2005 sets rain and flood records
The year 2005 was the wettest in Canada in six decades, says Environment Canada, which also cites the Alberta floods last June as the top weather event in the last 12 months.
"We had, across Canada, the wettest year in the past 60 years that we've been measuring records right across the country, particularly in the summer," senior climatologist David Phillips said. "It was the wettest summer on record."
Record flooding in southern Alberta turned small creeks into mighty rivers, forcing Calgary, for instance, to deal with three times the amount of water that usually flows through it.
"It became a $400-million hit," said Phillips. "Most of that came from insurance losses, but also losses of infrastructure. And sadly, it cost four people their lives."
But the deluge wasn't restricted to Alberta.
Floods that ripped through Manitoba and Ontario were ranked second and third, respectively, on Environment Canada's list. Add to that the heavy snow that fell on the Atlantic provinces in January, and Phillips said you could have a banner weather year for water accumulation.
The list also included an active hurricane season in the Atlantic; a long summer of heat, humidity and smog in Ontario and Quebec; and a lack of snow in British Columbia in January because of record-breaking mild weather.
However, some experts said the weather wasn't any worse when compared to historic averages. People were simply paying more attention to it.
"The more we expand and the more, quote, 'modern' we become, I think the more susceptible we are to the things that have affected us all the years in the past," said Dan Kulak, of Environment Canada's weather office in Alberta.
As for 2006, Phillips predicted continuing wild weather across the country, but that things would be a bit warmer.