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Canada's top ten weather stories of 2013

A year in review - 2013 weather stories

Floods were the big newsmakers in Canada in 2013. In some cases it was fast and furious rains that were to blame; in others it was a mix of rainfall and snowmelt. Add an urban landscape with little capacity to absorb the aftermath and you have all the key ingredients for an ominous overflow.
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Top ten weather stories

  1. Alberta's Flood of Floods

    Alberta's Flood of Floods

    Alberta’s super flood of 2013 washed across one-quarter of the province and through the heart of Calgary. It was likely the most disruptive flood in Canadian history, cutting off dozens of communities and prompting the largest evacuation with up to 100,000 Albertans told to leave their homes.
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  2. Toronto's Torrent

    Flooded park

    Two separate storm cells struck Toronto during evening rush hour on July This one-two weather punch delivered more rain in two hours than Toronto usually sees during an entire July. Never before had such a drenching thunderstorm soaked a surface with more cement than grass.
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  3. Bumper Crops in the West, So-So for the Rest

    Field of hay

    In the West, the growing season came pretty darn close to perfect with food producers describing it as incredible, bin-busting and best in a lifetime. Heading eastward, the growing season was more of a rollercoaster – some crop yields were up and some were down.
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  4. The Nightmare during Christmas

    Fallen trees due to ice.

    The weekend before Christmas a vigorous winter storm coated parts of eastern Canada with a thick mixture of snow, ice pellets, rain and freezing rain that plunged large parts of the region into days of cold and darkness. Thick glaze left roads and sidewalks slick and dangerous and knocked down power lines, leaving over 500,000 people without electricity.1
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  5. To Flood or Not to Flood

    Two ducks swimming in paritially frozen water.

    Flood forecasters were predicting yet another major Red River Valley flood, which would be the third in five years. But what experts considered a “sure” flood never came to be after a cold spring eased snowmelt and kept water levels manageable.
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  6. Rebound in the Arctic Ocean and the Great Lakes

    Icebergs in the Arctic

    In the eastern Arctic, the coldest summer in 15 years helped slow sea ice melting in the Canadian Arctic Ocean. For the Great Lakes/St. Lawrence, it was one of the wettest years on record – more than 13 per cent wetter than normal – which helped restore water levels.
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  7. Wicked Winter Weather Wallops the East

    People being blown by snow gusts.

    In February, two weather systems morphed into a blizzard of historic proportions with as much as 60 cm of snow falling along the Atlantic coast. For many in southern Ontario and Quebec, it was a one-day event that packed a punch with strong gusty winds and tons of blowing snow.
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  8. Spring Flooding in Ontario's Cottage Country

    Cottages in water

    Warm, moist mid-April weather led to major flooding north and east of Georgian Bay in Ontario’s cottage country. Copious amounts of warm rain also melted a later-than-normal snowpack. The ensuing melt water and rains funneled quickly into rivers, lakes and streams causing some of the highest and fastest rising water levels in recent memory.
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  9. Prairie Winter Went on Forever

    Hay bales covered with snow in a snow covered field.

    Environment Canada considers the months of December through February as winter. Tell that to the Prairies, where cold, snow and ice went on for seven months from October 2012 to April 2013. As a result, it felt and looked like winter from before Thanksgiving to a month after Easter.
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  10. Stormy Seas and Maritime Tragedy

    Ship navigating through turbulent waters

    In a month of frequent winter storms across eastern North America, none was more tragic than the powerful storm that led to the drowning of five young fishermen off Nova Scotia.
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Runner-up stories for 2013

Regional highlights

Atlantic Canada



Prairie Provinces

British Columbia

The North

1 The Christmas ice storm in Eastern Canada occurred following release of the original version of Canada’s Top Ten Weather Stories for 2013. The revised document ranks this very significant event as Number 4 with other ranked events following in order. The Number 10 event in the original release now appears as a runner-up story.

2013 - A Year in Review - Introduction
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