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

(File photo from The Canadian Press)
Red Deer down to 66 active COVID-19 cases

Red Deer has lowest number of active cases since last November

Orange shirts, shoes, flowers and messages are displayed on the steps outside the legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Tuesday, June 8, 2021 following a ceremony hosted by the Songhees and Esquimalt First Nations in honour of the 215 residential school children whose remains have been discovered buried near the facility in Kamloops, B.C. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Alberta city cancels Canada Day fireworks at site of former residential school

City of St. Albert says that the are where the display was planned, is the site of the former Youville Residential School

FILE – Perry Bellegarde, National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations, takes part in an event on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Tuesday, July 7, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Indigenous Peoples Day must be a ‘call to action’, says Assembly of First Nations chief

Discovery of children at Kamloops residential school site must lead to change, Perry Bellegarde says

The Government of Alberta identified 115 new COVID-19 cases Sunday, bringing the provincial total to 3,089.
(Black Press file photo)
Alberta reports 100 new cases of COVID-19

The Central zone sits at 218 active cases

The Government of Alberta identified 115 new COVID-19 cases Sunday, bringing the provincial total to 3,089.
(Black Press file photo)
Red Deer drops to 71 active cases of COVID-19

Province adds 127 new cases of the virus

The border crossing into the United States is seen during the COVID-19 pandemic in Lacolle, Que. on February 12, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
VIDEO: Border quarantine to soon lift for fully vaccinated Canadians

Eligible travellers must still take multiple COVID-19 tests

Fans watch the warm-up before Game 6 between the Toronto Maple Leafs and the Montreal Canadiens in NHL playoff hockey action Saturday, May 29, 2021 in Montreal. Quebec’s easing of COVID-19 restrictions will allow 2,500 fans to attend the game for the first time in fourteen months. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Two-thirds of Canadians say governments shouldn’t lift all COVID-19 restrictions

Poll reports Canadians who gained pandemic weight say they have gained 16 pounds on average

Paul Bernardo is shown in this courtroom sketch during Ontario court proceedings via video link in Napanee, Ont., on October 5, 2018. Teen killer and serial rapist Paul Bernardo is set for a parole hearing today. The designated dangerous offender, has been eligible for full parole for more than three years. Bernardo’s horrific crimes in the 1980s and early 1990s include for kidnapping, torturing and killing Kristen French and Leslie Mahaffy near St. Catharines, Ont. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Greg Banning
Killer rapist Paul Bernardo faces parole hearing today; victim families opposed

Designated dangerous offender has been eligible for full parole for more than three years.

People look over the damage after a tornado touched down in Mascouche, Que., north of Montreal, Monday, June 21, 2021. Dozens of homes were damaged and one death has been confirmed. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
One dead and extensive damage as tornado hits Mascouche, Que., north of Montreal

Damage reported in several parts of the city, and emergency teams dispatched to sectors hardest hit

FILE - In this Nov. 29, 2020, file photo, Las Vegas Raiders defensive end Carl Nassib leaves the field after an NFL football game against the Atlanta Falcons in Atlanta. Nassib on Monday, June 21, 2021, became the first active NFL player to come out as gay. Nassib announced the news on Instagram, saying he was not doing it for the attention but because “I just think that representation and visibility are so important.” (AP Photo/John Bazemore, File)
Nassib becomes first active NFL player to come out as gay

More than a dozen NFL players have come out as gay after their careers were over

A pair of Alberta residents were arrested after police responded to a report of a woman who had allegedly been assaulted and confined against her will on June 20, 2021. (File photo)
Salmon Arm RCMP arrest 2 Albertans suspected in alleged assault, unlawful confinement

Firearms, stolen items seized including NHL hockey cards believed to be worth thousands

A man makes his way past signage to a mass COVID-19 vaccination centre at the University of Toronto’s Mississauga campus during the COVID-19 pandemic in Mississauga, Ont., on Monday, May 17, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Canadians encouraged to see mRNA shots as interchangeable as more 2nd doses open up

Doctors urge people not to hesitate if offered Moderna after getting Pfizer for their first shot

Chief of Defence Staff Jonathan Vance sits in the front row during a news conference in Ottawa on June 26, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Defence committee rises without report on Vance allegations

Committee had been investigating the government’s handling of complaints against former defence chief

Tl’etinqox-lead ceremony at the site of the former St. Joseph’s Mission in Williams Lake, B.C., June 18, 2021. (Angie Mindus photo - Williams Lake Tribune)
‘We are all one people’: Honouring residential school victims and survivors

Love, support and curiousity: Canadians urged to learn about residential schools and their impact

Most Read