Canada’s Top Ten Weather Stories of 2018
December 20, 2018 – Ottawa, Ontario
Our climate is changing, and it’s affecting Canadians across the country
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.