Chris accelerates towards Newfoundland, risk of flash floods
Thursday, July 12, 2018, 7:00 PM - After strengthening and peaking as a Category 2 hurricane, Chris was downgraded to a Category 1 storm Wednesday night, weakening further to a tropical storm by early Thursday. As it enters the cool and sobering waters of Canada, it has weakened further to a post-tropical cyclone as it sets out on a direct course to Newfoundland.
The Canadian Hurricane Centre issued a statement for portions of the Atlantic provinces, as they continue to track Chris and its impacts. Already, over 60 mm of rain has been recorded in Sable Island with the threat for local amounts up to 150 mm. We take a look at what we know about the storm, and what you need to know to prepare, PLUS a comparison to previous Canadian landfalls, below.
(Related: The time to prepare is now. Hurricane and emergency preparedness starts at home.)
- U.S. National Hurricane Center (NHC) and Canadian Hurricane Centre (CHC) are issuing statements on Chris
- Chris strengthened to a Category 2 storm Tuesday night as it churned of the Mid-Atlantic coast. It was downgraded to a Category 1 storm Wednesday evening and weakened further to a tropical storm by Thursday morning. Now a post-tropical cyclone
- Southeastern Newfoundland remains the most likely area that will receive direct impacts from Chris
Chris gathered strength as it churned off the coast of the Mid-Atlantic states and strengthened into a Category 2 storm on the Saffir-Simpson wind scale late Tuesday, but it was not expected to make landfall over the United States, the U.S. National Hurricane Center (NHC) said.
Chris was packing maximum sustained winds of 110 km/h by Thursday morning, and was about 470 km east of Halifax, Nova Scotia and about 440 km southwest of Cape Race, Newfoundland, the NHC said in its advisory at 11 a.m. AST.
"Chris is moving toward the northeast near 56 km/h, and this general motion is expected to continue during the next 2 to 3 days," said NHC's Thursday morning statement. "On the forecast track, the center of Chris will pass over or near extreme southeastern Newfoundland later today or tonight."
"Nova Scotia should be spared any direct impacts from Chris, other than ocean swells along the Atlantic coast beginning later this morning," said the Canadian Hurricane Centre Thursday morning.
STORM TRACK: ATLANTIC CANADA IMPACTS
The storm is venturing north of the Gulf Stream, leading it into cool Canadian waters. At the same time, an upper trough over the northeast U.S. will sweep off the coast, dramatically increasing wind shear as Chris moves toward Atlantic Canada. These factors combined will speed Chris's degradation to an extratropical low as it moves toward Newfoundland.
CLICK TO PLAY: TIMING OF RAINFALL IN NEWFOUNDLAND
Southeastern Newfoundland remains the spot most likely to be impacted by post-tropical Chris as the track still brings the storm's centre either directly over the island, or just to the south. Although no longer a tropical storm, the remnants will still bring heavy rain, strong winds, and rough surf along parts of the coast. Below is a look at current forecast conditions based on a Thursday morning statement issued by Environment Canada.
- Strongest winds from Chris will be over the southeastern half of the Avalon Peninsula where wind warnings are in effect
- Based on current track and intensity the likely range of maximum winds for these areas will be in the 80 km/h to 100 km/h range, but could potentially gust a bit higher just south of Chris' track.
CLICK TO PLAY: WIND GUST FORECAST IN ATLANTIC CANADA
- Heavy rainfall from Chris will be over the southeastern half of Newfoundland, where up to 80 mm of rain are likely for some areas
- Morning showers not associated with Chris across Newfoundland, before the bands from Chris arrive
- The outer bands from Chris become heavier later Thursday as it makes its closest approach to the island
- There is still a chance some rain could brush easternmost parts of Cape Breton Island as Chris passes by, but the likelihood for a heavy rainfall there is very low
- Rain should taper off quickly Thursday night as Chris speeds away into the North Atlantic
SURGE AND WAVES
- High waves, pounding surf and storm surge will be a consideration for the southern coastlines of the Avalon Peninsula.
- Swells along the Atlantic Coast of Nova Scotia could reach 2 to 3 metres with other southern facing coastlines of Newfoundland seeing 3 to 5 metres of swells Thursday night
- Over the southern Avalon Peninsula, swells of 6 to 8 metres are possible nearest to where Chris makes landfall, giving elevated water levels and heavy pounding surf
We will continue to monitor and update the forecast in the coming days.
WATCH BELOW: CHRIS VS. GONZALO: TWO HURRICANES WITH STRIKING SIMILARITIES
As we prepare for potential landfall and impact from Chris in Atlantic Canada, the similarities between the track of Gonzalo, which hit Newfoundland back in October 2014, are hard to ignore. Gusty winds and bands of heavy rain swept across the southern Avalon Peninsula with flooding and power outages reported as Gonzalo became extra tropical.
OTHER NEWFOUNDLAND LANDFALLS
REMNANTS OF BERYL
Tropical Storm Beryl degraded over the past weekend as it moved into less favourable atmospheric and sea surface conditions. As of Tuesday, the storm had lost its organization, and the remnants are bringing a disorganized cluster of thunderstorms over Hispaniola. The weakened system will be one to watch however, as environmental conditions will become less hostile. The NHC has flagged the zone for potential regeneration of a tropical cyclone later this week when the system is forecast to turn northward over the Bahamas.
ALTERATIONS MADE TO 2018 HURRICANE PREDICTIONS
Last week, the tropical meteorology research team at Colorado State University (CSU) Department of Atmospheric Sciences made adjustments to the original Atlantic Hurricane season forecast released back in early April. Initially forecasters anticipated a slightly above average Atlantic hurricane season, but no repeat of the 2017 season which was one of the most active and destructive this century.
With over a month of the season consumed, there has been very little activity, although the season will most likely pick-up as we move into the peak months of August and September. The new numbers released by CSU now shown a total of 14 named storms (average 12), 6 hurricanes (average 6.5) and 2 major hurricanes category 3 or stronger (average 2).
The only storm accounted for this season before Beryl is Alberto, a subtropical system that formed on May 25th in the Caribbean Sea and made landfall a few days later in Laguna Beach, Florida. With Alberto forming before June 1st, the official start of the hurricane season, this is the fourth consecutive year in which a preseason storm forms.
With files from Weather Network meteorologists Dr. Mario Picazo and Caroline Floyd, as well as Environment Canada, the National Hurricane Center and Reuters