To mark World Meteorological Day (March 23), I asked a few CBC/Radio-Canada meteorologists and reporters to tell me what recent weather phenomenon had left the biggest impression on them. Here’s what they had to say.
Christy Climenhaga, CBC North
Although forecasting in the North has exposed me to most weather extremes imaginable, one storm stands out against the rest. This would be the apocalyptic thunderstorm in Yellowknife on July 30, 2014.
This thunderstorm occurred during the worst forest fire season that the N.W.T. had seen in 30 years. Yellowknife was blanketed in smoke for months, and the combination of the smoky weather and the strong thunderstorm rolling through was incredible! At 5:30 p.m.,the sky over Yellowknife was bright orange, with all the smoke particles in the atmosphere. Soon after that, it was pitch black outside (as dark as a winter night, even though the sun was still up). The thunderstorm itself only had downpours (no hail or damaging winds) but the combination of the smoke and thick clouds made it look like a tornadic thunderstorm from Kansas! After the storm rolled through the sun was back out and the sky was an amazing shade of red. It was definitely a storm that will be hard to forget!
Pascal Yiacouvakis, ICI Grand Montréal and 10 p.m. Téléjournal
The year 2014 was the hottest on record worldwide – including in Alaska. And the remarkable thing is that the unusually warm weather experienced in Alaska and on the Pacific Coast has had an impact on Eastern Canada. A changing jet stream pattern (trough in the East) created colder-than-normal conditions over most of the eastern half of the country during winter 2013-2014, as well as in January and February of this year.
William Bourque, ICI Acadie
For me, it would have to be the snowstorm in late January / early February 1992, which lasted for three days non-stop and dumped 162 cm of snow on Moncton in its wake.
A close second would be this winter, with its frequent storms and blizzards, and the persistent frigid temperatures that accompanied them. Because there were never any mild spells, you can see massive snowbanks everywhere – something unheard of for Moncton as far I can remember, especially in early spring.
Chantal Plouffe, ICI Ottawa-Gatineau
A number of weather situations come to mind – such as the microburst that descended on the Val-des-Bois campground in July 2011. Then there was the freak windstorm that toppled the stage at the Ottawa Bluesfest. The eyewitness accounts of that giant gust of wind and the multiple thunderstorms that day were pretty compelling.
Another event that stood out for me was surely the torrential downpour that caused flooding in the Outaouais region on June 23 and 24, 2011. The Gatineau hills received over 250 mm of rain in under 24 hours – twice the average monthly rainfall for June. It set an all-time record!
To this day, I still have viewers come up and talk to me about that weather phenomenon. Sometimes it’s people who were directly affected by it. At others, it’s people who were stunned by the dramatic footage we aired at the time and the interviews with residents coping with the aftermath of the flood.
Do you have any memorable weather stories of your own to share? Please let us know!
- Jacinthe Lacombe-Cliche, Senior Writer, Corporate Communications