More Tornadoes?Jan 17, 2021 - By John D. Reid
Friday, 22 September 2018. Early evening. I thought I was safe at home. Then suddenly out my front window, the howling wind tried to blow one end of my street to the other. In a few seconds, it was over. I’d have been terrified to see out of the back window the tornado which tore up trees in McCarthy Woods. Hunt Club was lucky, barely escaping the disasters in Craig Henry and Dunrobin.
An expert report to the City advises climate change will bring a heightened risk of extreme weather, including tornadoes, and cause Ottawa’s seasons to shift with shorter winters.
Climate change is real for us; it shows in local weather records.
Since the 1920s our average temperatures increased by 1.22 C. The rate is accelerating.
With our winters, warming doesn’t sound bad. We have fewer deep freezes. In the 1920s every year had “deep freeze” (<-30 C) temperatures, in the 2010s only one year.
But in the summer hot nights bring misery. Typically one hot night (>20 C) each year in the 1920s has increased to seven in the 2010s.
Even warmer winters have their downsides. Freeze-thaw cycles, causing potholes, have increased during the winter months, from five in a typical January in the 1920s to nine in the 2010s. The skating season will be shortened meaning challenges for Winterlude and the tourist business it brings to the City.
Climate models tell us more of this type of change is inevitable. While preparation can’t protect from the terror of a tornado it can mitigate some impacts. We can slow the rate of change by doing our part to burn less fossil fuel.
Photo Credit, CBC Canada