HALIFAX, N.S., May 24, 2012 /CNW/ - Environment Canada's Canadian Hurricane Centre (CHC) is encouraging Canadians to prepare for the 2012 hurricane season which officially starts on June 1st. The United States' National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) outlook, released earlier today, predicts 9-15 named storms, 4-8 hurricanes, and 1-3 major hurricanes for this season.
"NOAA is predicting that this year will see near normal levels of hurricane activity in the North Atlantic Ocean, meaning that we expect to see levels of tropical storm activity in the overall Atlantic Ocean that are similar to what we've seen in recent years," says Bob Robichaud, Warning Preparedness Meteorologist with the CHC. "However we're also reminding Canadians that there is very little correlation between the number of storms that form in the North Atlantic and the number that make their way into Canadian waters."
NOAA predicts that the level of hurricane activity in the North Atlantic Ocean this year will be near normal levels, continuing a 15-year period of high hurricane activity. Hurricane activity depends on a number of factors, including: water temperatures, the presence or absence of an El Niño effect and atmospheric pressure. Warmer water temperatures tend to support or sustain hurricane development, and El Niño produces wind patterns that squelch tropical storm development. Should an El Niño effect come into play in late summer, there could be slightly less hurricane activity.
Regardless of the overall number of storms forecast for the entire Atlantic Basin, in an average year the CHC responds to four or five tropical cyclone events with one or two of those affecting Canadian soil.
"That's why we're reminding Canadians that, regardless of the number of storms predicted for the Atlantic, it's time to start preparing for hurricane season because it takes just one significant storm passing near your area to make it a bad season for you, said Robichaud."
Environment Canada encourages Canadians to prepare for hurricane season by assembling emergency kits, readying their homes and their property, and by following Environment Canada's hurricane bulletins on the internet at www.weatheroffice.gc.ca, on Weatheradio, or through local media. More information on preparing for hurricanes can also be found at http://www.getprepared.ca/.
This year marks the CHC's 25th anniversary. Since 1987, the CHC has collaborated with the United States National Hurricane Center, the academic community, Public Safety Canada and provincial and municipal emergency management organizations, to help Canadians better understand and prepare for hurricanes. During this time, the CHC has issued more than 2000 tropical cyclone bulletins, providing critical weather information to help Canadians protect themselves and their property, and helping weather-sensitive businesses and industry protect their assets and operations from the effects of high impact weather.
Hurricane season officially runs from June through November when the waters of the Atlantic Ocean are warm enough to produce a tropical cyclone, the general category of weather systems which include tropical depressions, tropical storms and hurricanes. Hurricanes typically start to become more of a concern in Canadian waters a bit later in the season; however, the CHC maintains a year-round vigil, monitoring the Atlantic Ocean for any tropical or tropical-like cyclone that may form and threaten Canada or its waters.
For more information and to view a backgrounder on this announcement, please visit the Web site of Environment Canada at http://www.ec.gc.ca/.
For further information:
Canadian Hurricane Centre
(Également offert en français)