Canada's top ten weather stories of 1997

For the second consecutive year, Canada's top news story was another weather event.  In 1996, it was Quebec's Saguenay River flood - Canada's first billion dollar catastrophe.  This year, it was the swollen Red River that plagued southern Manitoba for more than eight weeks in the spring.  In the end, Manitoba's flood of the century cost upwards of $450 million, but could not defeat thousands of tireless volunteers and soldiers. 

It's difficult to find two new words uttered more often by Canadians this year than El Nino.  First, we watched with horror the misery and misfortune that the warm tropical Eastern Pacific waters inflicted on over half the world with floods, landslides, droughts, wildfires, and super hurricanes.  Then, right on cue, El Nino blew into Canada bringing the promised warmth and dryness for Western Canada, but dumping record snowfalls in Atlantic Canada.

In marked contrast to last year, severe summer weather in 1997 was not nearly as extreme and expensive.  The number of personal injuries and fatalities linked to weather incidents was relatively low.  For the 10th consecutive year, ever since the Edmonton tornado in 1987, no one in Canada was killed by a tornado. 

The national average temperature for 1997 was above-normal, putting it in the top 20 warmest in 50 years.  The year was wetter than normal, in the top 12 of 50, but not as wet as last year, which ranked as the wettest.  For the Pacific Coast, 1997 was one of the mildest and wettest years this century.

Here are the top ten weather stories of 1997 ranked by considering factors such as, the number of people and the extent of area affected by the weather, and the economic impact of the event.

Top ten weather stories for 1997

  1. Red River's Flood of the Century
  2. El Nino Arrives on Schedule
  3. Thunderstorms and Hurricanes - Few and Weak
  4. Another Cool, Wet Miserable Spring
  5. British Columbia's Big Wet
  6. Perfect Harvest Weather
  7. Okanagan's $100 Million Hailstorm
  8. Summer "Drought"
  9. Victoria's Snowstorm of the Century
  10. Spring and Winter Wildfires
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