Our climate is changing, and it's affecting Canadians across the country
OTTAWA, Dec. 20, 2018 /CNW/ - Environment and Climate Change Canada has released the 23rd edition of Canada's Top Ten Weather Stories of 2018—a list of the top ten extreme weather events having occurred across the country in 2018.
This year featured extreme and impactful weather events that caused costly damage across the country. From above normal temperatures during every season, historic river flooding, sea-ice variations, forest fires, tornadoes, heat waves, and cold snaps, Canadians felt the impacts of Canada's changing climate.
The health of many Canadians was affected during the summer months. Smoke caused by forest fires in our western provinces lingered in our skies. With so many forest fires ablaze, fuelled by hot weather and drought, Western Canada dealt with persistent poor air quality and damage to their communities. Canadians also saw an unusually long stretch of hot weather causing health issues for many, especially in the province of Quebec, where 93 deaths were attributed to the heat.
Farmers in the Prairies were hit with many challenges that affected both crops and livestock. Spring arrived late. Frost conditions lasted until mid-May. A drought soon followed, from April to August, with only 60 per cent of the average rainfall. In July and August, sweltering heat shrivelled crops. Temperatures in September did not provide relief, with a cold front coming from Yukon and the Northwest Territories. Snow fell instead of rain, downgrading the quality of crops once more and hampering harvesting efforts. Some farmers were forced to sell livestock prematurely because of the rising cost of feed.
Many communities in Canada experienced extreme weather and unusual conditions. Extreme winds in southwestern Ontario and the Greater Toronto area and tornadoes in the Ottawa-Gatineau region destroyed homes, caused power outages, and generated damage costing Canadians, companies, and all levels of government billions of dollars. Widespread spring flooding in British Columbia threatened communities across the south, especially along the Okanagan, Kettle, and Fraser Rivers. In Fredericton, New Brunswick, the slow-rising Saint John River's sudden swelling became the province's largest, most impactful flood.
By analyzing all weather events, Environment and Climate Change Canada is collecting more information to support the science on how our climate is changing.
Canada's Top Ten Weather Stories of 2018 are ranked from one to ten based on factors that include the impact they had on Canada and Canadians, the extent of the affected area, economic effects, and longevity as a top news story.
Environment and Climate Change Canada's Top Ten Weather Stories of 2018
- Record wildfires and smoky skies
- Canada affected by global summer heat wave
- Hot and dry to snow-filled skies blunt the Prairie harvest
- Powerful May winds cost $1 billion
- Ottawa-Gatineau tornadoes on summer's last day
- Spring flooding throughout southern British Columbia
- Flash flooding of the Saint John River
- Toronto's August deluge
- Record cold start to a long winter
- A cruel, cold, and stormy April
"The science is clear: Climate change is real, and Canadians experience its impacts through more frequent and intense severe weather events. Forest fires, floods, and extreme heat are having a human and economic cost for people across the country. With the hard work of our climatologists and other scientists, we can better protect our health, our homes, and our communities and drive momentum to tackle climate change."
– Catherine McKenna, Minister of Environment and Climate Change
SOURCE Environment and Climate Change Canada
For further information: Caroline Thériault, Acting Director of Communications, Office of the Minister of Environment and Climate Change, 613-462-5473, [email protected]; Media Relations, Environment and Climate Change Canada, 819-938-3338 or 1-844-836-7799 (toll-free), [email protected]