The turbulent and extreme weather in Canada
On December 20, British Columbia got a severe windstorm, leaving 25,000 homes without power.While strong wind storms from the Pacific ocean are common this time of the year, their number and magnitude this year is unusual.
Because of an El Nino year, British Columbia is getting adverse weather, while Southern Ontario has a mild winter so far. This is despite some early snow squalls on Southern Ontario.This mild weather is more widespread though. The CBC reports that no major storm fronts are on the way, and hence Christmas is expected to be "green" (as opposed to "white") in many parts of the country. This even affects cities that always got a white Christmas throughout their recorded history, like Thunder Bay Ontario, and Quebec City.
For a change, British Columbia and Ontario reversed their traditional roles, weather wise.
It is now the end of November, and occasional snow is expected in Ontario, with temperatures below zero as well.
However, this is an El Nino year, and this has changed the patterns somewhat.
British Columbia rarely sees snowfall throughout winter, and temperatures are rarely below zero. Ontario is used to snowfall and below zero temperatures.
For British Columbia to see temperatures as low as -25C in the Fraser Valley, and 30 to 50 centimetres of snow is highly unusual.
Meanwhile, in Ontario, the temperature for the last several days have been as high as 11 C during the day, and 9 C in the evening. Again very unusual for Ontario.
No sooner that I wrote about a warm and dry winter expected in Canada because of El Nino that we had our first snow fall in the season.Yesterday, there was a snow squall with significant accumulation on roof tops and patches of grass. Today, there are still patches of snow on the ground, although most of it melted since the ground is not frozen yet.It felt like the dead of winter in January, but it was only October 13. This is very unusual for this time of the year. The CBC called it "historic", and the magnitude of it in the Niagara penninsula was huge. The town of Fort Erie had 30 cm of snow causing it to was shut down, including schools and business. Power was also disrupted for up to 155,000 customers.
Thanks to El Nino, most of Canada is expected to have a warm dry winter.I guess we would not need the Canadians For Global Warming movement that much this year.
Well, the weather here is often variable, as I occasionally write about it.Here is another example:On May 21, there was wet snow in Dundalk, an hour north of here. Some people had to scrape their windshields as if it is January.On May 22, on Victoria Day, it was +5C with really chilly wind as if it is October or November. I had to wear a winter coat on that day.On May 29 and 30, it was +33C and extremely hot and humid.On May 31, severe thunderstorms caused flooding in parts of Waterloo (knee deep water), as well as lightening that struck several areas causing power outages and even a few fires.
The Weather Network had some really freak weather news yesterday (May 21, 2006). In Dundalk, Ontario, about an hour north of Kitchener-Waterloo (see map), considerable amounts of wet snow fell, and some people even had to scrape it off the car's windshield like it is January, not late May.
The CBC web site has background information on many topic. It is often concise and informative.
Here is an article on the various kinds of H2O below zero that we Canadians get here.
Winter in Southern Ontario started out with three consecutive snow storms early in November. This is unusual, since real snow storms do not hit until December.After that initial "wave" of bad weather, things were also unusual, because from 21 December (official day of winter start) till end of January, the weather has been warm. All snow has melted twice this winter, and we never saw the days with -25C that we had over the last few years. The temperature locally did not drop to lower than -15C on just one day. Moreover, it was +8C a few days ago, and even Toronto had +10C.
Southern Ontario has been enjoying a nice few weeks with mild weather. Not only has the snow on the ground thawed like it sometimes does in mid January, but the mild weather has spanned the good part of three or four weeks. What is unusual is that the thaw started on the first day of winter (Dec 21), before which we got three snow storms in a row very early in the season. In Mississauga last Wednesday, there was no snow on the ground to be noticed at all. Toronto is enjoying record mild temperatures.