As the year comes to a close it’s time to take a look back at some of the things that happened this year. Obviously, COVID-19 steals the show but some other things happened this year that shouldn’t be forgotten, even in weather! Environment Canada has gone ahead and listed Canada’s 10 biggest weather stories of 2020, and holy smokes, a lot happened! It’s hard to believe all of these events plus COVID and the US Election could all fit into one calendar year.

10. August long-weekend storms

Coming in at number 10 were the long weekend storms that hit both coasts this August. These storms resulted in heavy rain, tornadoes, hail, and thunder. Not to mention they left 4,000 insurance claims in their wake which came to $55 million in property losses.

9. Fall in Canada

Let’s face it, fall across the country was weird. In the East, the fall was unseasonably warm with 200 daily high-temperature records set between Ontario and Newfoundland. And in the middle of the country freezing rain and pellets fell from the sky. So we’re not exactly sure what that means for our winters.

8. Frigid Spring

It turns out this spring was 80% colder than normal in most of Canada. And while that was certainly annoying and disappointing, it probably helped with isolating. After all, who really wants to go outside when it’s freezing AND there’s a pandemic going on?

7. Tornadoes

Did you know there were 77 tornadoes in Canada in 2020? Neither did we. But the strongest of those tornadoes happened on August 7th in southwestern Manitoba close to Pipestone and Sifton. Sadly these tornadoes caused lots of property damage and also claimed multiple lives.

6. Record hurricane season

canada weather stories

When it comes to hurricanes we normally think of the southern US. But boy oh boy did Canada get some hurricanes this year. In fact, there were 30 named storms, 13 hurricanes, and 6 of those became major hurricanes! The biggest was Teddy which created 15-meter waves offshore, over 100 mm of rain in places, and produced wind gusts over 130 km/h.

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5. Snowmageddon

It sounds like a bad early 2000’s horror film and it definitely wasn’t pleasant. Snowmageddon hammered St. John’s, Newfoundland, and Labrador with the fiercest blizzard of a lifetime. And in St.John’s, an all-time record was broken with 166 cm of snow from January 1-19, 2020.

4. Endless hot summer in the East

This summer certainly was hot on the East coast, in fact, it was one of the warmest summers in 73 years and the warmest since 2012. In Quebec, 140 temperature records were broken and temperatures remained above normal for almost 60 days. And the average temperature during that time was the hottest in 145 years.

3. The Fort McMurray flood

You definitely heard about this insane natural disaster this year. The Fort McMurray flood was the most significant flooding in over a century. It caused the evacuation of 13,000 residents in the area and another 450 Fort Vermilion. The destruction it caused totaled over $562 million dollars.

2. BC’s September skies: all smoke, no fires

vancouver air quality

A lot less fires, but a lot more smoke. That was the case in BC, as imported smoke from wildfires all the way down the west coast of the US led to record-breaking poor air quality. The smoke was blocking the sun, being caught in pressure systems and sent around the province, and didn’t dissipate for what felt like the entire summer.

1. Calgary’s billion-dollar hailer

Coming in at number one was Calgary’s insane hail storm this June. So while hailstorms are pretty normal in Calgary, this one was Canada’s costliest. Not to mention, it was the fourth most expensive insured natural disaster in history with claims totaling around $1.3 billion. Ouch.

Well, folks there you have it, Canada certainly had a year when it came to weather. If you’d like to read all the details of the top 10 you can click here. And we’re going to keep our fingers crossed that 2021 takes it easier on all of us. After all, we could all use a break from the insanity. But with that in mind, 2020 certainly won’t be a year that any of us will forget anytime soon.