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Eabie

My 2010 Thunderstorm Log

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[i started keeping a personal storm log to describe all the thunderstorms I experience, in my own words. I intend to update it every time I witness a bit of thunder for the foreseeable future, hopefully for many years, no matter where I might experience it in the world. I use my own totally arbitrary ranking system (Mediocre, Okay, Decent, Good, Great, Awesome) -- which makes sense to me, even if not to anyone else. lol. Just one thing: when I say in the "Year in Review" that the storms were relatively few, I mean relative to some of the summers I've experienced in Canada. I won't have those same expectations in the UK, so I wouldn't be disappointed if I got 3 or 4 storms in a year there -- it's all relative and dependent on expectations. This was a brutally hot summer and I had no air conditioning, so a little more thunder would have been nice! Anyway, just wanted to share it. Enjoy!]

7 May 2010 – Kitchener, ON

This was a long-lasting evening thunderstorm. Lightning strikes could be seen fairly regularly and were accompanied by loud, rumbling thunder; winds became gusty and the rain remained quite heavy for hours. This was the day I arrived back in Kitchener from Winnipeg and I had to go shopping in the storm; due to the heavy rain and wind, my legs got soaked despite the umbrella. I went out early in the storm—and it intensified and lasted at least a good hour (probably more like two) after I got back, concluding only after it had gone dark late in the evening. Although not severe, this would be the best thunderstorm we’d have for quite some time, mainly due to its longevity and regular cloud-to-ground lightning strikes. Decent/Good.

3 June 2010 – Kitchener, ON

This was a mid afternoon thunderstorm. There were some bright flashes in the light grey sky and the thunder was surprisingly loud; it was most memorable, however, for a very intense downpour of rain. Marcus and I went to the bank (he went to get cigarettes) and we had to return during the heaviest part of the downpour. The streets were completely flooded in only a matter of minutes. At the bottom of Mount Hope Street I had to hold Marcus's hand and wade through a giant pool of water that went up past my shins; we dispensed with the umbrella because it completely failed to keep us dry, and we arrived back in the apartment absolutely sopping wet. The storm didn’t last too long after, but it prompted us to have a fun afternoon of movies and drinking. Decent.

9 June 2010 – Kitchener, ON

This was a very brief, fast-moving, intense little thunderstorm that rolled through late in the evening. Lots of beautiful fork lightning and rolling thunder; the clouds were really roiling and unsettled as well. It came on us very quickly—the wind started to shake the trees (gusting perhaps to about 80 km/hr) and then cascades of torrential rains swept the streets. Unfortunately, it was a bit of a tempest in a teapot—it came on us quickly, but rolled over us even more quickly, lasting about a mere 15-20 minutes. It was far too short-lived and small to qualify as severe, despite its sudden arrival, heavy rain, and strong wind gusts. Decent.

27 June 2010 – Kitchener, ON

A relatively small thunder-shower passed over us early in the evening. At first, frequent quiet growls of thunder could be heard in the distance; these became louder (though much less frequent) as it approached. When it arrived, there was some steady rain and only one or two visible flashes of lightning over half an hour, but plenty of swirling, splotchy grey clouds. After it was over, ordinary showers continued for about an hour and a half until there were, to my surprise, two more lightning flashes (one of which was followed by a very loud, short, abrupt boom of thunder) before it was completely over. All in all, an average and very subdued little thunder-shower, the least remarkable since March or April. Mediocre.

11 July 2010 – Kitchener, ON

In the early afternoon (as Spain was winning the World Cup), a decent-looking thunderstorm could be seen in the distance toward Cambridge. The clouds were fairly dark blue and I could see some thin lightning strikes; I could also hear distant thunder. Unfortunately, the clouds moved very slowly, and they didn’t seem to be moving in our direction in any case; eventually the storm either lost energy or moved on its way, though it did bring a nice cool breeze to the area. Because the storm didn’t hit Kitchener directly (it remained bright and sunny on our balcony), the experience, if not the storm itself, can only be described as mediocre. But it was still nice to watch it in the distance. Mediocre (too distant).

15 July 2010 – Kitchener, ON

The remnants of a once-powerful line of thunderstorms passed over us in the evening hours. Winds became mildly gusty at first, but then quickly died down, and the rain remained light-to-moderate for the storm’s duration. Clouds were light grey. However, the lightning and thunder at least occurred with some regularity—and each flash seemed to light up the sky red for a split second. This was an average thunderstorm overall. Okay.

