Meteorologist Bob Robichaud of the Canadian Hurricane Centre provides an update on Hurricane Dorian in Dartmouth, N.S., on Friday, Sept. 6, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Andrew Vaughan

VIDEO: Top meteorologist predicts active hurricane season in Canada

An average of four named storms enter the Canadian Hurricane Centre’s response zone every year

The Canadian Hurricane Centre is predicting another active hurricane season this year, citing the persistence of warmer-than-average ocean temperatures.

“Everything is pointing in that direction,” meteorologist Bob Robichaud told the annual pre-season briefing Friday. “We’re pretty confident to say it won’t be as active as 2020, but it will be more active than the 30-year average.”

A total of 30 named storms were recorded in 2020 — the highest number on record.

Robichaud said a storm brewing in the middle of the Atlantic has a 90 per cent chance of becoming the first named storm of the season within the next five days — even though the season doesn’t start until June 1.

By early Thursday, the storm was about 1,100 kilometres east of Bermuda. If the low-pressure system transforms into tropical storm Ana, its formation would mark the seventh consecutive year a named storm has developed ahead of the official start of the Atlantic hurricane season.

An average of four named storms enter the Canadian Hurricane Centre’s response zone every year. “But it takes only one storm to make it a bad year,” Robichaud said.

Meanwhile, the U.S.-based National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration also called for a busy season Thursday, saying there could be between 13 and 20 named storms this year, which could include between six and ten hurricanes.

An average season produces about 14 tropical storms and seven hurricanes. A Category 1 hurricane produces sustained winds in excess of 119 kilometres per hour.

“Hurricanes take heat that is stored in the ocean and they pump it into the atmosphere to balance the ocean temperatures,” Robichaud said. “When you see warmer than average temperatures in the Atlantic … that’s one of the drivers.”

As well, the atmospheric phenomenon known as El Niña could also play a role, he said.

With an El Niña period just coming to an end, sea surface temperatures across the eastern part of the central Pacific Ocean have been cooled, which can contribute to the creation of more tropical storms over the Atlantic.

American meteorologists are expecting between three and five major hurricanes to appear. The annual average is three. A major hurricane generates sustained winds at 177 km/h.

On another front, Robichaud said the process for naming storms has changed for 2021, mainly because there was confusion last year when the alphabetical list was exhausted and the Greek alphabet was used.

Some of the similar-sounding Greek names — like Zeta and Eta — made it difficult for people to distinguish between storms. As a result, the World Meteorological Organization drafted a permanent list of 21 supplemental names. The new list is similar to the annual list in that it uses a mix of male and female names drawn from English, French and Spanish origins.

Last year, eight named storms entered the Canadian zone, but only four of them warranted bulletins from the centre, based in Dartmouth, N.S. Isaias brought heavy rainfall and power outages to southeastern Quebec in August.

And on Sept. 23, 2020, post tropical storm Teddy roared ashore in eastern Nova Scotia and then trudged across southern Cape Breton. Its winds of 100 km/h caused widespread power outages — but not much damage.

The 2019 season was also active, producing 18 named storms and three major hurricanes, including Dorian. That storm left a swath of devastation and death across the Bahamas — killing at least 70 people — before roaring over the Maritimes on Sept. 7-8.

Its hurricane-force winds knocked out electricity in all three provinces, leaving more than 500,000 homes and businesses in the dark for up to a week while causing an estimated $140 million in damage — two-thirds of which was reported in Nova Scotia.

Michael MacDonald, The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism? Make a donation here.

Weather

Just Posted

(Adam Louis/Observer)
PHOTOS: Students leap into action in track events at Kent Elementary

At Kent Elementary, when the sun’s outside, the fun’s outside. The intermediate… Continue reading

Kindergarten kids from Evans elementary school in Chilliwack painted rocks with orange hearts and delivered them to Sto:lo Elders Lodge recently after learning about residential schools. (Laura Bridge photo)
Kindergarten class paints rocks with orange hearts in Chilliwack for local elders

‘Compassion and empathy’ being shown by kids learning about residential schools

Chilliwack potter Cathy Terepocki (left) and Indigenous enhancement teachers Val Tosoff (striped top) and Christine Seymour (fuchsia coat), along with students at Vedder middle school, look at some of the 500-plus pinch pots on Thursday, June 10 made by the kids to honour the 215 children found at Kamloops Indian Residential School. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
Chilliwack students make hundreds of tiny clay pots in honour of 215 Indigenous children

‘I think the healing process has begun,’ says teacher about Vedder middle school project

Image by Free-Photos from Pixabay
Webinar looks at sexual abuse prevention among adolescents

Vancouver/Fraser Valley CoSA hosts free online session on June 15

One person was transported to hospital with minor injuries following a two-vehicle crash on Hot Springs Road June 10. (Adam Louis/Observer)
One hurt following two-vehicle crash on Hot Springs Road

Agassiz Fire Department, B.C. Ambulance Service attended with RCMP

At an outdoor drive-in convocation ceremony, Mount Royal University bestows an honorary Doctor of Laws on Blackfoot Elder and residential school survivor Clarence Wolfleg in Calgary on Tuesday, June 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
‘You didn’t get the best of me’: Residential school survivor gets honorary doctorate

Clarence Wolfleg receives honorary doctorate from Mount Royal University, the highest honour the school gives out

A million-dollar ticket was sold to an individual in Vernon from the Lotto Max draw Friday, June 11, 2021. (Photo courtesy of BCLC)
Lottery ticket worth $1 million sold in Vernon

One lucky individual holds one of 20 tickets worth $1 million from Friday’s Lotto Max draw

“65 years, I’ve carried the stories in my mind and live it every day,” says Jack Kruger. (Athena Bonneau)
‘Maybe this time they will listen’: Survivor shares stories from B.C. residential school

Jack Kruger, living in Syilx territory, wasn’t surprised by news of 215 children’s remains found on the grounds of the former Kamloops Indian Residential School

A logging truck carries its load down the Elaho Valley near in Squamish, B.C. in this file photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chuck Stoody
Squamish Nation calls for old-growth logging moratorium in its territory

The nation says 44% of old-growth forests in its 6,900-square kilometre territory are protected while the rest remain at risk

Flowers and cards are left at a makeshift memorial at a monument outside the former Kamloops Indian Residential School to honour the 215 children whose remains are believed to have been discovered buried near the city in Kamloops, B.C., on Monday, May 31, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
‘Pick a Sunday:’ Indigenous leaders ask Catholics to stay home, push for apology

Indigenous leaders are calling on Catholics to stand in solidarity with residential school survivors by not attending church services

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good
Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

“They will never be forgotten, every child matters,” says Sioux Valley Chief Jennifer Bone in a video statement June 1. (Screen grab)
104 ‘potential graves’ detected at site of former residential school in Manitoba

Sioux Valley Dakota Nation working to identify, repatriate students buried near former Brandon residential school

The Queen Victoria statue at the B.C. legislature was splattered with what looks like red paint on Friday. (Nicole Crescenzi/News Staff)
Queen Victoria statue at B.C. legislature vandalized Friday

Statue splattered with red paint by old growth forest proponents

Most Read