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Canada's most memorable July weather events

Thursday, August 6th 2020, 6:35 am - From rare thunderstorms to mid-summer snow, and everything in between, July featured some memorable weather events across the country.

Rare thunderstorms, mid-summer snow, with a side of tornadoes. July produced some dangerous tornadoes and oppressive temperatures across Canada.

We'll start in the West, where summer finally got on track.

July 31st: Vancouver Island lightning storm

Talk about a rarity. The odd bolt or two strikes Vancouver Island every so often, but this was exceptional. Environment Canada documented hundreds of lightning flashes across parts of the island, giving locals an early wake-up call to finish off the month.

Alberta takes a severe thunderstorm warning to the next level

The final tally stands at seven confirmed tornadoes for the month, but the size and frequency of the hailstorms stole the show. These battle wounds can even be seen by satellites in outer space, peppering the province with significant damage to crops.

When all was said and done, Alberta faced nearly two weeks of severe thunderstorm warnings, almost half the month.

July 7th: Derecho sweeps across Prairies

Initiating in Montana, a fast-moving, damaging cluster of thunderstorms swept across Saskatchewan, producing wind gusts over 140 km/h in Mankota. Derechos are known to produce some of the strongest straight-line wind damage out of thunderstorms, equivalent to weaker tornadoes.

July 8th: The drought-buster, tree-destroyer pummels Toronto

During June and early July, it barely rained in parts of southern Ontario.

On July 8th, an innocuous storm initiated north of the city, eventually stalling and dumping as much rain in under 30 minutes than what had fallen the previous month. As the storm meandered south, damaging winds ripped through the High Park area of Toronto, toppling trees and startling residents.

July 19th: Powerful storms sweep across Ontario

The hours leading up to this event, the weather models struggled to grasp the timing, giving inaccurate guidance to local meteorologists. The storms moved through earlier but packed a punch. Tens of thousands of customers lost power. In the end, seven tornadoes were confirmed, including a waterspout over Lake Huron.

Warmest July on record for Toronto, Ottawa, and Montreal

July 2020 was the hottest July on record at Toronto Pearson Airport based on mean temperatures. The old record was 24.4C July 2011 – this year the mercury averaged 25.0C.




Why is a mean temperature a good representation of overall warmth?

It takes the average between the daytime and overnight temperature; consequently, this stat accounts for the hot days and the warm overnights.

Toronto Pearson also broke its monthly record for the warmest overnight average minimum temperatures, as well, at nearly 20°C. That's a couple of degrees warmer than some coastal B.C. locales when you compare to their daily July highs!

July 29th: Maritimes muggier than the tropics

We end on a muggy note. Although many Canadians regrettably cancelled travel this year, the temperatures swelled to a tropical level in the Maritimes – bringing the tropical weather to you.

Yes, the 'feels-like' value in parts of inland Nova Scotia trumped some tropical destinations, thousands of kilometres south.


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