The Senior Climatologist for Environment Canada has ranked Manitoba's drenching spring as one of the top weather stories for the entire country in 2022.
David Phillips today released his list of Canada's Top Ten Weather Stories of 2022. His top story was Fiona slamming the east coast in September. The multi-million dollar storm knocked out power to more than 600,000 homes and businesses.
Number two on his list was the intense squall line that sliced through southern and central Ontario and Quebec on May 21st. Referred to as a derecho, Phillips says the cluster of fierce downburst winds was widespread, fast-moving and long-lived, traversing 1,000 kilometres from Sarnia to Quebec City in nine hours, with a damage width of over 100 kilometres.
Coming in at number three, was the very wet spring in Manitoba. Phillips says following a parade of six moist Colorado low systems, Manitoba faced one of the most extensive, longest-lasting floods in years. He recalls the series of disturbances brought record amounts of snow and rain in April and May, streaming in 30 to 60 millimetres at a time. Phillips says it had already been a wet winter, with most areas of southern Manitoba seeing upwards of 150 centimetres of snow, making it the third-highest snowfall since 1872. He notes spring precipitation was even more exceptional and record-breaking. For example, Winnipeg totalled 331.4 mm of precipitation, making it the wettest meteorological spring on record.
Rounding out Canada's Top Ten Weather Stories of 2022, are:
4. Return to hot and dry weather under the dome. Phillips says across Canada, it was consistently warm all summer, making it the third warmest season on record, almost 1.6 degrees above normal.
5. Wildfires on two coasts
6. A wintery spring in British Columbia (without the flood)
7. Super storms track across the Prairies in July
8. Montreal swamped by humongous rain system
9. Record-breaking cold in time for the holidays. Phillips says during the Christmas/ New Year's period last year, there were times when all of Alberta and most of British Columbia and Saskatchewan, along with parts of Manitoba and Northern Ontario were under extreme cold weather warnings with wind chills ranging between -40 and -55 degrees.
10. Three weekend January storms stress Atlantic Canada
In addition to these ten significant weather events, Phillips has noted dozens of others that did not quite crack this list. Many of those were weather events felt in Manitoba. He recalls the devastating discovery in January when the extreme cold resulted in four individuals from India being found frozen to death near Emerson. The victims died from exposure as part of a human smuggling ring. Phillips says they were found lying in deep snow at a time when the wind chill was -35 degrees. He adds the undocumented India nationals had to endure several hours of blizzards with blowing snow and freezing cold in the dark.
Another significant weather event was the treacherous winter travel across Manitoba. Phillips says blowing snow, strong gusty winds and extreme cold for weeks on end made winter 2022 one of the most treacherous for getting around in southern Manitoba. He notes because of blizzard conditions, the province had to close as many highways and roads as it did the previous two years. According to Phillips, from January 1st to March 8th, Manitoba Public Insurance recorded 35,000 collisions compared to 20,000 the year before. With temperatures well below -18 degrees, strong winds just blew salt and sand particles off road surfaces. Frequent blizzards and continuous ground drifting kept visibilities near zero. Mountainous snowbanks regularly blocked traffic from the driver's view.
Also, on that list was the heat felt in southern Manitoba on June 18th and 19th. Phillips says across the province at least 18 new maximum temperature records were broken, some by two to four degrees, and 14 stations set record warm night temperatures. In Winnipeg, a record high of 37 degrees with a humidex of 42 occurred on June 19th, resulting in the cancellation of the annual Father's Day marathon.
Then, on June 24th, storms developed in Manitoba, with 100 millimetres of rain falling in Carlowrie and hailstones the size of baseballs pummeling Binscarth and Rossburn. There were strong wind gusts of 100 km/h.
And finally, Phillips says 2022 will go down as the wettest year on record for some locations in Manitoba. One of those locations was in Winnipeg. Phillips says total precipitation from January 1st to November 30th in Winnipeg measured 750 millimetres. He adds the two wettest days during the year were August 15th with 59 millimetres and June 24th with 56 millimetres. The main reason for the all-time precipitation records was a series of Colorado lows in winter and spring, and several thunderstorms in the warm season.