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5 Dec 2016
Here's the breakdown of my choices for top Canadian weather-related stories of 2016. EC puts out a similar list later in the month which I'll add here when they release it, although they may repeat some of these.
This obviously won't include anything noteworthy which could occur during the rest of December.
Feel free to add your suggestions as well.
10 - February Cold Wave
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The weather on Valentine’s Day was cold enough to freeze even the warmest of hearts in parts of Canada.
Quebec saw windchills reach -46 C, Newfoundland saw 30 centimetres of snowfall in some places and Ontario broke an astounding 17 records for low temperatures in one icy swoop.
Barrie, Ont. reached -33.3 C, which broke a Valentine’s Day record set in 1879 when Sir John A. MacDonald was the prime minister.
A couple hundred kilometres away, Welland, Ont. plummeted to -26.9 C, beating out a the previous record from 1885, the same year that Louis Riel died.
The cold front that passed through the GTA on Friday night made Feb. 13th the coldest Feb. 13 ever at -26, the previous record was -23.2 in 1994. The coldest February day was on Feb. 15, 1943 at -31.1.
The bitterly cold arctic air invaded southern Ontario, bringing extreme wind chills of -30 to -40 and the lowest temperatures of the winter season so far.
9 - November Torch
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In Winnipeg's 144 years of weather records, the city has never had this mild a November, says Environment Canada.
Although temperatures for the last day of the month have yet to be tallied, the federal weather agency says it's confident there has never been a warmer November in Winnipeg since 1872.
The average temperature this month for Manitoba's capital is 3.2 C.
The next warmest November was in 1899 when the average temperature was 1.3 C.
The warmest day this month was Nov. 9 when the city reached a spring-like high of 18.8 C. and the coldest day was -10.6 on Nov. 19.
It's probably no surprise to hear that this November was a wet one for Vancouver. Actually that would be an understatement.
But this might be surprising to hear — it was actually the warmest November ever on record for the city.
The old record to beat for November was 8.9 C set in 1939. This year, in the first 29 days, Vancouver had an average temperature of 9.5 C.
A chillier final November day knocked our monthly average down slightly — but 2016's November was the warmest on record.
8 - Prairie Harvest
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Canada’s wheat and canola crops withstood wintry weather that stalled the autumn harvest, and production topped last year’s output, according to Reuters’ industry survey of 13 analysts and traders.
Snow blanketed crops in Alberta and Saskatchewan in October, stopping farmers for weeks from finishing the harvest. An unusual November warm spell allowed them a last chance to bring in most of the remaining crop.
“Western Canadian farmers are persistent and kept at it until most of the grain was in the bin,” said Lawrence Klusa, a market adviser with Agri-Trend. “I would estimate that we harvested more western Canadian acres in November this year than ever before.”
While heavy rains and an early snowfall made this year’s harvest far from being one to celebrate, the situation wasn’t nearly as bad as in some neighbouring Alberta counties.
The CBC News is reporting that four counties in western Alberta have declared states of agricultural disaster. Yellowhead and Parkland counties west of Edmonton, each declared states of agricultural disaster yesterday, after Brazeau and Lac Ste. Anne counties declared a disaster at the beginning of the month. In Brazeau county near Drayton Valley, County Reeve Bart Guyon said, “around 75 per cent that hasn’t been harvested.”
At the end of October, the Farm Credit Corporation said that it will consider deferrals for loan principal payments to help farmers across the Prairies who are facing financial hardship because of wet weather before and during this year’s harvest.
The agricultural lender says rain in the last half of the growing season and snow early in October caused significant harvesting delays in many areas and reduced crop quality.
7 - Ottawa Snowfall Record
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Tuesday, February 16, 2016
Ottawa was pelted by a record-setting snowfall as a winter storm hit much of central and eastern Canada following weeks of above-normal temperatures.
Measurements taken at Ottawa’s airport showed that the capital was blanketed by 51 centimetres of snow on Tuesday, the highest one-day total for the region. Those measurements are considered the official record.
The previous record of 45.7 cm was set on Feb. 8, 1895.
The blizzard slowed traffic to a crawl, as OC Transpo buses got stuck in the thick snow and Ottawa police reported more than 100 collisions – most of them minor – throughout the day.
