Canada Tied All-time Tornado Record In 2022
Canada’s tornado season once again proved to be hyperactive in 2022, with 117 tornadoes recorded for the second year in a row, equaling the country’s highest number on record.
While documented tornado activity in Canada tied the all-time record, it may not necessarily be due to an increase in storm activity. Scientists and researchers in Canada have improved methods for finding tornadoes that otherwise would’ve gone unnoticed years prior.
Over the course of 2022, researchers at Western University’s Northern Tornadoes Project (NTP) utilized satellite and drone imagery to conduct aerial surveys and inspect storm damage to try and document as many tornadoes across Canada as possible.
The team found the majority of tornadoes in the country for 2022 struck Ontario, with 51 confirmed twisters. In second place was Quebec, which saw 26 tornadoes throughout 2022.
“The southern Prairies from central Alberta to southern Manitoba is one region most prone to tornadoes,” explained AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Brett Anderson, adding that another tornado hotspot occurs in southwestern Ontario to southern Quebec.
Even though tornadoes may not have touched down more often in the country as a whole, one area experienced higher-than-normal tornado activity in 2022 compared to 2021: the prairies.
In 2021, the Canadian prairies experienced an unusually quiet year for tornado activity, only recording a handful of twisters. Nearly 40 tornadoes were recorded across the region in 2022, including 25 in Saskatchewan, eight in Alberta and six in Manitoba.
“In 2021, we had persistent high pressure across southwestern Canada in the summer, which led to very warm and drier-than-normal conditions for the Prairies with lower humidity and less instability compared to normal, which is not conducive for tornadoes,” Anderson explained.
Most of the 117 tornadoes that touched down in Canada in 2022 produced little to no damage; however, 29 were rated as high as EF2, which is considered a strong tornado. One of the EF2 tornadoes to impact Canada in 2022 was part of a deadly derecho that affected nearly half of the country’s population in May.
The derecho lasted over 10 hours and caused damage along a path spanning more than 760 miles (1,200 kilometers (656200.00 feets)), impacting major cities such as Windsor, Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal and Québec City. The event also produced the first EF2 tornado of the year in Canada, causing damage in Uxbridge, Ontario.
In late July, another EF2 tornado formed in southern Ontario, passed through Highway 7 and caused significant damage in Actinolite, injuring at least six people. Vehicles were damaged by debris and a pickup truck was lofted and thrown about 82 feet (25 meters).
“The peak tornado season in Canada is June to August and steadily winds down in September,” said Anderson.
The last EF2 tornado of the year for the country occurred on Sept. 20 in a forested area near Ogoki, Ontario. Satellite imagery analyzed by NTP showed EF2 damage with an estimated max wind speed of 118 mph (190 km (623390.00 feets)/h) and a track length of about 2 miles (3.14 km (10302.34 feets)). The last confirmed tornado in 2022 occurred on Sept. 26 in Wellington, Ontario, when an EF0 twister toppled two trailers.
The NTP deploys ground survey teams once an area of potentially tornadic damage has been identified, according to the project’s website. During ground surveys, other NTP members look through satellite imagery to map out the exact extent of the damage caused by potential tornadoes. A preliminary classification and rating are determined shortly after the event in coordination with Environment and Climate Change Canada.
Produced in association with AccuWeather.