Post Hoc Evaluation of Hazardous Weather: Snowstorms in the Montréal, Québec, Area in March 2008

Jacques Descurieux Meteorological Service of Canada, Environment Canada, Kelowna, British Columbia, Canada

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Abstract

The post hoc evaluation of meteorological events that have severe consequences for individuals, property, economic activities, and the environment is a powerful analytical tool. The paper provides a factual and evidence-based analytical framework for the study of hazardous weather events that have major social, economic, and environmental effects. It is a process that seeks to improve and to determine the relevance of services. The analysis of the winter storms that hit the Montréal area in early March 2008 examines the relationship between the storms, the collapse of 18 roofs, the death of 3 persons, and the closure of more than 200 schools. It highlights the limited perception of the risks associated with unusual and severe winter weather. It reveals the lack of attention given in meteorology to the important paradigmatic relationship that exists between the weather elements, the associated risk factors, and the ensuing impacts. This study reveals the need for improvements in meteorological services related to risk communication and knowledge management.

Corresponding author address: Jacques Descurieux, Meteorological Service of Canada, Environment Canada, 3140 University Way, Kelowna, BC V1V1V9, Canada. Email: Jacques.descurieux@ec.gc.ca

Abstract

The post hoc evaluation of meteorological events that have severe consequences for individuals, property, economic activities, and the environment is a powerful analytical tool. The paper provides a factual and evidence-based analytical framework for the study of hazardous weather events that have major social, economic, and environmental effects. It is a process that seeks to improve and to determine the relevance of services. The analysis of the winter storms that hit the Montréal area in early March 2008 examines the relationship between the storms, the collapse of 18 roofs, the death of 3 persons, and the closure of more than 200 schools. It highlights the limited perception of the risks associated with unusual and severe winter weather. It reveals the lack of attention given in meteorology to the important paradigmatic relationship that exists between the weather elements, the associated risk factors, and the ensuing impacts. This study reveals the need for improvements in meteorological services related to risk communication and knowledge management.

Corresponding author address: Jacques Descurieux, Meteorological Service of Canada, Environment Canada, 3140 University Way, Kelowna, BC V1V1V9, Canada. Email: Jacques.descurieux@ec.gc.ca

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