Manitoba breaks its severe weather record

Manitoba breaks its severe weather record | Insurance Business Canada

Manitoba breaks its severe weather record
Manitoba posted a record number of severe weather events for the year 2016, data reveals.

“We just shattered our records as far as total number of severe weather events this past summer,” Environment Canada meteorologist Mike McDonald told CBC News.

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The province reported 240 severe weather events in 2016, compared to 131 in 2015.

Of the 240 severe weather events, 147 were confirmed reports of severe hail, 55 were cases of severe wind, 20 extreme downpours, and 18 tornadoes.

“Obviously this was a record year,” McDonald stressed.

McDonald explained that the increase in reported severe weather events was due to heavy moisture and heat.

“Heat and humidity are the two prime ingredients you need for severe thunderstorms,” he said.

He also noted that social media has greatly helped Environment Canada record weather events as they happen.

“People are out there with their cellphone cameras and posting them on Twitter, so we’re getting real-time information with accurate measurements of say the hailstorms or tornadoes that are out there,” McDonald stated. “Years past there’s probably a lot more hail events that occurred, we just never heard about them.”

McDonald pointed out that severe weather in rural areas can now be properly monitored by the agency with help from storm chasers and even residents.

Environment Canada has a series of criteria for a weather event to be classified as severe.

For hail, the hailstones produced should be at least 20mm for the weather event to be considered severe. For strong winds, the gusts must have speeds reaching at least 90 kmh. Severe rainfall is characterized as a weather event that sees at least 50mm of rain within an hour or less. A severe tornado needs to touch down to be considered severe by Environment Canada.

McDonald warned that the snowfall from this winter could make for severe weather once it starts to melt.

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