PEI

Dorian dominates 2019 weather headlines, says UPEI professor

Dorian dominated weather headlines in 2019, according to Adam Fenech, associate professor of environmental studies at UPEI.

'Dorian is certainly a lot worse than Juan primarily because it hit all of the Island'

'Dorian takes the crown, takes the gold, silver and bronze,' says Adam Fenech from UPEI. (Parks Canada)

Dorian dominated weather headlines in 2019, according to Adam Fenech, associate professor of environmental studies at UPEI.

In his annual weather year in review, Fenech said the post-tropical storm left the Island province battered and bruised.

Peak winds hit 150 km/h near Kensington. Rainfall topped 140 millimetres at Tignish Harbour.

"Dorian takes the crown, takes the gold, silver and bronze," Fenech told Mainstreet P.E.I.'s Matt Rainnie. 

"We are still cleaning up afterwards."

'Dorian is certainly a lot worse'

Fenech said Dorian had a much bigger impact on the province than hurricane Juan, which hit in 2003.

Dorian caused widespread damage when it hit the Island. (Carolyn Mellish/Facebook)

"We remember Juan really well because the damage was through Charlottetown," he said. "Dorian is certainly a lot worse than Juan primarily because it hit all of the Island."

Dorian originated in the Caribbean and devastated that region with sustained winds of almost 300 km/h. The storm left 70,000 homeless and killed at least 70 people, Fenech said.

While the storm didn't hit P.E.I. with the same punch, it did cause widespread damage.

'Quite devastating'

Maritime Electric lost more than 100 poles. The cost topped $3.5 million, the most expensive single storm to ever hit the utility.

Adam Fenech, associate professor of environmental studies at UPEI, says post-tropical storm Dorian dominated weather headlines in 2019. (Matt Rainnie/CBC)

Despite the destruction, there were no fatalities on the Island. 

A dozen firefighters had to rescue more than 30 people and five dogs after flood waters swamped Crystal Beach provincial campground.

P.E.I.'s North Shore watched as tree after tree came toppling down.

"It was quite devastating," he said. "Eighty to 90 per cent of the trees at some of the campgrounds were fallen and they'll never look the same, that's for sure."

While Dorian was the weather story of 2019, Fenech says the winter of 2015 is the story of the decade. (Laura Meader/CBC)

While Dorian may have been the biggest weather story of 2019, Fenech said it was not the biggest weather story of the past decade. 

That, he said, went to the winter that never ended — 2015. P.E.I. received a record 550 centimetres of snow.

"That's the largest amount of snow in recorded history," he said.

"So, even when our parents, or our grandparents, tell us about how bad the winters they survived, well guess what? We survived the worst in recorded history here on P.E.I."

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