Extreme weather takes $70 million toll in Ontario, says Insurance …

By Jessy Bains | Yahoo Finance Canada

Ontario’s cold, hot, and cold again weather caused over $70 million in insurance damage, says the Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC).

February’s deep freeze was followed by warm weather, which led to snowmelt, ice jams, and flooding. Heavy rain and snow in some areas in early March brought more of the same.

Feb. 4 was a record-breaking day, as the temperature jumped to as high as 15 C in parts of the province. Northern Ontario was blanketed by up to 40 centimetres of snow. There was freezing rain and drizzle from Sault. Ste Marie to Ottawa. Meanwhile, southern Ontario was soaked with rain.

“There were widespread reports of water-related damage from this event including basement leakage, sewer backups, and burst pipes,” IBC said.

“A burst water main in downtown Toronto created two sinkholes. Roads flooded in Ottawa and Cornwall due to clogged catch basins.”

IBC says the damage from this weather event alone was over $33 million.

March 9 brought strong winds, warm temperatures, followed by rain and even freezing rain in some areas.

“Throughout portions of southern Ontario there were reports of flooding and water-related damage due to heavy rain and snowmelt,” IBC said.

“Much of the damage was in Toronto and surrounding areas, caused by the melting of an unusually large snowpack. Damage included roof and basement leaks.”

The damage was close to $37 million.

IBC is calling on all levels of government to spend more on mitigating the impact of extreme weather events. It wants to see improved building codes, better land-use planning, incentives to shift the development of homes and businesses away from areas at high risk of flooding, and upgraded infrastructure to protect communities from floods.

For every dollar insurers pay out for claims, IBC estimates government pays $3 to repair the damaged public infrastructure.

Homeowners can also be proactive when it comes to these types of situations.

“It is important that property owners take precautions and protect their properties to minimize potential damage,” said Kim Donaldson, Vice-President, Ontario of IBC, in a news release.

“They should also understand their insurance policies and know whether they have overland flood coverage.”

Canada’s Changing Climate Report Confirms Increase in Extreme Rainfall

OTTAWAApril 2, 2019 /CNW/ – Today, the Government of Canada released Canada’s Changing Climate Report. This first report, part of the government’s Canada in a Changing Climate: Advancing our Knowledge for Action, provides a firm scientific foundation for future analyses and is a valuable tool for governments who are looking for ways to adapt and make their communities more resilient.

The report concludes that Canada is seeing the effects of widespread warming and projects that they will intensify in the future. Annual precipitation is projected to increase in all regions of Canada[1] and a warmer climate is expected to intensify some weather extremes. Projected increases in extreme precipitation are expected to increase the potential for future urban flooding.

The report says Canadians can expect extreme hot temperatures to become more frequent and more intense. This will increase the severity of heatwaves and contribute to increased drought and wildfire risks. While inland flooding results from multiple factors, more intense rainfalls will increase urban flood risks. Under the high emission scenario explored in this report, a current 1-in-20-year extreme rainfall event will become a 1-in-10-year event by mid-century (a two-fold increase in frequency).

The report clearly points to the need to adapt now to make our communities more resilient.

“The property and casualty insurance industry continues to see the devastating effects of this new era of an unpredictable, changing climate,” said Don Forgeron, President and CEO, IBC.

“Last year, insured damage from severe weather across Canada reached $2 billion, the fourth-highest amount of losses on record,” continued Forgeron. “However, unlike the 1998 Quebec ice storm, the 2013 Calgary floods or the 2016 Fort McMurray wildfire, no single event caused the high amount paid out for losses in 2018. Instead, Canadians and their insurers experienced significant losses from a host of smaller severe weather events from coast to coast.”

IBC has encouraged all levels of government to increase their investments in mitigating the impact of extreme weather and building resiliency to its damaging effects. In addition to advocating for upgraded infrastructure to protect communities from floods, IBC is also advocating for improved building codes, better land-use planning, and incentives to shift the development of homes and businesses away from areas that are at highest risk of flooding.