6 - Cold & Snowy April
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After a mild winter where temperatures in Ontario more typical of April often appeared, a large arctic high-pressure area sent temperatures plummeting to values more typical of mid-winter on April 5.
As a result of unseasonable cold, new record low minimums were set in a number of localities across Southern and Northeastern Ontario.
“We used up some of our spring-like weather too early, and now we’re paying for it,” Environment Canada Meteorologist Geoff Coulson said.
Coulson added that cold temperatures can be blamed on a combination of a weakening El Niño and polar vortex coming down south.
Monday, April 11, 2016 - We are less than two weeks in and for the first time on record, April has been the snowiest month of the cold weather season at Toronto's Pearson Airport.
As of Sunday, the city has picked up 20.3 cm of snow this month which is more than December and January combined. Though snowy Aprils are not uncommon in Toronto, it has been quite a while since forecasters have seen numbers like this. The last time the city saw more snow in April was in 1979, when 25.8 cm fell during the month.
In addition, Toronto set a record low for the day, dipping down to a brisk minus 9C. It was the lowest temperature recorded in the metropolis since 1985 when it was minus 7.2C, according to Environment Canada.
"While we have had snowier Aprils, there was always a winter month that brought more snow than April. So, while April 2016 has been much snowier than normal, this record was also made possible by the lack of snow during the true winter season," says The Weather Network's Dr. Doug Gillham.
5 - Alberta's Stormy Summer
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In a country known for episodes of extreme weather, even Environment Canada's senior climatologist is shaking his head over the flurry of bad weather hitting the Prairies this year — most notably in Alberta.
David Phillips, who has been on the job for five decades, said the 2016 weather season isn't likely to be one that especially Albertans and others on the Prairie will look back on fondly.
He said the number of tornadoes, winds, hail, thunderstorms and humidity are up in all three Prairie provinces but nobody has had it worse than those living in northern and southern Alberta.
July was particularly onerous, especially in Calgary where 206 millimetres of rain fell.
"It's the wettest July in 89 years — it was back in 1927 but the other thing that really stood out for me was the number of thunderstorms and number of wet days," he said.
"Calgary had 19 thunderstorms and they normally would see eight of those, and they had 43 hours with thunderstorms. It was a rock and rolling kind of month."
Phillips said there were 18 thunderstorms in Edmonton but the overall precipitation of 103 millimetres was only slightly above average.
4 - Hurricane Matthew
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Thousands suffered power outages and some schools in Nova Scotia were closed after torrential rain and strong winds, the remnants of Hurricane Matthew, blasted the region on Thanksgiving Monday.
Some parts of northern Nova Scotia, particularly Cape Breton, received more than 200 millimetres of rain, causing flooding that swept manhole covers out of place.
Photos posted on social media showed downed trees and power lines as well as flooded roads and homes.
Atlantic Canada’s blast of wet weather was fuelled by Hurricane Matthew, which left a trail of destruction in the Caribbean and the United States over the past week. Hurricane Matthew killed more than 500 people in Haiti and at least 23 in the United States, nearly half of them in North Carolina.
3 - Drought Plagues Ontario
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Ontario has a problem: It has barely rained for three months.
Much of the province — as far east as Ottawa, southwest to Windsor and north to Sudbury and North Bay — has laboured through an aberrantly dry spring and summer, marked by rainfall 100 mm below normal in some areas from April to June.
And there is no clear end in sight, according to Trevor Hadwen, one of the department’s agroclimate specialists.
“These conditions occur once every 10 years. They’re considered extremely low precipitation for this time period,” Hadwen said. “I don’t see a whole lot of major relief anytime soon.”
Since April 1, the start of the agricultural growing season, rainfall deficits in some southwestern communities from London to Windsor have exceeded 50 mm, according to data tracked by Environment Canada. Toronto rain was logged at 120 mm from April through June — 96 mm below normal, and 182 mm less than the same period last year.
The situation is starker in Eastern Ontario. Only 136 mm of rain fell in Ottawa from April to June, 100 mm lower than usual, and this May was the city’s driest since 1959. Some areas are enduring record dryness, including Kingston and parts of rural Ottawa, based on Agriculture Canada’s metrics.
