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.

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)

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.

Irene moves north after lashing New York

Bay Shore, NY, USA, 27 Aug 2011 (AP)

New York City appears to have avoided an urban disaster from Hurricane Irene although the storm made landfall early today (630-am AT along the New Jersey coastline) and brought America’s largest city to a halt.

At least 45 deaths are being blamed on Irene along the American East Coast, thousands more have been evacuated from low-lying areas and millions have been left without electricity.

A powerful storm surge flooded streets in Manhattan and Brooklyn including the Coney Island amusement area.

By late morning, Irene had been downgraded to a tropical storm as it headed north over New England on its way to eastern Quebec and northern New Brunswick.