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The Toronto snowstorm of 1999

For Canada's largest city, this snowstorm was one for the record books.

On the second day of the year alone, up to 40 cm of snow fell across southern Ontario. Four more storms ensued, dumping more a year's worth of snow on Toronto between January 2 and January 15, the snowiest two-week period the city had seen since 1846.

That amounted to 118.4 cm at the greatest extent.

This was too much for a city not accustomed to winter blasts of that magnitude. Mayor Mel Lastman was forced to call in the military to help clear all the snow away.

The cost of the operation came to $70 million. Region-wide, the storm was blamed for 11 deaths.

The Pine Lake, Alta., tornado of July 14, 2000

The first deadly Canadian tornado of 13 years was large and powerful, roaring onto the scene at F3 strength, boasting winds of 330 km/h.

Its full fury was centred on the Green Acres campground southeast of Red Deer, Alta. 

Those powerful gusts and sustained winds were enough to hurl between 40 and 50 trailers into adjacent Pine Lake, while sucking fish from its waters and scattering them over the area.

The ordeal was over in a minute, but it lasted long enough to leave 12 people dead and 140 injured. Damage estimates were in the $13 million range.

The New Brunswick ice storm of February, 2003

Groundhog Day 2003 was marked by an ice storm that brought 40-60 mm of freezing rain - Moncton, one of the largest metropolises of the East Coast, experienced its worst storm in 75 years.

And when the rain finally stopped, plummeting temperatures were made worse by a cold wind gusting more than 75 km/h and generating wind chill of -27.

It took days to chip away the ice and clear away the snow. Schools were closed for a week and numerous roof collapses were reported. Numerous livestock were killed.

Power lines and trees, laden with ice accumulations of up to 33 mm, toppled across the province, leaving more than 60,000 people in the cold and dark, with some without power for a week.

In terms of cost and magnitude, this storm hit New Brunswick harder than the eastern Canadian ice storm of 1998.

British Columbia's 2003 fire season

The summer of 2003 was one of flame and smoke in Canada's western-most province.

Abnormally hot and dry weather contributed to more than 2,500 wildfire starts, spelling the worst wildfire season in B.C. in 50 years.

The result: More than 2,600 square kilometres of land were blackened and charred, 334 homes burned to the ground and three pilots lost their lives fighting the flames.

The cost of the damage, and the massive firefighting efforts required to keep the flames at bay, was more than $700 million. Insurers deemed it the costliest wildfire season in B.C. history.

Hurricane Juan, September 29, 2003

The year 2003 was a wild one for tropical weather, with 16 named storms in the Atlantic Basin, and the season ended up being the longest in 50 years.

For Atlantic Canadians, the season came to a head with Hurricane Juan. This Category 2 storm boasted sustained winds of 158 km/h when it struck the Halifax, the largest city in Nova Scotia and the east coast. 

It was the first direct hit on the city since the late 19th Century, and this storm would be remembered across the region for its sheer power.

The winds blew down power lines and damaged countless homes. An estimated 100 million trees were toppled and, amazingly, the 19-floor Canadian Hurricane Centre in Dartmouth had to be evacuated, after it began swaying in the wind enough to make its occupants nauseous. 

The storm surge was more than 1.5 m, and 20-metre waves were reported in Halifax Harbour, a sampling of a violent ocean that swept many shores clean of boats and docks.

Storm losses were more than $100 million across Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island, and Juan was blamed for eight deaths across the region.

NEXT: And after Juan, 'White Juan.'


The eight deadliest Atlantic Hurricanes
Tsunamis and vanishing cities: Ten earthquakes that changed history
Six kinds of freaky winter weather

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