Hurricanes in Canada

Hurricanes in Canada are usually avoided because by the time they reach our lands most of their power has petered out so damages are negligible. Hurricanes maintain their momentum with warm, moist air, and after crossing over so much land to reach Canada that supply is minimized. Storms reaching the border are usually downgraded to the status of  tropical storm.

Nonetheless, we have had notable hurricanes in Canada.

 In 1775 a hurricane struck Newfoundland killing almost 4,000 Irish and British Soldiers — one of the deadliest storms in the history of Atlantic.

Hurricane Juan

Hurricane Juan slammed into Nova Scotia in September 2003, with winds surpassing 140 km/h and a deadly storm surge that caused coastal flooding. A category two storm, it killed 8 people and left over 3000 without power. Juan ripped  through the middle of Nova Scotia causing havoc in Halifax before plowing through to Prince Edward Island.

In less than an hour and a half the hurricane took down as many trees in Halifax’s 186-acre Point Pleasant Park (70% of the park’s trees) as the provinces’s logging industry takes down in an entire year.

Cleaning up the storm cost $150 million.

Hurricanes Kyle, Hortense, Gustav and Michael.

The east coast has been hit at full hurricane force by a few other storms in recent years — including Kyle (2008), Hortense (1996), Gustav (2002) and Michael (2000).

Hurricanes in Canada are likely to become tropical storms which are seen as  far inland as Ontario. Hurricane Hazel in 1954 was the storm of a lifetime — and one of the few to inflict significant damage in central Canada.

Hurricane Hazel

The “storm of a lifetime”  arrived in Southern Ontario on October 15, 1954. Forecasts anticipated that Hurricane Hazel would weaken was projected to dissipate, but it rapidly and unexpectedly re-intensified  to a full-fledged level four hurricane before making landfall.

It pummelled  Toronto and the surrounding areas with 11 1/4 inches (285 ml) of rain and winds reaching 68 mph (110 km). That is and astonishing three-hundred-million tons of water in a frightening forty-eight hours. Houses and vehicles were washed into Lake Ontario, streets were washed out and some buildings were pushed off their foundations causing them to crash into other buildings.

The flood from Hazel left 81 people dead—thirty of them on one street alone. Four thousand people were left homeless.The cost of damage was estimated at $100 million (about $1 billion today)  This does not include the costs of mold removal by individuals. The aftermath of mold related health effects are undocumented but we can be sure black mold would have an impact.

The battered Toronto landscape would take years to recover. Hazel made people realize hurricanes in Canada posed a very serious threat and brought changes to regional watershed management.