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Environment Canada predicts above average hurricane season for Atlantic Canada

Meteorologist Bob Robichaud at Environment Canada Hurricane Centre in 2019.
Meteorologist Bob Robichaud at Environment Canada Hurricane Centre in 2019. Jesse Thomas / Global News

Environment Canada‘s top hurricane tracker is warning of an active hurricane season approaching, which could bring as many as 19 active storms.

The average hurricane season might see a prediction of 12 active storms, says warning preparedness meteorologist Bob Robichaud.

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“All signs point to another active hurricane season this year,” said Robichaud.

The early numbers show the possibility for 13 to 19 named storms — these are at least tropical-storm strength with sustained winds between 63-118 km/h.

Robichaud said of the 19 storms predicted this season, six to ten could reach hurricane status with winds of at least 119 km/h, while another three to six could be categorized as major hurricanes.

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It’s too early to begin looking at possible storm locations and potential impact areas, as the hurricane season doesn’t usually begin until June 1 and generally runs until the end of November.

“It’s really impossible to say exactly where the storms are going to go when we look at things prior to the season, said Robichaud. ” It’s only when we have a storm that has formed or is about to form, that we can start to rely on our computer models to generate both a track forecast and an intensity forecast.”

Last year was another active hurricane season which included 18 named storms said Robichaud with three hurricane storms entering the Atlantic Canadian region.

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It was back in September when category 2 hurricane Dorian barreled its way towards Atlantic Canada, the storm made landfall as a post-tropical cyclone.

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Dorian brought heavy winds, gusting up to nearly 150 km/hr, and heavy rain which toppled trees, blew the roofs off homes, forced residents into emergency shelters and knocked a tower crane onto a high-rise building under construction in downtown Halifax.

Work underway to dismantle toppled crane in Halifax that fell during Hurricane Dorian
Work underway to dismantle toppled crane in Halifax that fell during Hurricane Dorian

With an ongoing state of emergency declared due to COVID-19, Robichaud wants Canadians to be prepared for the hurricane season and not wait until the last minute to gather all emergency supplies.

“I think this year it will be particularly important to have those preparations completed prior to the arrival of the [potential] storms because of all the other situations we are facing,” said Robichaud.
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“You are really going to want to avoid being caught up in some of those lineups with all the new [COVID-19] procedures.”