ExpiredNews - Best of 2013: A dozen reader-favourite stories - The Weather Network
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Man drives boat through a waterspout

If ever there was a textbook example of “do NOT try this at home,” it’s this one.

That gentleman is one of two who were out lobster fishing when they encountered a couple of funnel clouds – and proceeded to drive right through one of the resulting water spouts.

He seems to be an experienced captain, operating a charter boat out of the Florida Keys for two decades or so, so we believe him when he says he was mindful of the risks.

Still. Braver than us, for sure.

Scientists discover why the bees are dying

The big buzz around bees this summer was that large numbers of them were apparently dying off, but no one seemed to have any idea why, or how to stop it.

This was a huge deal, and the average member of the public seemed to know it. The insects play a crucial role in plant pollination and fertilization, so if they go, a substantial chunk of the ecosystem as we know it goes with ‘em.

The most popular bee story on our website – in fact, one of THE most popular news stories on our website – was this one, where scientists seemed to hit upon the answer.

It seems they studied afflicted hives, and found concentrations of chemicals commonly found it fungicides. The chemicals themselves are mostly harmless to bees, but did increase their susceptibility to a kind of parasite that causes huge numbers of bees to abandon their hives, causing their collapse.

Is summer really over in Canada?

Our nation’s brief summer does lead to the media asking this question pretty often as the season nears its end – but not usually in August, which was when meteorologist Doug Gillham penned this overview of what at that point had been an unseasonably cool summer in many locations.

The cooldown had enough readers worried about the premature end of the season that they flocked to this article when we posted it. But it wasn’t just the cooldown that made the summer stand out thus far.

Heatwaves, unseasonably warm temperatures and heavy rains that made for major flooding in Toronto, and near catastrophic flooding in Alberta.

So when someone asked the question “is summer really over in Canada?” we’re not surprised to find it proved so popular with readers. Given how the season had been up until that point, we’d be curious too.

Funnel cloud spotted near Mount Forest, Ontario

This is Canada. We’re the second most tornado-prone nation on Earth, after the United States. And at the Weather Network, there are always tons of stories about tornadoes, either talking about risk, active weather, or aftermath.

We’re putting this one on our list of most-popular news stories because it rocketed to the top of the list pageview-wise in no time flat – and the title on the thumbnail didn't even mention the word "tornado." 

iMAGE: Dave PAtrick, @wwxchaser

iMAGE: Dave PAtrick, @wwxchaser

It was a funnel cloud. Just a funnel cloud. Many of those don’t even make it to full-tornado status. But the instant we put it on the website, warning people in the area to be wary, people responded in a big way.

We thought the tens of thousands of pageviews this story garnered warranted a mention because, if nothing else, it shows that Canadians are definitely aware their country has tornadoes, and deadly ones, and even one single funnel cloud will instantly put them on high alert.

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