2019 shows Canada’s changing climate is bringing more extreme weather
People walk through a flooded part of rue Jacques-Cartier in Gatineau, Que., April 24, 2019. (CBC)
Environment and Climate Change Canada today released the 24th annual edition of Canada’s Top Ten Weather Stories.
Canada’s Top Ten Weather Stories of 2019 clearly show, once again, that more and more Canadians are being impacted by extreme weather, from devastating wildfires and flooding to destructive storms and record droughts. Scientists have discovered that Canada is warming at nearly twice the global rate, with parts of western and northern Canada warming at a rate of three times the global average, and we know that, with warming, extreme weather events will happen more frequently.
This year, Canadians in every region of the country were affected by extreme weather or climate events. They included destructive hurricanes, record flooding, snow storms, extreme cold, record heat, tornadoes, forest fires and poor air quality. These events resulted in hundreds of millions of dollars in property damage and billions of lost dollars for our economy.
Many Canadians experienced brutally cold winters but, by the time summer came around, our North experienced record-breaking heat waves, with Arctic sea ice cover shrinking to its second lowest minimum extent on record. Cold winter conditions were experienced by almost all Canadians early in 2019. In spring, Prairie provinces saw record-breaking droughts, while Ontario, Quebec and New Brunswick were struck by catastrophic flooding.
On the first day of summer, farms in the East were saturated from non-stop rain. In Western Canada, wildfires burned more area than they do on an average year, with Alberta’s fires burning 14 times more land than last year. Over the season, Canadians in the Prairies were hit by double the usual number of severe weather events—facing tornadoes, intense rainfalls, windstorms and hail. When hurricane season came around, Hurricane Dorian, a Category 2, made a direct hit on Atlantic Canada, bringing destruction to homes, businesses, roads and power lines. Mid-fall, a Halloween howler brought flooding rains and powerful wind that took out power for over a million Quebec residents.
Canada’s Top Ten Weather Stories of 2019 are ranked from 1 to 10, according to factors that include the impact they had on Canada and Canadians, the extent of the affected area, economic impacts, and longevity as a top news story.
Environment and Climate Change Canada’s Top Ten Weather Stories of 2019
- Another record-setting Ottawa River flood
- Active hurricane season as predicted
- sNo-good Prairie fall
- A brutal Febrrruary in Canada
- Record heat continues in Arctic
- On the Prairies…Too dry early, too wet later
- Weather witch stole Halloween
- Spring missing in the East
- Saint John River floods again
- Fewer fires, more burning
“Climate change is the defining challenge of our time. Forest fires, floods, droughts, intensifying storms and extreme temperatures are having human and economic consequences for all Canadians. We will continue work with Canadians to invest in adaptation measures and ensure people are safe in the face of increasing extremes. Canada is committed to fighting climate change by setting a target of net-zero emissions by 2050, putting a price on pollution everywhere, protecting and conserving nature, and reducing plastic pollution.”