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Canada's Parks Socked By Extreme Weather

Hurricane Maria heads toward Newfoundland. (Image credit: NOAA/NASA GOES-13 satellite.)

The United States isn't the only country that was hit hard by the extreme weather of 2011. Canada took a hit as well, especially in its national parks.

Extreme weather caused $14.8 million in damage to Canadian national parks and historic sites, reported the Global News. Storms, floods and hurricanes created piles of debris and damaged visitor centers and highways in and around the parks, leaving the parks department with an "overwhelming" amount of emergency response work, according to Parks Canada's quarterly financial report.

The damage was all done to parks on the east coast or in Quebec. Among the severe storms that impacted the parks was Hurricane Maria, which hit Newfoundland in September. These parts of Canada could be in for more of the same as the climate changes.

"It is certainly consistent with what we expect to see coming, particularly on the East Coast," Daniel Scott, of the University of Waterloo, told the Global News "There they've got the combination of sea level rise as well as increased intensity or frequency of severe storms."

Parks Canada manages 42 national parks, 167 national historic sites and four national marine conservation areas.

The damage is a big blow to Canadian parks, which are facing a budget cut of up to 10 percent. Parks may be forced to raise fees to cover expenses.

Extreme weather made headlines throughout 2011, particularly in the United States, where adeadly dozen weather disasters each caused more than $1 billion in damage. The disasters included the 343 tornadoes that struck between Alabama and Virginia in late April, the largest outbreak on record, and Hurricane Irene, the first hurricane to hit the United States since 2008.

You can follow OurAmazingPlanet staff writer Brett Israel on Twitter: @btisrael. Follow OurAmazingPlanet for the latest in Earth science and exploration news on Twitter @OAPlanet and on Facebook.

Brett Israel was a staff writer for Live Science with a focus on environmental issues. He holds a bachelor’s degree in biochemistry and molecular biology from The University of Georgia, a master’s degree in journalism from New York University, and has studied doctorate-level biochemistry at Emory University.