Tag Archive | Environment Canada

Apocalyptic storm unleashes complete mayhem in British Columbia, Canada

Severe Thunderstorm Warning Alert

Crews in Vancouver worked through the night in order to restore power to hundreds of thousands of customers left without, after a powerful windstorm whipped through Lower Mainland, B.C. on Saturday.
Up to 500,000 customers were left in the dark as gale force winds toppled trees and knocked down hydro lines across the region. As of Sunday 10 a.m. PDT, crews had managed to whittle that number down to approximately 180,000.
Most outages were reported across the Greater Vancouver Area, where wind gusted to more than 90 kilometres per hour. 
BC Hydro reported that they are hoping to have electricity restored to most areas by Monday. Additional personnel have been called in to relief crew members that worked long hours through the overnight to get a handle on the number of outages.
Officials urged people to stay indoors and off the roads as damaging gusts and heavy rain raked Vancouver Island and the South Coast, in the most damaging storm the area has seen since 2006.
At least one person was seriously injured during the height of Saturday’s storm. A woman in Surrey is facing life-threatening injuries after she was struck by a falling tree while out walking with her daughter.
South of the border, the same system took a deadly turn in the Pacific Northwest. At least two people were killed by falling trees in Washington state on Saturday. One man was driving when a tree came crashing down on top of his car. A 10-year-old girl was playing outside at a friend’s house when she was struck and killed by a fallen tree branch.
Environment Canada issued wind warnings for Metro Vancouver and the surrounding areas early Saturday afternoon, with gusts forecast to reach 90 km/h.
Soon after, Stanley Park was closed to the public. The east side of the park has since been reopened as crews work to clear the remaining trees and debris caused by the storm.
A number of ferry crossings were cancelled or delayed due to rough seas, and the Vancouver SkyTrain was temporarily delayed after a tree fell across the tracks, smashing the front of an oncoming train.
According to our forecasters, a summer’s worth of drought has made trees in the area vulnerable to the force of Saturday’s ‘fall-like’ storm.
“Many trees have become potentially stressed under severe drought conditions and their weak root systems were ill-prepared to deal with this ‘fall-like’ storm,” explains Weather Network meteorologist Tyler Hamilton. “The trees still have full canopies and deciduous trees have all their leaves.. This can act like a sail in the strong, gusty winds and the extra weight of wet leaves often proves too much for brittle branches to handle.”
Wind storms of this nature are more commonly associated with the fall season. “Subsequent storms after the first fall storm seem to cause less damage, as nature does some natural pruning of its own,” Hamilton says.
Courtesy of theweathernetwork.com

Severe heatwave breaks 64 temperature records in British Columbia, Canada

Heatwave Alert

This past weekend’s heat wave in B.C. is one for the history books
Environment Canada says 64 temperature records for communities across the province have been broken. 
The highest temperature was 40.6 C, recorded in Warfield, a village outside Trail in West Kootenay, on Saturday.
Osoyoos, near the U.S. border about 400 kilometres east of Vancouver, came close — hitting 40.4 C.
Environment Canada had issued a special weather statement for the weekend, warning of high temperatures, even along the coast in Metro Vancouver.
Hot weather not over
Temperatures are expected to climb again on Canada Day and through next weekend, and the long-range forecast has B.C. in for a long, hot summer.
It has already been a remarkably dry year in much of B.C.
Snowpack was “extremely low” in April, when it normally reaches its peak, and the past May was the driest on record for most of the province.
That has led to an early start to the wildfire season, and concerns about drought conditions on Vancouver Island and Haida Gwaii.
The heat is being driven by a high-pressure system sitting off the B.C. coast, and a warmer-than-normal sea surface temperature, according to CBC meteorologist Johanna Wagstaffe.
Courtesy of cbc.ca

Severe hailstorm Rips Through South Central Manitoba, Canada

Storm Rips Through South Central Manitoba
Vi Desjarlais took these photos of hail between St. Claude and Roseisle/Global News
Tornado warnings were issued for parts of the province Saturday.
Radar indicated a potential tornado moved southeast at 40 km/h near Roseisle, Rosebank, and Miami, Manitoba.
RM of Dufferin Reeve George Gray tells 680 CJOB he didn’t see the reported tornado, but he spoke to some people who did.
“I talked to two residents of the area that did confirm they spotted a funnel cloud. How large and the scope of it, I really don’t know,” says Gray.
Gray says there was devastating damage, especially to farmers fields.
“It looks like someone mowed the fields. It’s devastating at the moment. There’s also a lot of roof and side wall damage to homes,” says Gray.
Tennis ball sized hail was also reported near Roseisle.
All the warnings ended just after 3:30 p.m.
Environment Canada has yet to confirm if a tornado did touch down near Roseisle.
Courtesy of cjob.com

