List Of Canadian Tornadoes And Tornado Outbreaks
This page lists tornadoes and tornado outbreaks which have touched down in Canada. On average, there are around 80 confirmed and unconfirmed tornadoes that touch down in Canada each year, with most occurring in southern Ontario and the southern Prairies. Canada ranks as the second country in the world with the most tornadoes per year, after the US. The most common types are F0 to F2 in damage intensity level and usually result in minor structural damage to barns, wood fences, roof shingles, chimneys, uprooted or snapped tree limbs and downed power lines. Fewer than 5% of tornadoes in Canada are rated F3 or higher in intensity, where wind speeds are in excess of 250 km/h. The Fujita Scale is used to rate tornado intensity, based on the damage to buildings and vegetation.
Of all the provinces, Ontario, Alberta, Manitoba and Saskatchewan average the most tornadoes per season, around 15, followed by Quebec with fewer than 10. New Brunswick and the interior of British Columbia are also recognised tornado zones. All other province and territories have significantly less threat from tornadoes. The peak season in Canada is in the summer months when clashing air masses move north, as opposed to the spring season in the United States southern-central plains, although tornadoes in Canada have occurred in spring, fall and very rarely winter.
The reported increase in numbers of tornadoes in recent years may reflect more reporting by citizens and media involvement rather than an actual increase in tornado occurrence (although some natural increase has not been ruled out), in addition to better detection technology i.e. Doppler weather radar and satellite imagery. The upswing could also be attributed to other factors, such as improved aerial and ground damage assessment after the fact in sparsely populated areas (particularly the case in remote parts of the Canadian Prairies and Northern Ontario, for example), better trained spotter capabilities and increased use of digital recording devices by citizens. Tornadoes in Canada are enough of a threat for a public warning system to be in place, overseen by the national weather agency, Environment Canada.
For a variety of reasons, such as Canada's lower population density and generally stronger housing construction due to the colder climate, Canadian tornadoes have historically caused far fewer fatalities than tornadoes in the United States. The deadliest tornado in Canadian history, the Regina Cyclone of June 30, 1912, does not even rank in the top 25 when compared to American tornado fatalities. Urban centres are not immune from the threat of severe tornadoes. Seven medium to large size Canadian cities were hit by significant strength tornadoes (F3 or higher) during the 20th century which caused large-scale damage and fatalities: in Regina (1912), Windsor twice (1946 and 1974), Sarnia (1953), Sudbury (1970), Woodstock (1979), Barrie (1985), and in Edmonton (1987).
- This is an incomplete list, which may never be able to satisfy particular standards for completeness. You can help by expanding it with reliably sourced entries.
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