Hurricanes forecast to be bigger, more frequent
La Nina creating conditions for powerful storms
Environment Canada is standing by its original forecast of more and bigger storms during this year's hurricane season.
Forecasts made in May are often adjusted based on water temperatures in June, Chris Fogarty, of the Canadian Hurricane Centre in Dartmouth, N.S., said Monday.
But this year, he said, the weather system known as La Nina will have a bigger influence on possible storms.
As predicted, he said the weather system has created cooler waters in the eastern Pacific Ocean, which will allow more and bigger storms to develop.
"We've also seen the air pressure patterns change to the south of Nova Scotia in the last few weeks, which lead to a greater chance of a storm heading up the eastern seaboard of the United States," he said.
"The pressure pattern is currently in a configuration that would allow a storm to move up this way, if it were to develop right now."
Fogarty said the Caribbean Sea and the Gulf of Mexico both look ripe for storm development right now, and forecasters are watching satellite imagery closely.
"Locally warmer water temperatures along the Gulf Stream and the U.S. east coast, and the warmer weather pattern during the month of June in that area, has allowed the water temperatures to warm up a little bit," he said.
"That's not likely to have a significant impact on storm numbers per se, but it could affect the intensity of a storm if it were to move into that warmer than normal water region."
The forecast calls for 14 to 23 named storms, and three to seven major hurricanes.
There has already been one named storm. Hurricane Alex killed two people and caused severe flooding when it slammed into northeastern Mexico on July 1. It was then downgraded to a tropical storm.
The hurricane season officially runs from June 1 to Nov. 30.