Major heatwave set to strike Southern British Columbia, Canada

Heatwave Warning

Environment Canada has issued a special weather statement for Southern B.C. this weekend – warning of a major heatwave across the region.
An exceptionally strong ridge of high pressure will build over Western Canada this Friday and Saturday allowing hot air to move over the southern part of the province.
Residents in the Southern Interior will see temperatures of almost 40 degrees, while those in the South Coast will see temperatures in the low thirties.
The highest temperatures are expected Saturday afternoon and Sunday afternoon.
Global BC meteorologist Yvonne Schalle says temperature records are expected to be broken, especially in the interior.
A weak weather disturbance moving onshore Sunday evening will bring the chance of thunderstorms over the South Coast. A slight cooling trend will begin Monday, however Environment Canada says the unseasonably hot weather will persist through Canada day.
Courtesy of globalnews.ca

State of emergency declared after flash flood tears through ‘resilient’ Cache Creek, Canada

State Of Emergency

Cache Creek Mayor John Ranta has declared a local state of emergency after a flash flood tore through town, driving dozens from their homes.
“It was just unbelievable how fast it happened,” Ranta told The Province Sunday, a day after an intense burst of afternoon rainfall turned the Thompson Country community’s streets into a raging river. “But the people of Cache Creek are resilient, and we’ll get through this.”
Ranta met with emergency officials Sunday afternoon to decide how best to help out the dozens of displaced residents, as the raging Bonaparte River moved houses and mobile homes off their foundation and swept cars and garages away.
An intense stationary low brought the deluge to Cache Creek, a rock slide near Hell’s Gate that closed Highway 1, a hailstorm to Merritt and put significant portions of the province Sunday under severe thunderstorm watch.
Ranta said he declared a state of emergency Sunday afternoon after meeting with emergency officials, with nearly 100 residents already registered at the local emergency operations centre.
Ranta is grateful his home survived.
“The street in front of my home was a river, and there was a creek behind my house,” he said, acknowledging he was one of the lucky ones. “I’m in a lot better shape than a lot of people,” he said.
At one point Saturday evening, both Highways 1 and 97 had to be closed in both directions in the flood-ravaged community.
Environment Canada meteorologist David Jones said that while lightning could potentially set off fires, the storm is laden with moisture.
“It would be worse if it was a dry thunderstorm, but there’s a lot of moisture associated with these thunderstorms,” said Jones, marvelling at the power such strong storms pack.
“Most people think the world has just ended, or is about to end.”
In the Central Interior, the wet weather has helped firefighters largely contain a wildfire raging mostly out of control over the past two weeks.
Dry conditions after a relatively rain-free spring have created the potential for devastating forest fires.
But with the rainfall, fire teams have managed to bring the Little Bobtail Lake fire southwest of Prince George about 80 per cent under control, although about 80 people remain forced from their homes.
About 220 fire personnel are still on the scene.
The blaze has not grown since it spiked by more than 40 per cent a week ago, spreading from 170 square kilometres to 250 square kilometres.
Environment Canada’s forecast for Prince George calls for thunderstorms Monday afternoon along with sunshine, with Wednesday and Thursday the best bet for rainfall — but only a 30-per-cent chance of showers.
Jones said those planning to venture out might think twice — or at least plan ahead on where to seek shelter if lightning and thunder occur.
“You really need to make a plan,” Jones said as severe thunderstorm warnings and watches were announced for much of B.C. on a turbulent Sunday afternoon. “If you see the sky darken and the wind start to blow very strongly, you need to find shelter.”
Dramatic video footage from Cache Creek showed streets turning into rivers. Debris torrents clogged culverts, and the resulting flooding swamped the local firehall, as well as a number of homes.
The storm also brought hail to the Coquihalla on the weekend, forcing drivers to slow down as icy pellets turned roadways slippery and hazardous. 
The potential for profoundly heavy deluges will continue through most of Monday before the storm is expected to move on to Washington state, said Jones.
“There’s lots of water in those clouds, and they dump a lot of rain remarkably quickly.” 
While Saturday and Sunday may have been the storm’s most powerful days, Monday’s forecast calls for afternoon and early evening thunderstorms in Prince George, Vanderhoof, and the Bulkley Valley area, including Smithers and Burns Lake.
Courtesy of theprovince.com