16 July 2010 – Kitchener, ON

This was a second-round of the same system that struck the previous evening. In the very early morning hours, at around 3 am, I was awakened by the sound of thunder and could see lightning flashing up the bedroom walls. I looked out the window briefly and found that it was similar to the evening before—no wind, moderate rain, and moderate lightning. Due to the late hour, I promptly went back to bed and fell asleep. Okay.

19 July 2010 – Kitchener, ON

Shortly after midnight, a strong storm could be seen in the distance approaching the city from Waterloo. Faint sheet lightning could be discerned in the sky every 5-10 seconds or so; this persisted for some time as the flashes became brighter. Eventually distinct lightning strikes (some of them extremely bright and vivid) could be seen. It was a beautiful night to stand out on the balcony and watch the approaching storm—dark, quiet, still, and quite surprisingly chilly. The storm itself remained primarily a lightning display even after it struck; wind gusts were unexceptional, and the rain, starting out as a light sprinkle, became only moderately heavy, though at its worst I could see waves of rain sweeping up the street. At this point, the thunder turned deafeningly loud as lightning lit up the entire night sky and our power briefly went out twice. Although winds and rain were tepid and non-severe, the lightning was so beautiful and intense, and the thunder so ominously loud, as to qualify this as at least a good storm. Good/Great

23 July 2010 – Kitchener, ON

We were awakened to the sound of thunder in the morning. It was absolutely pouring rain, with thick, heavy raindrops; I saw later on the news that there was some localized flooding in Kitchener. This system brought the heaviest rain of the year (about 70 mm), though most of it must have fallen while we were asleep. The lightning, thunder, and heavy rain passed shortly after we got up, leaving behind moderate showers and a lot of grey clouds for the rest of the day. Okay/Decent.

28 July 2010 – Kitchener, ON

In the mid afternoon, the sky darkened as a thunderstorm passed nearby. It rained fairly heavily for a few minutes, then turned to a very light rain shower. Distant thunder could be heard rumbling for some time after; Marcus noted only one flash of lightning where we were. The main part of the system seemed to have just missed us, hitting Cambridge instead. Mediocre.

9 August 2010 – Kitchener, ON

This was barely even a thunder-shower. A system of moderately heavy rain passed over us in the mid afternoon; I personally heard only one quiet rumble of thunder, though there was more than that according to another resident in Waterloo with whom I corresponded at the time. Either way, absolutely no lightning could be seen. More rainshower than thunder-shower, this was easily the most mediocre event of the year. Mediocre.

14 August 2010 – Kitchener, ON

A nice, average little thunderstorm moved slowly over Kitchener late in the evening. The sheet lightning was very bright and lovely in the dark night sky, occurring maybe every 20 seconds or so; the thunder rumbled and rolled along nicely, although it never got very loud. There was no wind, and the rain was light for most of the storm; it finally became heavier much later, just as the lightning began to die down. Although average and non-severe, the storm was charming in that way that summer night storms tend to be; and it was nice and peaceful as I sat out on the balcony and listened to the thunder and rain. Okay.

15 August 2010 – Kitchener, ON

A large thundercloud could be seen developing over Waterloo in the early evening. It was quite picturesque, with the setting sun reflecting off its tops, clear blue skies above us, and flocks of birds careening overhead. I could hear little to no thunder, but I did see several small lightning strikes, mostly jumping within the cloud. It moved to the north and then died out very quickly. Later in the same evening, after it had gone dark, I could see flashes of lightning about every 10 seconds or so far to the north. Some of them were quite bright, but they were very far and high on the horizon. Then, hours later, just before we went to bed, I again saw more distant dramatic lightning every 5 seconds or so to the northeast. It looked like intense storms were raging all around us, but nothing happened in Kitchener. Mediocre (too distant).

