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Hurricane Juan: A look back

Lyndsay Morrison, staff writer

September 28, 2010 — Seven years ago, Hurricane Juan charged across Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island. The Weather Network takes a look back at this devastating storm.

Heavy rain lashes Halifax as Juan makes landfall September 29, 2003
Heavy rain lashes Halifax as Juan makes landfall September 29, 2003

One September 28, 2003, forecasters in the United States and Canada were tracking a hurricane in the waters of the Atlantic. It was a Category 2 storm and was the sixth-named hurricane of the season. Later that night and into the early morning hours of September 29, the storm would barrel across Nova Scotia, bringing the province one of its' biggest weather events in history.

“Hurricane Juan was a storm that was a one-of-a-kind,” says Imran Adhami, a producer at The Weather Network. “It was a hurricane on Canadian land, and that was like talking about snow in Mexico. It's not something you see every day, but when it does happen you remember it.”

Juan made landfall between Shad Bay and Prospect in the Halifax Regional Municipality with peak sustained winds of 152km/h. Juan retained its hurricane strength before weakening to a post-tropical storm over Prince Edward Island.

Chris Scott is a meteorologist at The Weather Network. He was working the night Hurricane Juan made landfall.

“I remember it really starting on the Saturday before it made landfall,” says Scott. “And i looked at that storm on satellite and there was something that just twinged in that moment, thinking, 'oh boy, here we go.' This could be really something.”

Damage from Hurricane Juan
Damage from Hurricane Juan

Jeremy Chipper is The Weather Network's camera operator in the Maritimes. He was in Halifax the night of Juan's arrival.

“This was by far the most exciting and largest storm I had ever covered. Exciting, but then it got very scary.”

The storm left extensive damage across central Nova Scotia and into Prince Edward Island. Most of the damage was as a result of the high winds that whipped across the region. Damages topped $300 million.

“The next day was very surreal,” says Chipper. “Woke up in as hotel without power, without water, very little sleep. And you come out of the hotel and there's lamp poles smashed over on top of vehicles, windows blown out of the hotel, and it was sunny and humid. It's almost like someone turned the other switch and it turned into a different day.”

A state of emergency was declared in the Halifax Regional Municipality, and Canadian Forces personnel were called in to help with the clean-up.

The name “Juan” was retired in 2004 and will never be used again for an Atlantic Hurricane.

“Retiring the name of Juan was the right thing to do,” says Scott. “We've never seen the type of impact on the Maritimes that Juan produced. The modern-day infrastructure was ravaged by this storm.”

Just last week, Hurricane Igor brought a devastating amount of damage to the province of Newfoundland. As the powerful storm washed out roads, knocked down trees and flooded homes, some Canadians couldn't help but think back to that stormy day in 2003.

“Nova Scotians will will never see another Juan,” says Chipper. “That doesn't mean to say they won't see another hurricane, but there definitely will be no more Juan.”

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