Canada's top ten weather stories of 2013
- 2013 - A Year in Review
- 1. Alberta's Flood of Floods
- 2. Toronto's Torrent
- 3. Bumper Crops in the West, So-So for the Rest
- 4. The Nightmare during Christmas
- 5. To Flood or Not to Flood?
- 6. Rebound in the Arctic Ocean and the Great Lakes
- 7. Wicked Winter Weather Wallops the East
- 8. Spring Flooding in Ontario’s Cottage Country
- 9. Prairie Winter Went on Forever
- 10. Stormy Seas and Maritime Tragedy
- Runner-up Stories
- Atlantic Regional Highlights
- Quebec - Regional Highlights
- Ontario - Regional Highlights
- Prairie Provinces - Regional Highlights
- British Columbia - Regional Highlights
- The North - Regional Highlights
The North - Regional Highlights
- Fracturing Ice
- Orcas trapped with nowhere to go
- Good Ice Road Year
- Record Spring Snowfall
- Northern Heat Wave
1. Fracturing Ice
This past spring, the ice in Canada’s western Arctic ripped open in a massive “fracturing event” that then spread like a wave across 1,000 km of the Beaufort Sea. Huge leads of water – some more than 500 km long and as much as 70 km across – opened up from Alaska to Canada’s Arctic islands as the massive ice sheet cracked. Pushed around by strong winds and currents, the majority of the ice was thinner and weaker, responding more readily to atmospheric-ocean forces.
2. Orcas trapped with nowhere to go
On January 8, shifting ice near Inukjuak on Hudson Bay trapped a dozen killer whales. The panicked and stressed whales attempted to come up to the surface all at once, gasping for air, but the breathing hole was too small for the number of whales. A cold snap two days before froze the bay, which was much later than normal. Most of the whales escaped within two days, much to the delight of residents and countless others from around the globe who had been following the saga through news reports and social media.
3. Good Ice Road Year
Colder-than-normal weather early in the winter meant more favourable ice conditions for constructing and maintaining winter ice roads. The ice was nearly 1 metre thick, much thicker than in most years at the roads’ openings. January was the coldest in Yellowknife since 2004 with extreme lows dipping below –40°C on three days, including -42°C on January 31. Ice road users were able to carry heavier and fuller loads as a result. During the 2013 season, 230,000 tonnes of goods and equipment were driven along the Tibbitt-to-Contwoyto winter road to the Ekati diamond mines – 10 per cent more than 2012.
4. Record Spring Snowfall
A persistent and extremely slow-moving low-pressure system over Hudson Bay brought streams of precipitation to parts of the Hudson Bay coast beginning in mid-May. A massive three-day snowfall dumped an incredible 92 cm of snow at Rankin Inlet – about 75 per cent of the hamlet’s average annual snowfall. Equally important was that the snow was heavy and wet. Veteran Environment Canada meteorologist Yvonne Bilan-Wallace couldn’t recall such a dump of snow in the Arctic in her 33-year career as an Arctic meteorologist. Because of the snow, a radio station in Rankin was unreachable and a fishing derby was postponed.
5. Northern Heat Wave
Canada’s North experienced record heat during the first half of August. Temperatures in Nunavut were particularly warm with Kugluktuk reaching 29.3°C on August 12 and 13, setting records for six consecutive days. Normal daily highs in the hamlet are about 13°C. Baker Lake also set a new record on August 12 with temperatures climbing to 26.7°C, only to exceed that with another record on August 15 at 29.2°C. Coral Harbour also beat its record high set in 1966 by about two degrees, averaging 22°C. In the Northwest Territories, the town of Inuvik exceeded 30°C on August 8, eclipsing the daily record by more than two degrees.
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