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Canada's Top Ten Weather Stories For 2006

Introduction

Some provinces and territories seem to get more than their fair share of extreme weather events over the course of a year. In the last few years, Alberta has had that honour with a surplus of tough weather that included excessive rains leading to record flooding. In 2003, it was Nova Scotia with hurricanes, weather bombs and spring flooding. This year, British Columbia leads the pack as the #1 target for Mother Nature's wrath starting with a record number of wet days in January and moving along to a November that had it all - rain, rain and more rain, along with strong winds, huge snowfalls and bitter cold. Eventually the parade of high intensity rainstorms last month led to extensive flooding and dozens of landslides, prompting officials to issue a boil-water advisory for millions of people in the Lower Mainland. December hasn't been any better, with a trio of mid-month storms that damaged dozens of homes, closed major highways, toppled thousands of trees including century old trees in Vancouver's Stanley Park and left a quarter of a million people without power. Sandwiched in between was a BC summer where it wasn't too much weather that created problems but too little weather. In August, record dryness in one of the wettest places in Canada created difficulties for residents and tourists. Wildfires numbered 50 per cent more than normal and consumed double the usual area.

On the whole, Canadians had plenty to "weather" in 2006. We endured flash floods, weather bombs, big snowfalls and black ice. Powerful thunderstorms in Ontario and Quebec killed at least four people and left hundreds of thousands of customers without power for days, often more than once. On the Prairies, a record number of hail storms cost millions in property and crop losses and - for the first time in six years - there was a death from a tornado in Canada. While southerners seemed pleased over a balmy, comfortable winter, the unusually mild conditions created economic hardships for those dependent on winter ice roads.

The news wasn't all bad though! This year we were spared devastating hurricanes, severe drought and plagues. There were no summer blackouts, and we experienced less weather-related personal injuries and fatalities. For the tenth year in a row, it was warm - the second warmest on record. The year featured a nation-wide January thaw, and a summer of mostly comfortable weather. It was so pleasantly warm from January to September that many Canadians felt either guilty or concerned that somehow they were soon going to pay for the abundance of delightful weather.

Top Ten Weather Stories for 2006

The following Top Canadian Weather Stories for 2006 are rated from one to ten based on factors that include the degree to which Canada and Canadians were impacted, the extent of the area affected, economic effects and longevity as a top news story:

  1. B.C. Weather Woes Part I: So Much Rain, So Little Water
  2. B.C. Weather Woes Part II: A December to Remember
  3. Big Blows in Central Canada
  4. Goldilocks of Summers
  5. Prairie Hailers and a Deadly Twister
  6. Nation-wide January Heat Wave
  7. Active and Lengthy Wildfire Season
  8. Surprise and Relief - A Quiet Hurricane Season
  9. BC's Long Wet and Long Dry
  10. Election Weather Confounds Pundits

Runner-up Stories for 2006

Regional Weather Highlights