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Environment Canada's top ten weather stories

Igor hammered roads and bridges
Igor hammered roads and bridges

Beverley Ann D'Cruz, staff writer

December 31, 2010 — From Hurricane Igor to flooding and forest fires, here's what made Environment Canada's top weather story list for 2010.

B.C. forest fires affected air quality
B.C. forest fires affected air quality

As 2010 draws to a close, it's time to recap the best weather stories we have seen across the country.

On Thursday, David Phillips, Environment Canada's senior climatologist, unveiled his top ten list of weather stories that made an impact. He managed to narrow it down from a list of 97 - the biggest number of stories he has had to sort through since the list started 15 years ago.

So here are Environment Canada's top weather stories:

#10 -- Canada's Most Expensive Hailstorm. An unusual July hailstorm in Calgary brought base-ball sized hail that battered trees and damaged 90,000 hectares of cropland in just 30-minutes. The price of the damage: approximately $18.5 million.

#9 -- Freak Canada-U.S. Over-Land “Weather Bomb”. This fall storm's strength was actually similar to a Category 3 hurricane. According to Mr. Phillips it was the second most intense land storm in North American history.

#8 -- El Niño Cancels Winter. Winter activities were hampered as this year was the warmest and driest winter in the country's history. All fingers pointed to the typical El Niño characteristics for this effect.

#7 -- British Columbia Forest Fires... Costly and Smoky. The 2010 forest fire season was the province's worst ever and burnt a $230-million hole in their pocket. Apart from thousands of hectares damaged, the smoke also posed a massive problem for B.C. and Saskatchewan as well.

Flooding in the Prairies devastated farmers
Flooding in the Prairies devastated farmers

#6 -- Saskatchewan’s Summer of Storms. From April to September, the province was drenched with continual rainfall that ended their decade-long drought but brought on fears of flooding. At one point combines couldn't manoeuvre the water-logged fields.

#5 -- Storm for the Ages: “Flurries”, Fury and Floods. A mid-December blizzard stranded several drivers on a 30km stretch of Highway 402 in temperatures that felt like -25 with wind chill and claimed one life. It also cut power to over 100,000 customers on the East coast.

#4 -- Canada's a “Hottie”! 2010 was Canada's warmest calendar year in 63 years. Winter and spring was the country's warmest, summer was the third warmest and fall the second warmest on record.

#3 -- From Dry to Drenched on the Prairies Saskatchewan was flooded and Alberta was dry. Both conditions adversely affected crops that left Prairie farmers devastated. Forty municipalities were declared agricultural disaster areas.

#2 -- Vigorous Igor. Igor battered the Atlantic coast and left it's mark as the worst hurricane in Newfoundland's history. Power was cut, basements flooded and roads and bridges washed away. It also led to a whopping $65 million in insurance claims, again the largest figure in Newfoundland's history.

#1 -- Spring Weather for the Olympic Winter Games. El Niño and Pineapple Express storms led to melting of the white stuff almost resulting in conditions not very winter-like. Luckily, things turned around, permitting the successful completion of the games.

Also be sure to check out what storms made top headlines with The Weather Network's Top Ten Storms of 2010.

With files from The National Post

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