The Journal Pioneer
Happy Labour Day weekend. We are settling into what's going to be a lovely stretch of weather.
The last of the showers will move off Newfoundland’s east coast this afternoon and everyone will be reaching for sunglasses. A strong area of high pressure nestled near Sable Island will keep the stormy weather at bay.
One year ago today, things were very different.
My Sept. 5, 2019 forecast looked like this:
“Severe winds and rainfall will have a major impact on southeastern New Brunswick, P.E.I., Nova Scotia and western Newfoundland. The highest rain totals are likely across Nova Scotia and the Gulf of St. Lawrence region, with the possibility of as much as 100 millimetres to the north and west of Dorian’s track.”
By suppertime on the 7th, Dorian was on our doorstep:
6:15 p.m. Saturday, Sept 7: just west of Halifax as a strong post-tropical storm.
Rain totals: 100 to 200 mm
Wind: Gusts to 129 km/h in and around Yarmouth NS; G104 in Sydney Cape Breton.
What was left of Dorian reached the west coast of NL at 1 p.m. NDT Sunday, tracked up the coast and weakening to a remnant low.
For comparison’s sake, Hurricane Juan hit Halifax in late September 2003 with sustained winds of 150 kilometres per hour and gusts to 170 km/h.
So far, we’ve been lucky but will that luck hold? We are experiencing one of the most active hurricane seasons on record. For the first time ever, nine tropical storms formed before August and thirteen formed before September.
Omar, the 15th named storm of the Atlantic hurricane season, petered out on Sept. 3, but it’s significant to note that on the same date last year we were tracking Dorian, only the fourth named storm of the season.
There’s never just one reason for such a dramatic increase, but sea surface temperatures are a big piece of the puzzle. SST of 28 degrees are considered to be “hurricane ready” waters. This month, those temperatures are two degrees above average. In many cases that’s the difference between a downgraded storm and a strengthening hurricane.
I will keep a close watch on the tropics and provide you with as much information, as early as possible, to keep you safe from what’s shaping up to be a record season for tropical activity in the Atlantic Basin.
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Cindy Day is the chief meteorologist for SaltWire Network