June 2, 2019
June 2, 2019 4:27 PM EDT
Rain obscures the view of a tornado on May 28, 2019 in Lawrence, Kansas. The Midwest has seen extensive severe weather this spring with widespread flooding and multiple tornadoes.Kyle Rivas / Getty Images
When that funnel cloud appears, you better disappear.
An awkward mixture of temperatures recently led to a path of destruction in the midwestern United States with deadly tornadoes ripping through Kansas, Ohio and Indiana.
And Canada is far from immune to funnel clouds.
Environment Canada Senior Climatologist David Phillips cautioned that Canada is the second most tornado-prone country in the world.
“It typically varies … but there are typically 40 to 60 tornadoes in a year (in Canada),” Phillips told the Toronto Sun. “Most are weak ones — the (category) F0s, F1s and F2s. They don’t cause too much damage.”
Even though Canada is ranked second in the world behind the U.S., Phillips noted Canada isn’t a “hotbed” for regular tornado activity. Tornadoes typically pop up in May, June and July.
So what causes a tornado to form?
“They need a recipe of cool and hot and humid air,” said Phillips. “The warm, humid air comes in while the cool air hangs around and a storm brews.”
With the mixture of air comes rising air and a change in wind direction, usually in an environment where a thunderstorm is developing, added Doug Gillham, a meteorologist with the Weather Network.
“You need rising air, which generates thunderstorms,” Gillham said. “Winds from the south, east and west get those thunderstorms rotating.”
On average, Ontario, Manitoba and Saskatchewan get 15 tornadoes per season, with Quebec being hit with less than 10. Other Canadian provinces and territories are less threatened by the destructive funnel clouds.
The deadliest recorded tornado to hit Canada was the Regina Cyclone, an F4 tornado that ripped through Regina, Sask. on June 30, 1912, killing 28 people and injuring more than 300.
The strongest tornado to touch ground in Canada was a F5 tornado that reared its ugly head near Elie, Man., on June 22, 2007, according to Environment and Climate Change Canada.
It’s currently prime tornado and storm season, according to Phillips, who added, “It’s the cool air from Canada mixing with the warm air from the Carolinas.”
There have only been two confirmed tornadoes to touch down in Canada in 2019. On April 24, an F0 tornado damaged some property just west of Edmonton, Alta. On May 3, Environment Canada reported a F0 tornado about six kilometres southeast of Letellier, Man.
Expect more crummy weather
Those expecting to trade in their umbrellas for short sleeves and sandals will have to wait.
The crummy cool and soggy weather we’ve been experiencing will continue for at least a little longer, says Weather Network Meteorologist Doug Gillham.
Gillham said the weather we’re experiencing now is on “a month delay.”
“Some years, we jump straight from winter to summer,” said Gillham. “Unfortunately, we’re not at risk of that this year.”
The meteorologist predicted the chilly pattern will start to disappear later this month.
“The average temperature is steadily climbing. Things will be less crummy in June,” he added. “It’s understandable that people are becoming impatient with the lack of warmth.”
Southern Ontario has been a “battle zone” between the cold front from eastern Canada and the warmth coming up from the United States, Gillham said.
Gillham is expecting a wetter than normal summer.
“I expect some dry spells, but there will be more thunderstorms than normal,” he said.