snowstorm followed by cold temperatures. But on Jan. 12, the day was warm and wet. The next day Aunt May notes, “snow all gone and air is actually hot.” Yet, on Jan. 16, the weather changed to cold and windy, and so the month went. That's the pattern we're accustomed to, but out west in recent years, British Columbia, in particular, has been hit with extremes. There's a whole new vocabulary for startling weather. I'd never heard of ‘atmospheric rivers' until late in 2021 when the west coast of Vancouver Island got close to 150 millimetres of rain during one weather event. Environment Canada listed its Top 10 weather stories for last year, which senior climatologist Dave Phillips called the “most destructive, the most expensive and the deadliest year for weather in Canadian history.” B.C. suffered through half of the big events, especially the floods in November. With his 26 years of experience, Phillips expects future weather events will be more expensive and more impactful — but not necessarily more deadly. “This year was really something from that point of view.” Last June, the town of Lytton, B.C. recorded the highest temperatures at a whopping 49.6 C, then the community was almost obliterated by a wildfire. The ‘heat dome' at the time lasted 11 days and killed hundreds. Meanwhile, on the Prairies, farmers had to try and cope with a major drought. Canada's canola and wheat production were lower by more than 35 per cent as a result, according to Statistics Canada. No wonder consumers are paying more in food costs. This past summer was the worst wildfire season Ontario has ever had to contend with. The province's largest-ever fire burned out of control near Kenora for nearly five months. Environment Canada said overall, there were 2,500 more fires in 2021 than in 2020, burning 60 per cent more land than the 10-year average. Tornados got into the weather news too. Seven blew through Ontario on July 15 alone and in November, Vancouver witnessed its first tornado in four decades. As if the province hadn't endured enough. Calgary suffered through its second big hail/rainstorm in two years and eastern Newfoundland got hammered by Hurricane Larry in September. Larry brought a high storm surge, torrential rain and big winds that took the roof off a school. It seems to me the weather lesson from 2021 is that we have to be prepared for bizarre conditions. As I write, Canada's hot spot is Brier Island at 7.3 C, while the coldest location is Rabbit Kettle in the Northwest Territories at -49.7 C. That's quite a contrast. The Weather Network's chief meteorologist Chris Scott is saying that colder water temperatures in the Pacific Ocean are creating what are commonly known as La Nina conditions, which often lead to drastic shifts across southern Canada. The result, he suggested, could bring more weather whiplash this winter as temperatures and precipitation levels swing between extremes. Scott forecasts a winter that is largely expected to bring below-normal snowfall and temperatures somewhat above seasonal norms. That would be nice, however, I'm not a skier longing for covered slopes. Back at the turn of the last century, Small History Nova Scotia noted that big jolly sleigh drives had started in mid-December. I wonder if there was sustained snow and consistently icy rinks for skating in those days — not that I'm hoping for a visit from the Polar Vortex. We sure don't need any weather drama in the season ahead. Former Advertiser and Journal reporter Wendy Elliott lives in Wolfville.