Devastating floods in Louisiana

LAflood

Aerial view of flooding near Baton Rouge, LA, USA, 15 Aug 2016 (USDA)

A tropical depression-like low pressure system crawled over the American Gulf Coast states during the last week delivering a deluge to Louisiana.

Already prone to flooding due to its low elevation, some parts of the state were hammered with more than 700 mm of rain in only 48 hours.

More than 40,000 homes have been flooded with thousands forced to evacuate.

The American Red Cross has declared the Louisiana floods the worst U.S. natural disaster since Hurricane Sandy in 2012.

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Busy hurricane season predicted

Trees uprooted in St. John's, NL, 11 Sept 2012 (CP photo)

Trees uprooted in St. John’s, NL, 11 Sept 2012 (CP photo)

Forecasters at the Canadian Hurricane Centre say an active hurricane season is expected this year with an above-average number of storms.

One or two storms typically make landfall in Eastern Canada every year with another two or three entering offshore waters.

Although the season officially begins in June, hurricane activity mainly occurs between mid-August and mid-October.

The U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is predicting a 70 percent likelihood of 13 to 20 named storms, of which 7 to 11 could become hurricanes, including 3 to 6 major hurricanes.

In 2012, the Canadian Hurricane Centre monitored five tropical cyclones and issued bulletins on four storms – two which made landfall and two which stayed offshore.

On 11 September, former Hurricane Leslie struck Eastern Newfoundland causing minor damage and on 29-30 October, the far-reaching influence of Post-Tropical Storm Sandy was felt from Ontario to Atlantic Canada.

In the United States, Hurricane Isaac was the only storm to reach landfall as a hurricane in Louisiana and while Hurricane Sandy caused considerable damage in New Jersey and took 147 lives, it lost its status before striking land.

Canada’s Top 10 Weather Stories for 2012

Flooding on Robie Street, Truro, NS, 10 September 2012 (Courtesy Facebook)

Flooding on Robie Street, Truro, NS, 10 September 2012 (Courtesy Facebook)

In its annual list, Environment Canada has chosen the top weather stories of the year – from super storms to super heat, and from immense flooding to immense fires.

1. BIG HEAT
Temperatures were above normal across Canada during winter, spring and summer from coast to coast to coast.

2. ACTIVE HURRICANE SEASON
By the end of the Atlantic hurricane season, 19 named storms were recorded with Chris, Leslie, Rafael and Sandy impacting Canada.

3. BRITISH COLUMBIA FLOODING
High levels of early spring flooding in British Columbia caused washouts, and slides, evacuations and fatalities.

4. MARCH MILDNESS
The March heat wave was off the scale in every way: intense, huge and long-lasting. In Moncton, a new record monthly high of 26 C was recorded.

5. WILD PRAIRIE SUMMER
Summer on the Prairies started out with short-lived cool temperatures and ended as one of the top ten warmest on record.

6. BIG MELT
The year will go down as one of extraordinary change across the Arctic Ocean, with sea ice becoming dramatically thinner, weaker and younger and melting more easily.

7. HIGH AND DRY IN THE EAST
Higher than normal temperatures and a lack of rainfall in Eastern Canada meant a great summer for most outdoor enthusiasts but trouble for some crops and water systems.

8. URBAN FLOODING
Thunder Bay experienced record breaking flooding in May while Montreal and Toronto also found themselves with expensive floods weeks later.

9. CALGARY HAILSTORM
A monstrous hailstorm pelted Calgary with hailstones larger than golf balls on August 12th and in a matter of 10 minutes, pounding hail dimpled vehicles and riddled house siding with millions of dents.

10. SAINT JOHN RIVER ICE-JAM FLOODING
The first days of spring were marked by a mandatory evacuation for residents of Perth-Andover and Tobique First Nation when the Saint John River and several tributaries spilled onto nearby fields and roads.

2012 hurricanes stronger than average

Satellite image of Hurricane Sandy (courtesy NOAA)

Satellite image of Hurricane Sandy (courtesy NOAA)

The 2012 Atlantic hurricane season produced storms that were 30% stronger with longer duration than the thirty-year average according to the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

This season, 19 storms formed in the Atlantic basin.

Hurricane Sandy was the largest storm and proved to be the second most destructive after Hurricane Katrina.

Forecasters say the high sea surface temperature may have been a major factor on why the strength and duration of storms was so intense.

U.S. Northeast gets hammered again

Snow clearing in New York City, USA, 07 Nov 2012 (AP)

After being battered by Hurricane Sandy last week, the U.S. Northeast was hit again – this time by a Nor’easter bringing wind, rain and snow.

