Canada's Top Ten Weather Stories for 2012

Atlantic - Regional Highlights

Winter’s First Blast

A couple of winter storms hammered Newfoundland during the second week of January with rain, freezing rain, snow and damaging hurricane-force wind gusts. It was winter’s first blast, dumping 38 cm of snow on Deer Lake and featuring powerful winds that knocked out electricity for several hours. A week later, a second storm brought stronger winds – 139 km/h at Englee and 113 km/h at St. John’s. Following the second storm, a deep freeze with wind chills dipping to -42 forced schools to close in Labrador.

Nasty Weather Bomb

A weather bomb with vicious winds and a messy payload of precipitation hit New Brunswick hard on January 27 and 28. Northern regions saw upwards of 30 cm of snow, followed by periods of freezing rain. Almost all provincial highways were snow covered or slick. Schools closed early, flights were delayed and countless community events were cancelled. Along the Fundy coast, snow changed to ice pellets, freezing rain and rain. Moncton got 24 mm of rain and 3 cm of snow. In Nova Scotia, Yarmouth reported 49 mm of rain. Winds in Grand Etang peaked at 156 km/h. The wintry wallop then moved on through the Avalon and Burin peninsulas of Newfoundland and Labrador causing zero visibility at times.

Deadly Maritime Storm

An intense storm system passed over the Maritimes on February 11 and12. Charlottetown received 42 cm of snow made worse by winds of 82 km/h. Restoring hydro service was slow work because of the extensive damage to broken poles and downed wires. Strong winds rafted ice floes along the north coast and onshore. Across the Maritimes, streets became clogged by a heavy cement-like mixture of freezing rain and snow that made driving treacherous. In New Brunswick, three people died on icy roads. The intense storm system tracked north towards Newfoundland and Labrador where heavy rain (70 mm at St. John’s) and hurricane-force wind gusts (148 km/h at Wreckhouse) caused flooding and power outages.

No March Warmth, Just Storm in Newfoundland

As other parts of the country basked in spring-like warmth in March, eastern Newfoundlanders were digging out from a fierce winter blast. The blizzard dumped 25 cm of snow and 9 mm of freezing rain in St. John’s with wind gusts in excess of 100 km/h. Several schools and businesses closed. Blinding whiteouts forced the shut down of government offices, delayed flights and kept buses off the road. In Carbonear, officials re-scheduled a municipal by-election for later in the week.

Stormy Music

In what seems to be turning into an annual tradition weather-wise, thousands of music fans crowded into Moncton’s Magnetic Hill concert site on July 7 and endured rain, mud and deep puddles. Concert-goers there to hear Nickelback donned plastic ponchos and rain boots or sheltered behind the grandstand. The day featured rock ‘n’ roll and rain, with some thunder and lightning mixed in. The same storm turned Fredericton streets into rivers. And at the Oromocto Boat Club, two women were injured after lightning struck a nearby tree.

Soggy September in Halifax

Halifax recorded an incredible 389.6 mm of rain in September – more than triple the normal 103.6 mm, including 11 days with more than 10 mm of rain (normal is 3). Included in the total were 91.9 mm on the 10th (a one-day record for September), 56.7 mm on the 5th and 55.9 mm on the 23rd. Despite the humongous total, half the days were dry which tells you one thing – when it rained it poured! The rainfall total smashed the previous September precipitation record of 308.7 mm in 1996. It also broke a record for the wettest month ever, beating August 1971 when 387.1 mm of rain fell thanks to Hurricane Beth.