May 28, 2010 — The Atlantic hurricane season is now officially underway. US forecasters in Miami say there could be 14 - 23 named hurricanes this season. What does that mean for us in Canada?
June 1st marked day one of what could be a very active hurricane season in the Atlantic.
US forecasters in Miami say all the elements are there for an “active” to “extremely active” couple of months. That could mean more hurricanes in the Caribbean, the United States and Canada.
“The number of named storms is expected to be above the long term average,” says Chris Fogarty of the Canadian Hurricane Centre. “So 14 to 23 is expected.”
Out of those 14 to 23 storms, 8 to 14 are predicted to reach hurricane strength. In an average year, there would be about 11 named storms.
Fogarty says that their expectations are partly due to La Nina -- an area of cooler than normal water that can have a huge impact on how hurricanes form.
“So this year with those cooler waters in the south pacific we will likely have much weaker winds aloft and the storm can develop vertically. They need very little change in the winds for height,” he says. “So that's probably one of the biggest predictors we have for the coming season.”
This year's prediction of up to 23 named storms is not far behind the busiest hurricane season on record. That was 2005 -- the year that spawned Katrina and 27 other named storms.
WHAT DOES IT MEAN FOR CANADIANS?
Typically, Canadians are directly affected by at least one hurricane every year, with as many as three affecting areas off shore.
Forecasters say that our mild winter and lack of sea ice have lead to warmer than average water temperatures around Atlantic Canada. That could play a roll in more storms tracking north toward us in Canada.
Last year was a relatively quiet season overall. Hurricane Bill brushed by Nova Scotia and moisture from tropical storm Danny drenched the Maritimes and Newfoundland.
For more on how to prepare your family and your for a hurricane, click this video.