Hurricane season to be 'below normal,' Environment Canada says
Season could see 6 to 11 storms between June 1 and Nov. 30
Environment Canada and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) are predicting fewer hurricanes in the 2015 season.
NOAA is predicting a 70 per cent likelihood of six to 11 named storms (winds of 62 km/h or higher), of which three to six could become hurricanes (winds of 119 km/h or higher), including as many as two major hurricanes (category 3, 4 or 5, winds of 179 km/h or higher).
NOAA said coastal regions may not yet "have it easy" through the summer. Major storms have still formed after below-normal predictions, and can pose a major threat to communities. Hurricane Andrew, for example, formed in 1992 during a below-normal season.
Hurricane season runs June 1 to Nov. 30.
Environment Canada held a press conference today at its office in Dartmouth, N.S., and echoed the many predictions made by NOAA.
The main factor expected to suppress hurricanes this year is El Niño, which is already affecting wind and pressure patterns, and is forecast to last through the hurricane season.
Meteorologist Bob Robichaud said colder temperatures over the Atlantic Ocean's "main development region" will also contribute to fewer named storms.
The 2014 hurricane season produced eight named storms, four of which made it into the Canadian response zone off shorelines in Atlantic Canada.
Last July, post-tropical storm Arthur battered the Maritimes, knocking out power to more than 290,000 homes and businesses on July 5. On that day, NB Power had 140,000 customers without power.
The storm downed thousands of trees in New Brunswick, as well as power lines. It also caused damage to homes, vehicles and other property.
In November, the public safety department estimated the damage to public infrastructure at $12.6 million.
Robichaud said while hurricane storm strength is being predicted as below-average, he said it's still important "to prepare for what might hit you."