Canada’s Top 10 Weather Stories 2019

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Hurricane Dorian damage in Halifax’s west end, 08 Sept 2019 (NS Power)

Canada is a land of weather extremes and this year has been no exception with frigid winter cold and stifling summer heat which brought wildfires, flooding, snowstorms and hurricanes.

Environment Canada has compiled its annual list for 2019:

  1. Another record Ottawa River flood
  2. Destructive hurricane season especially Dorian
  3. Snowy Prairie autumn
  4. Bitterly cold February nationwide
  5. Record heat continues in the Arctic
  6. Too dry early, too wet later on Prairies
  7. Blustery Halloween in the East
  8. Spring never arrives in Eastern Canada
  9. More flooding along the St. John River
  10. Fewer wildfires but more hectares burned

Here are some weather highlights for Atlantic Canada:

  • New Year’s Day takes Newfoundland by storm
  • January Maritime storm included every type of weather
  • Winter storm forces Moncton residents outside
  • February storm causes road closures in Labrador
  • Pre-Valentine’s storm across the Maritimes
  • March starts out stormy in Nova Scotia
  • Newfoundland’s icebergs please tourists and locals
  • October “weather bomb” drops lots of rain

Hurricane season begins

2018 hurricanes

Today marks the beginning of the 2019 hurricane season which will run until the end of November.

For a record fifth consecutive year, storm activity began before the 01 June official start date when Subtropical Storm Andrea formed on 20 May.

The U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is forecasting a near normal season with 9–15 named systems, 4–8 hurricanes, and 2–4 major hurricanes.

The Canadian Hurricane Centre begins issuing statements when a storm is within three days of entering a response zone covering Eastern Canada and adjacent waters.

Florence creates historic flooding

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Fallen tree traps residents inside home, Wilmington, NC, USA, 15 Sept 2018 (ABC)

Since making landfall near Wilmington, North Carolina on Friday morning as a Category 1 hurricane, Florence has claimed at least 15 lives.

Strong winds have toppled trees trapping some and even killing others in their own homes.

Now a tropical depression, the storm has been dumping epic amounts of rain (800 mm or more) on North and South Carolina which has caused flash flooding as rivers and streams spill their banks.

First responders have rescued almost 1,000 residents from floodwaters while nearly one million are without power and tens of thousands have sought refuge in emergency shelters.

Many highways have been left impassable and officials are urging drivers to stay at home and off the roads.

Chris could pose threat

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Atlantic Canada could feel an impact from Tropical Storm Chris which has formed off the coast of the Southeastern U.S.

The Canadian Hurricane Centre says the third named storm of 2018 will move northeastward and possibly strengthen to become a hurricane by early Wednesday.

The storm could weaken as it approaches Nova Scotia by Thursday.

The CHC notes there is still uncertainty in the forecast track and intensity of this system.

Beryl is the second named storm but first hurricane of the season and has been down downgraded to a tropical storm as it heads toward Puerto Rico.

Meantime, Environment Canada issued another heat warning for New Brunswick except the Fundy coast, Prince Edward Island and northern Nova Scotia as a warm, humid air mass pushes highs into the low 30s C with humidex values up to 38 on Monday.

Busy hurricane season predicted

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From left to right, Hurricanes Katia, Irma, Jose, 08 Sept 2017 (Earth Wind Map)

The Canadian Hurricane Centre is forecasting 10 to 16 named storms with five to nine becoming hurricanes this year.

One to four hurricanes is likely to be major with sustained winds of at least 178 km/h.

But 2018 is not expected to be as busy as 2017 which had 17 named storms with 10 hurricanes including a trio of destructive cyclones – Harvey, Irma and Maria.

Three storms made it into Canada’s response zone but none made landfall.

Although the season doesn’t officially start until June 1st, a subtropical storm named Alberto has already formed off the Yucatan Peninsula and will churn north across the Gulf of Mexico this weekend toward the U.S Gulf Coast.

Karen is coming!

Workers board up a hardware store in Pensacola, Florida, USA (AP)

Workers board up a hardware store in Pensacola, Florida, USA, 05 Oct 2013 (AP)

Tropical Storm Karen stalled today as it moved toward the American Gulf Coast but forecasters say it will still bring high winds and heavy rain to an area from Louisiana to Florida.

Voluntary evacuations are in place for low-lying areas of Louisiana and the mayor of New Orleans is expecting flooding and power outages.

Karen was poised to be only the second named storm to make landfall in the United States during an unusually quiet hurricane season.

The first was Tropical Storm Andrea which hit Florida in June and its remnants drenched the Maritimes.