Busy Atlantic hurricane season expected

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The U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is predicting hurricane activity in the North Atlantic Ocean in 2017 is likely to be above normal (45 percent) or near-normal (35 percent).

The Canadian Hurricane Centre says it responds to 4 or 5 tropical cyclone events each year on average, with 1 or 2 of those affecting Canadian land and another 2 or 3 threatening offshore waters.

Hurricanes are typically a greater concern in Canadian waters later in the season but the Canadian Hurricane Centre monitors the Atlantic Ocean year‑round for any tropical or tropical‑like cyclone that could pose a threat to Canada or its waters.

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Extreme weather closes out 2015

north pole

Image Courtesy CNN

The North Pole climbs above freezing, deadly tornadoes strike Texas, extreme heat bakes Australia and historic floods hit Britain and the American Midwest – the world is filled with extreme weather as it welcomes 2016.

A powerful and destructive North Atlantic low-pressure system brought eastern Canada an unusually warm holiday period, climbing to a spring-like 16°C in Montreal on Christmas Eve.

This was followed by heavy snow from Ontario to the Maritimes.

In the United States, tornadoes and floods left almost 50 dead.

The mighty Mississippi River has already exceeded overflow levels by four metres in some areas.

Scientists say the common cause of these events is a strong El Nino, a weather phenomenon which emerges every few years on average.

Record rainfall has brought unprecedented flooding to England and Scotland and Britain’s mean December temperature was a record-breaking 8°C, smashing the previous high of 6.9°C set in 1934.

With El Nino showing little sign of running out of steam, many scientists say 2016 could be even warmer than 2015.

Rafael brushes past Newfoundland

Rafael was downgraded from a hurricane to a post-tropical storm as it moved into the North Atlantic past eastern Newfoundland this morning.

The Canadian Hurricane Centre says rainfall was not really a factor for the island with only 6 mm reported at Cape Race.

A powerful storm surge did affect the southern Avalon Peninsula with waves crashing through a breakwater in Trepassey but there were no reports of injuries.

“Zombie hurricane” Chris

Chris in the North Atlantic, 21 June 2012 (courtesy NOAA)

Chris spent mere hours Thursday as the first Atlantic hurricane of the season and now has weakened to a tropical storm.

Forecasters called Chris a “zombie hurricane” because given its location in the North Atlantic so early in the season in colder waters, it should be dead but it continues to churn.

The storm is roughly 500 km SE of the Grand Banks off Newfoundland and is not expected to have any wind or rain impact on land.