“It’s basically between 25-50 per cent below normal (rainfall) across most of southern Ontario, and higher in some areas,” said Peter Kimbell, a meteorologist with Environment Canada. “It’s been a lot wetter the last few years.”
2 - Super El Nino
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In terms of sea surface temperature anomalies in the Equatorial Pacific, the great El Niño of 2015-16 equalled the El Niño episode registered in 1997-1998. These two episodes are the strongest El Niño events observed in the recent decades. However, when measuring additional parameters, such as shifts in atmospheric deep convection and subsurface ocean temperatures, the 2015-16 event is considered to be weaker than the great El Niño of 1997-98. These two parameters are regarded as critical for El Niño’s impact on remote regions such as Canada or the United States. Yet, the 2015-16 boreal winter had most of the characteristics of a typical El Niño winter, based on El Niño historical events.
Over Canada, winter 2015-16 (Dec-Jan-Feb) was one to five degree Celsius warmer than normal across all provinces with especially unseasonal warmth in Quebec, the central Prairies, and Yukon. Subsequently, the 2016 spring remained warmer than normal in the western Canada and the Prairies, while an inflow of cold Arctic air led to colder than normal conditions over Eastern and Northeastern Canada.
The year 2015 was the warmest year recorded since sufficiently accurate observations became available in the late 1800s, according to several meteorological agencies. This was due to the combined influences of the 2015-16 El Niño and the overall warming trend of the Earth’s climate. Furthermore, the previous temperature record established in 2014 was broken by the highest margin recorded to date.
1 - Fort McMurray Wildfire
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On May 1, 2016, a wildfire began southwest of Fort McMurray, Alberta, Canada. On May 3, it swept through the community, destroying approximately 2,400 homes and buildings and forcing the largest wildfire evacuation in Albertan history. It continued to spread across northern Alberta and into Saskatchewan, consuming forested areas and impacting Athabasca oil sands operations. The fire spread across approximately 590,000 hectares (1,500,000 acres) before it was declared to be under control on July 5, 2016. It is the costliest disaster in Canadian history.
During the start of the fire, an unusually hot, dry air mass was in place over Northern Alberta, which brought record-setting temperatures to Fort McMurray. On May 3, the temperature climbed to 32.8 °C (91 °F), accompanied by relative humidity as low as 12%. The situation intensified on May 4 when temperatures reached 31.9 °C (89 °F) and winds gusted to 72 km/h (45 mph). This significantly contributed to the fire's rapid growth. The winter preceding the fires was drier than usual, leaving a paltry snowpack, which melted quickly. Combined with the high temperatures, this created a "perfect storm" of conditions for an explosive wildfire.
Daniel Thompson, a fire research scientist with Natural Resources Canada in Edmonton, told Bloomberg News that the natural El Niño cycle led to a dry fall and winter season along with a warm spring. The weather condition affects fires in a number of regions including Indonesia and northwest United States and Canada. Similar events occurred in 1997–1998. Fire is a natural and necessary component of boreal forest ecosystems.
4 Dec 2016
Taking TOweather's suggestion to have a separate topic for this one rather than wrapping it into the other storm thread which I think might be a bit more confusing.
