Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Environment Canada Picks Unusually Warm Temperatures Top Weather Story of 2012

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Environment Canada Picks Unusually Warm Temperatures Top Weather Story of 2012

Article excerpt

High temperatures top weather story of 2012

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TORONTO - Canada coped with a slew of natural disasters from freak storms to floods this calendar year, but the country's meteorological watchdog says Canadians will remember 2012 as the year when the weather was too hot to handle.

Environment Canada says unusually high temperatures from coast to coast ranked as the top climate-related story of the year.

Senior climatologist David Phillips says Canadians experienced warmer than average conditions right through the year, making the stretch from January to November the fourth-warmest on record since 1948.

Phillips says the three-month stretch from July to September was the warmest such period on record over the past 65 years.

He says a highly active hurricane season culminating in superstorm Sandy was the second most notable weather event of the year, since it cost Canadians more than $100 million in property damage.

Extreme flooding throughout British Columbia rounded out the top three weather stories of the year.

Phillips said the prolonged warm spell that defined the 2012 climate agenda can't be attributed to a single season or phenomenon.

"It wasn't just about a nice, fuzzy average temperature for the whole year," Phillips said. "It was composed of a winter that was cancelled and a summer that seemed to go on very long to be one of the hottest on record."

Unusually temperate winter conditions altered the look and feel of the entire season even in the country's arctic regions, Phillips said, adding national temperature averages saw the mercury rise 3.6 degrees above seasonal norms.

The month of March was a particularly dramatic illustration of the trend, he said, adding the summer-like conditions that shattered thousands of temperature records throughout the country catapulted that month's mild conditions to fourth spot on Environment Canada's list of notable 2012 weather stories.

But come the fall, Phillips said the Maritime and Central provinces that basked in the March heat witnessed the other end of the spectrum as the Atlantic hurricane season swung into particularly high gear.

A total of 19 tropical storms roiled North American skies this year, Phillips said, adding the figure is roughly double what's seen during a more typical season. While only 10 of those morphed into full-fledged hurricanes, some of them left their mark on Canadian soil. …

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