Billion-dollar hail storm tops Environment Canada's top 10 weather stories in 2020
BARRIE, ONT. -- The pandemic may be the top story of 2020, but the weather has also significantly impacted Canadians this year.
Environment Canada announced its 25th annual top 10 weather stories for 2020 on Wednesday.
Senior climatologist Dave Phillips added record highs and lows, tornadoes, flooding and hurricanes to the list, but it was a hailstorm in Calgary that topped them all. The storm caused $1.3 billion in insurable damages.
"The most expensive hailstorm in Canadian history," Phillips said.
The hailstorm on June 13 lasted just moments, but it pounded the area with baseball-sized ice balls propelled in 70km/h winds.
- Calgary's Billion-dollar Hailer
- BC's September Skies: All Smoke, No Fires
- Fort McMurray's Flood of a Century
- Endless Hot Summer in the East
- St. John's "Snowmageddon"
- Record Hurricane Season and Canada Wasn't Spared
- The Year's Most Powerful Tornado
- Frigid Spring Helps Canadians Self-Isolate
- Fall in Canada: Winter in the west and Summer in the east
- August Long-Weekend Storms: East and West
Number two on the list is smoke-filled skies in British Columbia. It was a relatively quiet year for forest fires in B.C., but the province still felt the effects of wildfires in California, Washington and Oregon. The smoke hung over the province for nearly two weeks.
Next on the list was a 100-year flood event in Fort McMurray. Extreme cold followed by a rapid thaw caused $500 million damage when ice jams formed in the MacKenzie River.
"They caused water levels to rise four to six metres above normal, and it flooded much of the downtown," Phillips said.
In Ontario, scorching warm weather made the summer of 2020 one of the five hottest in the past 73 years.
And In St. John's Newfoundland, a blizzard dumped 75 to 95 centimetres of snow in just 18 hours.
"And you know it's bad in St. John's when they declare a state of emergency, and this was the first one for any cause in 36 years," said Phillips. "You know it's tough in St. John's when they call out the army."
2020 was also a record hurricane season with 30 named Atlantic storms. Hurricane Teddy dumped 100 millimetres of rain in Nova Scotia.
This year, the most powerful tornado in Canada had winds of 265 km/h and was rated an EF3. It hit southwestern Manitoba on Aug. 7 and killed two teens when their truck was picked up in the winds and sent crashing to the ground a kilometre away.
In eastern Canada, temperatures were colder than normal in April. The Georgian Bay region even had snow in May.
"For 80 per cent of Canadians, it was a colder than normal spring," Phillips said.
But the warmer than usual fall helped to make up for it. In November, temperatures climbed into the mid 20s in some parts of eastern Canada.
Severe thunderstorms over the August long weekend finishes the list. Active weather in the east and west produced thunderstorms that spawned a total of four tornadoes that weekend.