The storm that hit Ontario on February 24 and 25, 2019, with damaging wind gusts, freezing rain and blizzard conditions caused over $48 million in insured damage. This is just the first severe weather storm to hit Ontario in 2019. In 2018, insured losses from severe weather reached $1.3 billion in that province.

It is not only insurers that foot the bill for severe weather damage. For every dollar that insurers pay out for home and business insurance claims, IBC estimates that governments pays out $3 to recover the public infrastructure that is damaged by severe weather.

Follow us on Twitter @InsuranceBureau or like us on Facebook. If you have a question about home, auto or business insurance, contact IBC’s Consumer Information Centre at 1-844-2ask-IBC.

IBC issues warning for Atlantic Canada to prepare for spring storm

Environment Canada issued a mixture of snowfall and rainfall warnings for Nova ScotiaNew BrunswickPrince Edward Island and Newfoundland and Labrador. Atlantic Canadians are encouraged to monitor their local weather. The region has seen rain and snow combined with high winds overnight and is expected to continue throughout the day.

Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC) would like consumers to prepare for potential flooding to protect themselves from harm. During a severe weather event, everyone’s priority must be their personal safety and the safety of loved ones and neighbours.

Many Canadian insurers now offer some form of overland flood insurance for homeowners which, along with sewer backup coverage, helps reduce the financial hardship of these events. However, most often these products are optional and may need to be added to your home insurance policy, so it’s important to check with your insurer to confirm whether you have coverage or if you are able to purchase it.

What to expect from insurance coverage for water damage

  • Damage as a result of sewer backup may be covered by home insurance if the coverage was either included in your home policy or you purchased it as an add-on to your policy.  Varying amounts of sewer backup coverage might be available to you, so contact your insurance representative to discuss.
  • Damage to vehicles caused by water is usually covered if you carry comprehensive or all perils coverage, but remember this  coverage isn’t mandatory, so check your policy or talk to your insurance representative.
  • Not all home insurance policies in Canada cover overland flooding and only some offer coverage for groundwater seepage.
    • Overland flooding usually occurs when bodies of water, such as rivers, streams, lakes, dams and other watercourses, overflow onto dry land and cause damage.

Tips for starting the claims process

When it is safe to do so, take these steps to begin the insurance claims process:

  • Assess and document potential damage. Taking photos can be helpful.
  • Call your insurance representative to report your damage.
  • Keep good notes and be as detailed as possible when providing information. Be sure to keep all receipts related to cleanup.
  • Contact IBC’s Consumer Information Centre at 1-844-2ask-IBC (1-844-227-5422 ext 228) if you need further information about home, business or car insurance,

For more information on how to protect property against severe weather, floods and other disasters, visit IBC’s website.

About Insurance Bureau of Canada
Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC) is the national industry association representing Canada’s private home, auto and business insurers. Its member companies make up 90% of the property and casualty (P&C) insurance market in Canada. For more than 50 years, IBC has worked with governments across the country to help make affordable home, auto and business insurance available for all Canadians. IBC supports the vision of consumers and governments trusting, valuing and supporting the private P&C insurance industry. It champions key issues and helps educate consumers on how best to protect their homes, cars, businesses and properties.

P&C insurance touches the lives of nearly every Canadian and plays a critical role in keeping businesses safe and the Canadian economy strong. It employs more than 126,000 Canadians, pays $9 billion in taxes and has a total premium base of $54.7 billion.

For media releases and more information, visit IBC’s Media Centre at www.ibc.ca. Follow us on Twitter @InsuranceBureau or like us on Facebook. If you have a question about home, auto or business insurance, contact IBC’s Consumer Information Centre at 1-844-2ask-IBC.

If you require more information, IBC spokespeople are available to discuss the details in this media release.

SOURCE Insurance Bureau of Canada

It’s cold, but warming real

By David Suzuki

Weather and climate aren’t the same. It’s one thing for people who spend little or no time learning about global warming to confuse the two, but when those we elect to represent us don’t know the difference, we’re in trouble.

