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.
— Kyle Brittain (@KyleTWN) July 31, 2020
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.
In other words, it rained more in 20 minutes than what was observed in the entire month of June and early July. https://t.co/Q21uTfEwuj
— Tyler Hamilton (@50ShadesofVan) July 8, 2020
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.
— Tyler Hamilton (@50ShadesofVan) July 19, 2020
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.
— Tyler Hamilton (@50ShadesofVan) July 28, 2020
Yes, the 'feels-like' value in parts of inland Nova Scotia trumped some tropical destinations, thousands of kilometres south.