20 August 2010 – Winnipeg, MB

On the evening before our wedding in Winnipeg, a small, dark-ish cloud developed nearby and began to emanate frequent thunder. I didn’t make much of it, but insisted we should probably leave for the mall just in case (we had to buy liquor with Kelly); it was only when we were driving in the car that I realized that our little thundercloud was actually part of a much larger, darker storm system all around us. Thick, heavy raindrops began to hit the windshield, soon intermingled with small hail which I saw bouncing on the street. My dad pulled into the mall and stopped the car as the hail began to pour down very hard; the noise it made on the car roof and windshield was incredible, and we saw people (including kids) running in it in the parking lot. We stayed in the vehicle until the hailstorm ended several minutes later. We learned afterward that some of the hail had been toonie sized, and near the perimeter to the north it had been “at least†golf-ball sized and had dented vehicles. Ominous dark, low-hanging clouds produced some lightning and thunder, but beyond that the storm had basically moved on. Though extremely brief, it was at least delightfully unexpected. Okay/Decent.

10 September 2010 – Winnipeg, MB

A rain system moved over Winnipeg late the previous evening; at around 4:30 am a non-severe thunderstorm embedded within this larger system caused some sporadic lightning to flash up my darkened bedroom walls, awakening me. I could hear some low rumbling thunder and the ceaseless pitter-patter of the rain outside, and soon drifted off back to sleep. Mediocre.

Mediocre, Okay, Decent, Good, Great, Awesome

Year 2010 in Review

The year was rather quiet for thunderstorms. Relatively few storms occurred during my summer in Southern Ontario; many of those that did occur, did not affect Kitchener; and those that did affect Kitchener, were usually brief and non-severe. The best storm in 2010 occurred after midnight on 19 July—though non-severe by the time it arrived in Kitchener, it brought the intense lightning and heavy thunder of a severe storm. Other notable storms occurred on 7 May (fairly long-lasting), 9 June (strong, but not severe), and 3 June and 23 July (very heavy downpours, leading to flash flooding). On the morning of the 23rd, 70 mm of rain fell—though it was the 3 June storm that Marcus and I very memorably got caught in. A hailstorm occurred in Winnipeg on 20 August, the evening before our wedding, though it was very short-lived. Most other storms were either minor or average, or failed to hit Kitchener directly. Considering the oppressive heat and humidity we experienced all summer, the relative lack of good storms during my last full summer in Canada was somewhat disappointing, though we still managed to come away with several memorable experiences.

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this year in Edmonton we had more storms than you could shake a stick at..more than forty in all

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this year in Edmonton we had more storms than you could shake a stick at..more than forty in all

Any idea how that compares to the average for that part of the world, C.M ?

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this year in Edmonton we had more storms than you could shake a stick at..more than forty in all

Yeah, had I remained in Winnipeg this past past year instead of moving to Southern Ontario for university, I would have experienced plenty more storms beyond what's on my list (two of which occurred in Winnipeg already to begin with). The prairies got most this past summer, Alberta in particular. Normally I wouldn't care that much (there's always other summers), but it's my last full summer here in Canada, so I was hoping for more. Plus, it was just incredibly hot and humid in Ontario; there was a week in early July when the temperatures hit 33 C for at least 5 or 6 days in a row, and the humidity made it feel like 42. To suffer through such heat and get such piddling storms on the whole was disappointing. At least there were a handful I enjoyed though -- could have been worse I guess!

I assume you know Edmonton was hit by an F4/F5 tornado in 1987? Here's an old news clip about it (not superb quality) if interested:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XJSvLsZUgt0

It had recorded maximum wind speeds of 416 km/hr, and the official threshold for an F5 is 419 km/hr. Environment Canada has long deliberated whether to upgrade it to an F5 -- if they ever do so, it'll make it the first of only two F5s ever recorded in Canada, the other being the Elie, Manitoba, tornado in 2007 just 40 km west of here, which (thankfully) sat largely spinning stationary in the countryside.

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Any idea how that compares to the average for that part of the world, C.M ?

more than normal esp in late june and july when we had storms virtually every day for a bout 4-5 weeks..tailed off in august..but was a cool wet summer by Alberta standards..most of the rain came in the form of storms.

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Any idea how that compares to the average for that part of the world, C.M ?

According to Environment Canada, Winnipeg sees 26.54 thunderstorm days per year on average (30 year sample data). Edmonton sees 18.83. I would have said Winnipeg sees between 15-25 thunderstorms most summers, based on my own rough observations from living here, but I've only just started researching them. It can vary quite widely year by year. Some years are dead, others are very active, with thunder every few days or nights

Source: http://winnipeg.weatherstats.ca/winners.html?35

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