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

Fruit farmers in the Okanagan and Creston valleys are in desperate need of cherry harvesters amid COVID-19 work shortages. (Photo: Unsplash/Abigail Miller)
‘Desperate’ need for workers at Okanagan cherry farms

Fruit farmers are worried they’ll have to abandon crops due to COVID-19 work shortages

Firefighters were called to a grass fire on a hillside slope behind the post office in Summerland on Friday shortly before 2 p.m. (John Arendt - Summerland Review)
Firefighters extinguish blaze behind Summerland Post Office

Fire on hillside slope occurred Friday, June 18 shortly before 2 p.m.

A tent housing a mobile vaccination clinic. (Interior Health/Contributed)
Over 5K jabbed at Interior Health mobile COVID-19 vaccine clinics

The clinics have made stops in more than 40 communities since launching last week

Emergency crews responded to Highway 97 after a motorcycle incident. (John Arendt - Summerland Review)
Motorcyclist taken to hospital after collision on Highway 97

It is not known the extent of their injuries

The illegal open fire above Naramata continues to smoke on Friday, June 18. The fire was left to burn itself out by BC Wildfire. (Monique Tamminga - Western News)
Illegal open burn in Naramata will be left to smoke

BC Wildfire could not confirm whether the property owner had been fined

A small pod of Pacific white-sided dolphins pass by close to shore in Campbell River June 16, 2021. Still capture from video courtesy of Kimberly Hart
VIDEO: Dolphin sunset captured from Vancouver Island shore

Spectacular setting for view of travelling pod of Pacific white-sided dolphins

Earls On Top at 211 Bernard Avenue in Kelowna. (Google Maps photo)
Downtown Kelowna’s Earls ordered closed after COVID-19 transmission

Earls on Top on Bernard Avenue will be closed from June 18 to June 27

A motorycle crash has been reported on Westside Road. (Google Maps)
UPDATE: Westside Road reopened following motorcycle crash near Vernon

AIM Roads advises drivers to expect delays due to congestion

(File photo)
Penticton not holding Canada Day activities out of respect for Indigenous people

Cities across B.C. are cancelling the holiday after an increased spotlight on Canada’s dark history

Dereck Donald Sears. (Contributed/Crimestoppers)
Murder charge laid in relation to suspicious Kelowna death

Dereck Donald Sears is charged with second-degree murder in the death of Darren Middleton

Police are asking for public assistance in locating Anthony Graham who has been charged with the murders of Kamloops brothers Carlo and Erick Fryer. (RCMP photo)
2 charged, suspect at large in killings of B.C. brothers linked to gang activity: RCMP

Kamloops brothers Erick and Carlo Fryer were found deceased in May on a remote Okanagan road

Albert Health Minister Tyler Shandro and Alberta Premier Jason Kenney unveil an opening sign after speaking about the Open for Summer Plan and next steps in the COVID-19 vaccine rollout, in Edmonton, Friday, June 18, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Alberta 1st province in Canada to lift all COVID-19 public health restrictions

70.2% of eligible citizens 12 and older in the province have received a dose of the vaccine

Fraser Health registered nurse Ramn Manan draws a dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine into a syringe at a walk-up vaccination clinic at Bear Creek Park, in Surrey, B.C., on Monday, May 17, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
‘Honour our fathers’ with COVID-19 vaccine protection, B.C. urges

109 new cases Friday, 75 per cent of 12 and up immunized

Most Read