Massive wildfire has burnt over 8,000 hectares so far in Little Bobtail Lake, Canada

Wild Fire Alert

The Little Bobtail Lake fire has grown significantly in the last day burning nearly 8,000 hectares by Wednesday afternoon.
The wildfire — roughly 70 kilometres southwest of Prince George, B.C. — has already forced the evacuation of 80 people earlier this week, and close to 700 homes are in danger of being consumed if the fire spreads.
There are 120 firefighters, five helicopters and 10 pieces of heavy equipment responding to the incident today.
B.C. Wildfire Management Branch says the fire is showing unpredictable behaviour and is showing no signs of letting up.
Melissa Klassen, a spokeswoman for the Prince George Fire Centre, said the amount of wood in the region left dry and damaged by beetle kill is also fuelling the fire. 
She does not expect the conditions to improve over the next few days. 
“What’s challenging fire suppression efforts is this is the second year in a row that we’ve had higher than normal drought conditions in this region which is making this fire gain momentum as it burns through these very dense forest fuel,” she said.”We’re going to see aggressive fire behaviour most likely continue on this fire.”
Klassen said airtankers have been dropping retardant to keep the fire from spreading, but the fire is blowing right past those retardant lines.
“It’ll be something that we are monitoring and observing over the next couple days and sort of rearranging our tactics as far as how to best approach this fire.”
Klassen says high temperatures and low humidity are part of the problem, and Environment Canada predicts the hot, dry conditions will continue into next week.
Evacuation orders were issued for properties near Little Bobtail Lake and Naltesby Lake (Bobtail Lake) by the Regional District of Bulkley-Nechako, and for Norman Lake by the Regional District of Fraser-Fort George.
An evacuation alert was also issued for other nearby areas on Monday morning, meaning residents should be prepared to leave at a moments notice if the fire spreads.
Courtesy of cbc.ca

Hurricane-force gusts and up to 50 cm of snow to strike Atlantic Canada

Severe Blizzard Warning

The Maritimes and Newfoundland had to contend with blizzard conditions, loads of snow and strong winds, with some areas in PEI projected to receive up to 40 cm of snow.
The Weather Network said “snow totals are expected to hover between 20 to 25 cms in Halifax, but other parts of the Maritimes could see localized amounts approaching 50 centimetres by the time the system moves out.”
And Environment Canada issued blizzard warnings for parts of New Brunswick and Nova Scotia.
“Blizzard conditions with gusty winds and visibility frequently near zero in snow and blowing snow are expected or occurring,” said Environment Canada in a statement. “An intensifying low pressure system passing just south of Nova Scotia brings snow over the region today. Strengthening northeasterly winds gusting up to 80 km/h will result in blizzard conditions.”
If you’re flying in and out of the region, you’re advised to call your airline before heading to the airport.
Courtesy of Toronto Sun

Hundreds of dead mackerel found in a lake in Nova Scotia, Canada

TC Media – Cape Breton Post – Dozens of dead mackerel were visible from the home of Annette Coffin, Monday morning. A week ago hundreds could be seen.The discovery of hundreds of dead mackerel in the Bras d’Or Lake has area residents wondering what caused the fish to die.

Annette Coffin, a resident of Ben Eoin, first discovered dead fish in the water in front of her home a week ago.

“Last Monday morning, there were dead fish everywhere, on the shore and in the water,” she said. “They were sort of under the ice — there was a light coating of ice, and there were tons of them on the beach, and when I came out and had a look they were everywhere.”

Coffin said there were at least 200 dead mackerel visible from her waterfront home, which is located across from Ski Ben Eoin. On Monday, a week after Coffin made the initial discovery, there were still dozens of dead mackerel in the water near the shore, with seagulls and other birds circling the area as they have been for days.