The heaviest snow fell in central New Jersey and eastern Connecticut where more than 30 cm was recorded.

New snowfall records were also set in some major cities:

Newark, NJ  15 cm

Bridgeport, CT  14 cm

Worcester, MA  13 cm

New York Central Park, NY 12 cm

Bangor, ME   8 cm

Atlantic City, NJ  6 cm

(Totals courtesy Accuweather.com)

October 2012 – Mild and wet

Irishtown Nature Park, 08 October 2012 (Dearing photo)

The fall mild trend continued in October in Greater Moncton.

The average temperature for the month was about 2.1 C above the 30-year-average but while it was warm it wasn’t necessarily sunny. 

Much of the month saw cloudy or overcast days the sun seldom appeared for an entire day.

While rainfall was average, slightly more than half of October’s total fell on one day (the 31st) when 51 mm came down thanks to the remnants of Hurricane Sandy.

OCTOBER 2012 ALMANAC (at the Greater Moncton International Airport)

Average HIGH  13.9 C

Average LOW  4.6 C

AVERAGE  9.3 C (about 2.1 C above normal compared to the 30-year-average)

Extreme HIGH  22.0 C (on the 3rd)

Extreme LOW  -4.0 (on the 25th)

Rainfall  97.0 mm (near normal compared to the 30-year-average)

(Data is approximate courtesy wunderground.com)

Sandy delivers mostly rain to NB

The remnants of Hurricane Sandy delivered mostly rain to New Brunswick with the heaviest amounts along the Bay of Fundy.

Moncton did receive a hefty amount of rain today – about half a month’s worth – but little wind.

Here are some rainfall totals for New Brunswick from Environment Canada:

Saint John  78.0 mm

St. Stephen  76.5 mm

Fredericton  56.8 mm

Moncton  51.0 mm

Sandy slams U.S. Northeast

Atlantic City, NJ, USA as Hurricane Sandy approaches, 29 Oct 2012 (AP)

Sandy slammed into the New Jersey coastline last night and hurled a record-breaking four metre surge of seawater at New York City. 

So far, more than 50 deaths are blamed on the storm with many victims killed by falling trees. 

Sandy knocked out power to more than eight million homes with large sections of Manhattan plunged into darkness as water pressed into the island from three sides, flooding rail yards, subway tracks, tunnels and roads. 

The U.S. National Hurricane Center announced at 8 p.m. that Sandy had come ashore near Atlantic City and although technically it was no longer a hurricane, it still brought stinging rain and wind gusts of more than 135 kph.

Winds also gusted to more than 90 kph across Southern Ontario where a woman in Toronto was killed by a falling sign.

As the storm made its way toward land, Sandy converged with a cold weather system that turned into a monstrous hybrid consisting not only of rain and high wind but of snow. 

Parts of the Appalachian Mountains received up to 90 cm of snow. 

Storm damage was projected at $10 to $20 billion, meaning it could prove to be one of the costliest natural disasters in U.S. history.

Hurricane Sandy coming ashore

Satellite image of Hurricane Sandy (courtesy NOAA)

Hurricane Sandy is expected to make landfall along the southern coast of New Jersey tonight.

Forecasters say in addition to long periods of sustained tropical storm-force winds, the storm will continue to produce historic surge levels along the coast.

In the U.S. Northeast, flights have been cancelled, train and subway service suspended, schools closed and even the New York Stock Exchange has shut down amid fears a surge of seawater could flood lower Manhattan.

The storm is being blamed for the sinking of the replica tall ship HMS Bounty off North Carolina and while the U.S. Coast Guard rescued most of the crew, two are still missing.

Environment Canada has issued wind warnings for Southern Ontario and Southern Quebec and says rainfall amounts could reach 50 mm in some areas.

No warnings have been issued for the Maritimes yet but forecasters say rain will be more of a factor than wind for the region.

U.S. East Coast braces for “Frankenstorm”

Projected path of Sandy, 26 October 2012 (courtesy NOAA)

Hurricane Sandy continues to barrel north as the lowest category hurricane just as a winter storm moves across the west and Arctic air streams south.

Forecasters say if they meet over New Jersey or New York by Tuesday morning, it could create a big mess with rain, wind, high tides, snow and possibly even tornadoes.

Being dubbed “Frankenstorm” due to its Halloween week arrival, utility companies are already preparing for expected power outages and residents on the U.S. East Coast are being told to take necessary precautions.

The Canadian Hurricane Centre is tracking the storm and says Southern Ontario will likely be impacted the most by high winds although wind and rain are also likely for the Maritimes.