For a U.S. president to tweet about what he referred to as “Global Waming” because parts of the country are experiencing severe winter conditions displays a profound ignorance that would be embarrassing for an ordinary citizen, let alone the leader of a world power.

To understand the distinction, it’s important to know the difference between “global warming” and “climate change.” Although the terms are often used interchangeably, there’s a subtle difference. Current global warming refers to the overall phenomenon whereby global average temperatures are steadily increasing more rapidly than can be explained by natural factors. Much of the climate change we’re already seeing — from increasing extreme weather events to floods and drought to altered ocean currents — is a result of global warming.

That’s leading to a range of impacts, “including rising sea levels; shrinking mountain glaciers; accelerating ice melt in Greenland, Antarctica and the Arctic; and shifts in flower/plant blooming times,” according to NASA. That, in turn, affects everything from the food we grow and eat to water availability to human migration.

Both “global warming” and “climate change” refer to average long-term phenomena and effects, whereas “weather” refers to local changes in climate “on short timescales from minutes to hours to days to weeks,” such as “rain, snow, clouds, winds, thunderstorms, heat waves and floods,” NASA says.

So, what about those record cold temperatures in parts of the eastern U.S. and Canada? To start, global warming is global; it doesn’t refer to one specific place. While parts of North America are experiencing record cold, places like Australia are seeing record-breaking heat. Globally, the past four years have been the hottest on record, and the warmest 20 have occurred over the past 22 years.

Several studies show global warming is causing an increasing number of cold-weather events in eastern North America. “Warm temperatures in the Arctic cause the jet stream to take these wild swings, and when it swings farther south, that causes cold air to reach farther south. These swings tend to hang around for awhile, so the weather we have in the eastern United States, whether it’s cold or warm, tends to stay with us longer,” said Jennifer Francis, research professor of marine and coastal sciences in Rutgers’ School of Environmental and Biological Sciences, who co-authored one study published in Nature Communications.

This, according to National Geographic, also means “floods last longer and droughts become more persistent.”

The study found, “severe winter weather is two to four times more likely in the eastern United States when the Arctic is abnormally warm than when the Arctic is abnormally cold.” Winters are also colder in northern Europe and Asia when the Arctic is warm. The opposite is true in western North America, where severe winter weather is more likely “when the Arctic is colder than normal.” The effects are more pronounced when Arctic warming reaches beyond the surface, causing disruptions in the stratospheric polar vortex.

Warmer temperatures can also lead to increased precipitation, which falls as snow when temperatures drop below freezing. As a Scientific American article notes, warmer temperatures in winter 2006 prevented Lake Erie from freezing for the first time in history, which “led to increased snowfalls because more evaporating water from the lake was available for precipitation.”

Melting ice in the Arctic, Antarctic and on glaciers exposes land or sea, creating feedback loops, as dark surfaces absorb more solar heat than ice and snow, which reflect it. This accelerates warming.

So, no, a cold day where you live isn’t evidence that global warming is a “hoax.”

– David Suzuki is a scientist, broadcaster, author and co-founder of the David Suzuki Foundation.

Source: Castanet

Heavy snow and bitter cold in Environment Canada’s forecast for Ontario

TORONTO _ The Environment Canada forecast says Ontario is in for a blast of heavy winter weather today.

Snowfall warnings, and special weather advisories have been issued for most areas of the province.

A weather system moving from west to east is expected to dump five to 15 centimetres of snow across the region starting this morning. As much as 25 centimetres could fall on parts of the Greater Toronto Area.

Winds gusting to 50 kph are expected to blow the snow around, making for treacherous driving conditions.

And it will be cold, with frostbite inducing wind chill values of minus 20 C to minus 30 C.

Extreme cold warnings have been posted across northern Ontario. The forecast high today for Thunder Bay is minus 21 C with wind chill values ranging from minus 28 to minus 50.

Climatologists have long warned that extreme weather, including floods, will become more common as temperatures warm.

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