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

Neighbours fight a small late-night bush fire with garden hoses and shovels in Cinnabar Valley on June 5. They couldn’t get help from local fire services because the fire was located in an area under B.C. Wildfire Services jurisdiction. (Photo courtesy Muriel Wells)
Nanaimo residents on edge of city limits left to put out bush fire themselves

Cinnabar Valley residents tackle fire with hoses and buckets for two and a half hours

Nanaimo artist Dave Stevens is displaying paintings inspired by arbutus trees and the Millstone River at Nanaimo Harbourfront Library from now until the end of fall. (Josef Jacobson/News Bulletin)
Nanaimo writer and artist’s work goes up at Harbourfront library

Dave Stevens presents work inspired by arbutus trees and the Millstone River

The courthouse in Nanaimo. (News Bulletin file)
Nanaimo man, already in jail, found guilty of sexual abuse of sons

Man previously sentenced for sexual interference involving girl in Nanaimo

Stuffed toys, many with donations pinned to them, are piled in the Lions Pavilion at Maffeo Sutton Park at a vigil May 31 honouring the 215 Indigenous children whose remains were discovered outside a residential school in Kamloops. (News Bulletin file photo)
Thousands donated to child and family service agency following Nanaimo vigil

Toys and money donated to Kw’umut Lelum child and family services

A section of proposed Harbourfront Walkway between White Eagle Terrace and Battersea Road. (City of Nanaimo image)
Nanaimo’s proposed walkway extension project estimated at $25-30 million

City asking for feedback on concepts to connect Departure Bay Beach and ferry terminal

Members of the Department of Fisheries and Oceans’ Marine Mammal Response Program rescued an adult humpback what that was entangled in commercial fishing gear in the waters off of Entrance Island on Thursday, June 10. (Photo courtesy Marine Mammal Response Program)
Rescuers free humpback ‘anchored’ down by prawn traps near Nanaimo

Department of Fisheries and Oceans responders spend hours untangling whale

Police cars are seen parked outside Vancouver Police Department headquarters on Saturday, January 9, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Vancouver police officer charged with assault during an arrest in 2019

The service has released no other details about the allegations

Denmark’s Christian Eriksen receives medical attention after collapsing during the Euro 2020 soccer championship group B match between Denmark and Finland at Parken stadium in Copenhagen, Saturday, June 12, 2021. (AP Photo/Martin Meissner, Pool)
Denmark soccer player Christian Eriksen collapses during game against Finland

Eriksen was given chest compressions after collapsing on the field during a European Championship

As stories of the horrors of residential schools circulate after the Tk’emlups te Secwepemc First Nation announced it had located what are believed to be the remains of 215 children, Grand Chief Stewart Phillip of the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs said he feels a connection with the former students. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
2 sides of the same coin: Ex-foster kids identify with residential school survivors

Grand Chief Stewart Phillip says the child welfare system takes Indigenous children from their families

Nathan Watts, a member of the Tseshaht First Nation near Port Alberni, shares his story of substance use, a perspective he said isn’t seen enough. (Photo courtesy of Nathan Watts)
Public shaming, hate perpetuates further substance use: UVic researcher

Longtime addict Nathan Watts offers a user’s perspective on substance use

57-year-old Kathleen Richardson was discovered deceased in her home Wednesday, June 9, 2021. Her death is considered a homicide and connected to the slain brothers found on a Naramata forest road. (Submitted)
Condolences pour in for Kathy Richardson, Naramata’s 3rd homicide victim in recent weeks

Richardson was well liked in the community, a volunteer firefighter with a home-based salon

A person receives a COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination clinic run by Vancouver Coastal Health, in Richmond, B.C., Saturday, April 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
More than 75% of B.C. adults have 1st dose of COVID vaccine

The federal government has confirmed a boost in the Moderna vaccine will be coming later this month

Airport ground crew offload a plane carrying just under 300,000 doses of the single-shot Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine which is developed by the Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies at Pearson International Airport during the COVID-19 pandemic in Toronto on Wednesday, April 28, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
1st batch of Johnson & Johnson vaccines won’t be released in Canada over quality concerns

The vaccines were quarantined in April before they were distributed to provinces

Most Read