5 worst storms to hit the East Coast

As Newfoundland braces for tropical storm Leslie, CBC News looks at some of the other past powerful storms to hit the East Coast.
In 2010, high winds from Hurricane Igor toppled trees in St. John's. Igor is considered the worst storm of tropical origin to have hit Newfoundland in 75 years. (Paul Daly/Canadian Press)

The East Coast has been hit by a number of powerful storms in the past. One of the earliest and deadliest recorded storms dates back to 1775. Known as the Newfoundland Hurricane, the storm was responsible for the deaths of around 4,000 mariners. The Great Nova Scotia Hurricane of 1873 is said to have killed around 500 people in the province, with 100 others losing their lives in Newfoundland. Storms in the modern-day have not been as deadly but have still caused a lot of damage.

Here are five of the worst storms to hit the East Coast in recent years:

Hurricane Juan 2003: Considered one of the most damaging hurricanes to hit the East Coast and referred to as the "storm of the century," Juan blasted onto the shores of Nova Scotia as a Category 2 storm on Sept. 29, 2003, with sustained winds of 158 km/h and with gusts over 185 km/h. Juan headed northward across Nova Scotia and weakened, before arriving in Prince Edward Island as a marginal hurricane.

The storm knocked down 100 million trees in Nova Scotia in two hours, caused major flooding that damaged homes,  marinas and harbours and left hundreds of thousands or residents of Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island without power, some for nearly two weeks. The storm was responsible for the deaths of eight people.

Tropical storm Chantal 2007: The storm, a warm-up for Noel, hit eastern Newfoundland and Labrador on July 31, causing major flooding from record-setting rainfalls that washed out roads and bridges, forcing a number of communities to declare a state of emergency. In Argentia, around 200 mm of rain fell in 12 hours, double the historic rainfall amount, according to Environment Canada.

Hurricane Noel 2007: Although bigger than Juan, Noel was much weaker but still caused a lot of damage. The hurricane was at its most deadly in the Caribbean, killing more than 100  people. By the time it hit the East Coast in early November, it had  been downgraded to a post-tropical storm. But still, with its powerful winds, gusting up to 180 km/h in some coastal areas, Noel downed thousands of trees and knocked out power to 200,000 homes and businesses. 

Hurricane Igor 2010: Environment Canada said it was the worst storm of tropical origin to hit Newfoundland in 75 years. Hurricane force winds of 140 km/h and rainfall of more than 200 mm caused widespread flooding and power outages to more than 70,000 people. Water destroyed homes, wharfs and boats and caused several highways and roads to close, including parts of the Trans-Canada Highway. There was one storm-related death and the Insurance Bureau of Canada pegged claims at $65 million, while non-insured costs were estimated at $120 million.

Hurricane Irene 2011: The Americans received the worst of Irene, which was responsible for the deaths of more than 40 people and damages between $7 billion and $10 billion. But the storm didn't leave Canada completely unscathed. It hit the St. Lawrence region of  Quebec and northwestern New Brunswick as a post-tropical cyclone before heading to Labrador. Its powerful winds downed trees and power lines while the rain caused major flooding. The storm knocked out power for 250,000 Quebecers, 50,000 people in New Brunswick and 8,000 in Nova Scotia.