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Hurricane season over in Canada?


Shelley Steeves, reporter
October 28, 2011 — The 2011 Atlantic hurricane season is winding down -- but does that mean Canada is off the hook for a major storm?


Aside from some toppled trees, Hurricane Irene didn't have much impact on the Maritimes
Aside from some toppled trees, Hurricane Irene didn't have much impact on the Maritimes

As predicted by forecasters, the 2011 Atlantic hurricane season has been an active one.

“Right now we are up to 17 named storms, so it certainly has been an active year with respect to the number of storms out there,” says Bob Robichaud with the Canadian Hurricane Centre (CHC).

It's been fairly active here in Canada too. So far, five named storms have tracked into Canadian waters; a couple have actually made landfall.

The remnants of Hurricane Irene hit the Maritimes back in August; however, the storm had weakened considerably by the time it reached Canadian waters, and Irene's impact wasn't nearly as serious as forecasters feared.

Then, in September, Hurricane Maria hit Newfoundland as a Category 1 storm. However, it too caused minimal disruption.

“Because of the track that was so far east into the Avalon Peninsula, the strongest winds associated with Maria just remained off shore,” explains Robichaud.

Chances of Canada getting hit with a hurricane this late in the season is low
Chances of Canada getting hit with a hurricane this late in the season is low

Hurricane Katia was a category 4 storm as it approached Newfoundland, but it veered east without making landfall.

“We did dodge a few bullets this year,” says Robichaud, adding it was always unlikely that Katia would make landfall in Canada as a major hurricane.

Now that the season is winding down, does that mean Canada is off the hook?

“The chances of getting hit with a hurricane in Canada this time of the year are quite low,” Robichaud says.

However, it is possible that a post-tropical system -- like Ophelia, which hit Newfoundland in early October -- could travel far north this late in the season. The weaker post tropical storm actually caused more damage than Hurricane Maria.

“It just goes to show even a post tropical storm is something to pay attention to, even if it's not an actual hurricane,” warns Robichaud.

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