Having just become a year-round resident of the area in the last few years, Coffin checked with some of her neighbours who also spotted lots of dead mackerel in the waters in front of their homes.

Coffin, who has since heard reports that the dead mackerel stretch at least as far as Big Pond, said everyone was surprised by the discovery.

“It was new to me but it was also new to some of the longtime neighbours,” she said. “We have some people who think that with the change in the weather — the mild November — that they didn’t make it to the ocean and that they were without oxygen and just basically froze to death when the cold weather hit. That’s one theory.”

Coffin said she contacted various fisheries officials to report the situation.

“I’m pretty sure they died of natural causes but we would like to be sure because this is a protected waterway,” she said.

Coffin said it’s her understanding an official came to the site last week and took a couple of the dead fish and water samples for testing.

An official with the federal Department of Fisheries and Oceans directed the Cape Breton Post to Environment Canada. No one from Environment Canada responded to calls for comment Monday.

According to the Nova Scotia Department of Fisheries and Aquaculture website, Atlantic mackerel are found in open ocean during the winter months where water temperatures are at or above 7 C, with the optimum temperature range for adults being from 9 C to 12 C. In the spring, as the water warms, schools of mackerel begin their migration to inshore waters, like the Bras d’Or Lake.

Courtesy of Truro Daily

Major winter storm strikes Newfoundland, Canada

Winter Storm Warning

School closures and flight cancellations are piling up in eastern Newfoundland as a major winter storm has moved in from the Grand Banks.
Environment Canada says up to 40 centimetres of snow will be whipped up by winds gusting across the Avalon Peninsula at 110 kilometres per hour.
Provincial government offices are closed, mail delivery has been suspended and municipal transit buses have been pulled from the roads in St. John’s.
Blowing snow and ice pellets are also in the forecast.
About 20 centimetres of snow is expected in Clarenville and Marystown, with lesser amounts falling across the western half of the island.
Meanwhile, a storm on Friday is expected to dump about 15 centres of snow on Cape Breton and Nova Scotia’s eastern mainland, but there are no watches or warnings in effect for the rest of the province, P-E-I or New Brunswick.
However, forecasters are warning that a big storm is expected to sweep across the region on Sunday.
In central Newfoundland, residents of a small town are worried about flooding as ice jams on the Exploits River have pushed water levels to the highest they’ve been since 2003.
The town of Badger remains on alert as conditions can change quickly.
Resident Wilmore Eddy has been monitoring the Exploits for more than two decades.
As the manager of Exploits Generation, a Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro facility, he says there’s not much that can be done to fix the problem.
In 2003, the town suffered major damage when the river backed up, leaving behind huge chunks of ice.
WEA Atlantic Storm 201502_5.jpg
Snowplow operators try to keep ahead of the snow along a deserted Water Street in downtown St. John’s on Thursday during the first major snowstorm of the season. It is the first of three systems expected to hit St. John’s in the next four days.   Photograph By PAUL DALY, The Canadian Press
Courtesy of Times Colonist

Major snow alert for Canada

Snow Alert

Prepare your shovelling back as there is a lot more snow to come, according to an Environment Canada special weather statement issued early Saturday morning.
About 10 to 15 centimetres of snow is forecast to fall in the Ottawa region and across the area extending from Algonquin Park to Cornwall by Sunday evening, the meteorologist service said at 5 a.m.
The temperature should reach -13 C in Ottawa Saturday, with an overnight low of -18 C.
This anticipated snowfall falls just below the criteria for a weather warning, which is 15 cm of snow falling in 12 hours.
The precipitation comes as a sharp Arctic front stalled over extreme Southwestern Ontario, creating the conditions for “complicated” active winter weather conditions and heavy snow fall over most of the Golden Horseshoe, Central and Eastern Ontario, the alert said.
Southwestern Ontario may also experience freezing rain from Saturday evening to Sunday morning, then turning back into snow. Ice pellets are expected to fall in the area from Grey Bruce to Barrie, and southeast across Toronto and Hamilton in to Niagara.
Meteorologists were unsure where the heaviest snow and freezing precipitation shall fall, but updated alerts will be issued throughout the weekend on the Environment Canada website. All are encouraged to monitor local weather reports.
Driving conditions are expected to be treacherous throughout the larger area and motorists are encouraged to prepare for hazardous conditions.
Courtesy of Ottawa Citizen News