Stormiest Canadian Cities

Here are rankings for major cities in Canada that most often have intense rainstorms, severe snowstorms, thunderstorms and strong winds. The tables below list the top ten stormiest cities as measured by the number of days they have each type of bad weather event. (You can also see rankings for Canada's least stormy cities.)

Which large cities rate as Canada's stormiest depends on the kind of storm. East coast cities most often endure huge dumps of rain or snow. Cities in southern Ontario see the most thunderstorms. Cities that have frequent windstorms are scattered across the country, with Prairie cities making a strong showing in the top ten.

Still, a few cities get lots of most of these types of harsh storms. While no city makes all four top ten lists for rough weather involving rain, snow, wind and thunder, several end up on three out of the four lists. These are St. John's, Newfoundland; Saint John, New Brunswick; Moncton, New Brunswick; and Windsor, Ontario.

St. John's suffers through the most days of heavy rain or snow, at 21 a year. The Newfoundland capital also tops the list for strong winds, with 16 days a year.

The two New Brunswick cities rank a close second and third for wicked weather. St. John puts up with 19 days of heavy precipitation annually and nearly four days of violent wind. Moncton sustains 16 severely wet or snowy days, plus six windy days.

While Windsor doesn't get as much intense rain and snow as the other three cities, it does have enough drenching rain (six days) and blustery wind (four days) to make the top ten of both those lists. Where Windsor particularly excels is at thunderstorms. This city tolerates more than any other in Canada, averaging 33 days a year with thunder and lightning.

The cities included in these rankings are Canada's largest metropolitan areas. These are the 33 urban regions that had over 100,000 people according to the 2011 census by Statistics Canada. The rain, snow and wind storm data are averages of weather measurements made from 1981 to 2010, while thunderstorm counts are averages for 1971 to 2000.

Most Heavy Rainstorms

Cities on both the Atlantic and Pacific coasts of Canada most often endure torrential rainstorms. Halifax, Nova Scotia leads the list with close to 15 days a year when rainfall totals at least 25 millimetres.

Average number of days a year with 25 millimetres (1 inch) or more of rain
City Days a Year
Halifax, Nova Scotia 14.6
Saint John, New Brunswick 11.6
Vancouver, British Columbia 11.5
St. John's, Newfoundland 11.4
Abbotsford, British Columbia 11.4
Québec City, Quebec 7.3
Moncton, New Brunswick 6.8
Trois-Rivières, Quebec 6.7
Windsor, Ontario 6.0
London, Ontario 5.6

Two cities narrowly miss tenth spot on this list of most days with heavy rain: Kingston, Ontario and Montréal, Quebec. They lag behind London's average by just two one-hundreths and three one-hundreths of a day respectively.

Most Severe Snowstorms

Cities of central and eastern Canada dig out from under the greatest number of blizzards. Moncton, New Brunswick and St. John's, Newfoundland top this list with their averages of just over nine days a year when fresh snow amounts to 10 centimetres or more.

Total days annually on average with 10 centimetres (3.9 inches) or more of snowfall
City Days a Year
Moncton, New Brunswick 9.5
St. John's, Newfoundland 9.3
Québec City, Quebec 8.7
Trois-Rivières, Quebec 7.5
Saint John, New Brunswick 7.5
Sherbrooke, Quebec 7.5
Saguenay, Quebec 7.4
Sudbury, Ontario 5.7
Barrie, Ontario 5.7
Montréal, Quebec 5.4

Most Frequent Thunderstorms

With one exception, Ontario cities fill out the list of ten with the most thunderstorms. Leading the rankings are Windsor and London, each seeing electrical storms on over 30 days a year.

Average number of days annually with thunderstorms
City Days a Year
Windsor, Ontario 33.2
London, Ontario 30.9
Kitchener - Waterloo, Ontario 29.3
Brantford, Ontario 29.3
Guelph, Ontario 29.2
Oshawa, Ontario 29.1
Toronto, Ontario 28.0
Hamilton, Ontario 27.7
Calgary, Alberta 27.4
Barrie, Ontario 27.0

Most Strong Winds

St. John's, Newfoundland is clearly Canada's most blustery city, with its average of 16 days a year when the wind blows fierce. No other Canadian city come close to so often experiencing winds of 63 kilometres or more an hour.

Total days per year on average with wind speeds of 63 kilometres an hour (39 miles per hour) or greater
City Days a Year
St. John's, Newfoundland 16.1
Hamilton, Ontario 9.9
Regina, Saskatchewan 8.5
Winnipeg, Manitoba 7.4
Calgary, Alberta 7.3
Moncton, New Brunswick 6.4
Toronto, Ontario 6.1
Kitchener - Waterloo, Ontario 4.8
Windsor, Ontario 4.2
Saint John, New Brunswick 3.8

Environment Canada. Meteorological Service of Canada. Canadian Climate Normals. 1981-2010 Climate Normals & Averages.

Environment Canada. National Climate Data and Information Archive. Canadian Cities are Weather Winners!

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