Two overnight lows also dropped to -22°C this week which although frigid were still a few degrees away from the all-time records.

Until now, Central Canada had practically escaped the winter season apart from a brief blast in late November.

Canada’s Top 10 Weather Stories 2018

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Wildfires create smoky sky over downtown Calgary, AB, 14 Aug 2018 (Dearing)

Here is the annual list from Environment Canada:

  1. Record wildfires and smoky summer skies in the West
  2. Summer heat wave from East to West
  3. Tough growing season in the Prairies
  4. Powerful May winds impact Ontario and Quebec
  5. September tornadoes touch down in Ottawa-Gatineau
  6. Spring flooding in southern British Columbia
  7. Historic spring flooding along the St. John River Valley
  8. August deluge in Toronto
  9. Record cold start to a long winter nationwide
  10. Cold and stormy April for the East

 

U.S. Northeast hit by early season snow

Snow falling in Washington, DC, USA, 15 Nov 2018 (Instagram)

A significant November snowstorm took meteorologists by surprise yesterday when more snow fell and for longer than originally forecast.

A Nor’easter moved up the U.S. Eastern Seaboard dropping 16 cm of snow on New York City which created commuter chaos with train delays and dozens of drivers trapped in their vehicles on treacherous highways.

While Washington, DC only picked up about 4 cm – the biggest November snowfall in three decades – it was to take road crews by surprise and some schools were closed.

The precipitation also included ice pellets and freezing rain with an eventual changeover to rain.

The storm also brought between 10 and 20 cm of snow across Southern Ontario with Toronto Pearson Airport picking up 11 cm.

The same system is now impacting the Maritimes.

Warm July for most of Canada

July was a warm month not only in Greater Moncton and New Brunswick but also throughout most of Canada – except for the Far North.

Montreal shattered its monthly record with a mean temperature of 24.1 C – three degrees above normal – and sadly dozens died from not having air conditioning.

Halifax and Toronto were both almost two degrees above normal while Vancouver and Calgary were each more than one degree higher than average.

Even normally cool St. John’s, Newfoundland was 1.6 degrees warmer in July with 15 days reaching daytime highs of 25 C or more.

Only in the Arctic were temperatures lower with Iqaluit, Nunavut nearly one degree below average and Resolute was off by 2.5 degrees – its coldest July since 1964.

Strong winds cause destruction in Eastern Canada

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Tree falls near school bus in Mississauga, Ontario, 04 May 2018 (Twitter/Peel Regional Police)

A rapidly deepening low pressure system created strong winds gusting to hurricane-strength across Southern Ontario and Southern Quebec on Friday knocking down trees and power lines causing massive outages.

Three people were killed by fallen trees and a school bus filled with children in Mississauga had a near miss.

Toronto Pearson Airport had a maximum wind gust of 119 km/h while Montreal Trudeau Airport recorded 117 km/h – both are the windiest days ever in May.

Winds were also powerful on Saturday in Greater Moncton with a wind gust of 100 km/h – the strongest since January.