06z 4km NAM @ hour 12 - valid Sunday 1 PM EST:
nam4km_ref_frzn_us_12.png ( 223.44K ) Number of downloads: 2
Hour 18 - Sunday 7 PM EST:
nam4km_ref_frzn_neus_18.png ( 177.55K ) Number of downloads: 0
Hour 24 - Monday 1 AM EST:
nam4km_ref_frzn_neus_24.png ( 184.68K ) Number of downloads: 0
Hour 30 - Monday 7 AM EST:
nam4km_ref_frzn_neus_30.png ( 186.17K ) Number of downloads: 0
Hour 36 - Monday 1 PM EST:
nam4km_ref_frzn_neus_36.png ( 179.15K ) Number of downloads: 0
Hour 42 - Monday 7 PM EST:
nam4km_ref_frzn_neus_38.png ( 180.1K ) Number of downloads: 0
Hour 48 - Tuesday 1 AM EST:
nam4km_ref_frzn_neus_40.png ( 182.64K ) Number of downloads: 0
Total snowfall @ hour 48:
nam4km_asnow_neus_17.png ( 140.82K ) Number of downloads: 7
30 Nov 2016
12z GFS @ hour 168:
gfs_mslp_pcpn_frzn_us_28.png ( 181.78K ) Number of downloads: 2
gfs_mslp_pcpn_frzn_us_32.png ( 222.98K ) Number of downloads: 0
gfs_mslp_pcpn_frzn_us_36.png ( 204.67K ) Number of downloads: 1
gfs_mslp_pcpn_frzn_secan_36.png ( 166.33K ) Number of downloads: 2
gfs_mslp_pcpn_frzn_secan_40.png ( 145.78K ) Number of downloads: 0
24 Nov 2016
WPC surface forecast for day 4:
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Discussion - http://www.wpc.ncep.noaa.gov/html/discuss.shtml
MODELS/ENSEMBLES ARE STILL SHOWING A FAIR AMOUNT OF DIFFICULTY IN
RESOLVING THE SPECIFICS OF MULTIPLE PIECES OF ENERGY ALOFT THAT
WILL EMERGE INTO THE PLAINS AND AFFECT IMPORTANT SFC DETAILS.
THERE IS DECENT AGREEMENT ON THE CLOSING OF LEADING ENERGY INTO A
NRN PLAINS CLOSED LOW BY DAY 4 MON BUT WITH PERSISTENT DIFFS ON
STRENGTH/TIMING OF THE SFC LOW.
OVER THE CNTRL-ERN STATES... CONFIDENCE REMAINS FAIRLY HIGH IN ONE
OR MORE EPISODES OF HVY RNFL WITHIN AN AREA FROM THE ERN/SERN
PLAINS THROUGH THE LOWER HALF OF THE MS VLY INTO THE
SOUTHEAST/APLCHNS GIVEN A PERIOD OF ENHANCED GULF INFLOW AND
ENERGY ALOFT. HOWEVER UNCERTAINTY IN SPECIFICS SFC/ALOFT FROM
ABOUT MON ONWARD ARE MAKING IT DIFFICULT TO PINPOINT THE MOST
FAVORED TIMING AND LOCATION OF HIGHEST TOTALS WITHIN THIS BROAD
AREA. CONSULT SPC OUTLOOKS FOR LATEST INFO REGARDING STRONG TO
SEVERE CONVECTION POTENTIAL... CURRENTLY INDICATED OVER SERN TX
INTO LA. SOME COLD SECTOR SNOWFALL IS PSBL OVER THE NRN TIER
THOUGH COVERAGE BEHIND THE INITIAL NRN PLAINS LOW MAY BE FAIRLY
NARROW. DEPENDING ON STRENGTH OF SFC DEVELOPMENT THERE MAY BE ONE
OR MORE PERIODS OF STRONG WINDS OVER THE ERN 2/3 OF THE LOWER 48.
18 Nov 2016
WPC surface forecast for day 5:
9lhwbg_conus.gif ( 30.46K ) Number of downloads: 0
9mhwbg_conus.gif ( 30.52K ) Number of downloads: 0
9nhwbg_conus.gif ( 30.23K ) Number of downloads: 0
A SNOWY ADVANCE ACROSS THE S-CENTRAL ROCKIES TO CENTRAL US TUE ALONG WITH
AN INCREASING RETURN OF GULF OF MEX MOISTURE AND INSTABILITY
SHOULD LEAD TO WIDESPREAD LEAD AND LOW CYCLOGENESIS WRAPPED
PCPN. A DEEPENED LOW TRACK POTENTIAL TO THE GREAT LAKES AND
MIDWEST MAY AGAIN OFFER A HEAVY SNOW THREAT WITH A TRAILING FRONT
FOCUSING MOISTURE/CONVECTION AND COOLING WITH PASSAGE MIDWEEK AND
ACROSS THE ERN US INTO THU/NEXT FRI ALONG WITH A RENEWED NERN
US/GREAT LAKE SNOW/ICE THREAT.
Today, 04:06 PM
3 Dec 2016 - 14:14
30 Nov 2016 - 22:19
19 Nov 2016 - 6:46
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