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The Senior Climatologist with Environment Canada says his top three weather stories for 2018 in Canada all had a direct impact on Manitoba.

David Phillips has identified the British Columbia fires as the top weather story this year in our country. Phillips says at one point there were 480 fires burning across that province.

"But what really made the story was the smoke," he says. "You didn't see those fires in Manitoba, but boy you smelled them, you tasted them, you felt the polluted air."

Phillips compares the Prairie sky during that time to what you might see in Beijing or Delhi.

"Alberta, they pride themselves as being Big Sky Country," he says. "And how could you tell? You couldn't see the sky."

According to Phillips, Winnipeg had about two-and-a-half times the normal amount of smoke hours.

Number two on his list of top weather stories for 2018 was the heat across the country. He recalls parts of southern Manitoba hit 37 degrees in consecutive days.

And number three was the very dry conditions. Phillips notes it was extreme near Regina where that area experienced the driest back-to-back growing seasons in 120 years. He says in Manitoba, it wasn't quite as bad, but still, our province received only about 60 percent of normal precipitation for summer.

Phillips says there were a few significant weather stories specific to Manitoba that did not crack the Top Ten list. This includes the deadly tornado in Alonsa where a retired school teacher was killed. Phillips says it was an EF4 tornado, with wind speeds up to 285 kilometers per hour.

"It was the most powerful tornado likely in the world this year," he says. "It certainly was the number one in Canada in terms of the strength."

Then there was the early March snowstorm, which Phillips refers to as the Million Dollar Blizzard. He says the name doesn't describe the damage but refers to the good news it provided for ranchers and farmers.

"It felt like it was almost giving the ground a drink of water so that they would be ready for when seeding began," he says.

And finally, he says it was quite a year for weather in Churchill. After a brutal month of May that was very cold and snowy, Phillips says heat waves in June produced some of the warmest temperatures in all of Canada.

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