Canada seeing an average tornado season

Saskatchewan tornado season is underway and the city of Saskatoon is asking residents to be prepared and weather alert.
So far this year, Canada is on track to have an average tornado season. File / Global News

TORONTO – Though to some it may seem like we’ve had an active tornado season this year, the reality is that it’s been more or less an average year for twisters.

“When we’ve looked at the numbers the last few years in Canada, it’s been somewhere between 50 to 60 tornadoes in an average season,” said Geoff Coulson, Warning Preparedness Meteorologist with Environment Canada. Forty-three of those tornadoes occur in the Prairies.

This year there have been roughly 41: Quebec has had two; Ontario, 11 (the 11th was confirmed Thursday afternoon); Atlantic Canada, 1. In the west, Alberta, Manitoba and Saskatchewan haven’t released a total. However, there have been roughly three to seven tornadoes in Manitoba and 15 to 21 in Saskatchewan. British Columbia hasn’t reported any, which isn’t unusual as the province is more prone to mudslides and rain events.

The most notable thing so far this year has been that there haven’t been any major, damaging tornadoes to report. Most of the tornadoes have been short-lived and on the weaker end of the Enhanced Fujita scale which measures tornado strength from EF0 to EF5.

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“There haven’t been big events,” Coulson said. “[The tornadoes] haven’t been long-track events.”

Coulson said that we’re pretty much on the average end of the number of tornadoes. “We’re on pace to be where we should be, maybe even more of an active year, if we continue to get events through August and September.”

The important thing to remember, he noted, is that the statistic of annual tornadoes in Canada is an average that uses several years of data. So, where one year Canada may see an above-average number of tornadoes, the following year may be well below-average.

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