© JEFF HARPER/METRO
HALIFAX – The Canadian Hurricane Centre is backing U.S. predictions of an active season this year, telling residents in the Atlantic provinces they should prepare.
The Canadian centre said Friday an unusually warm tropical Atlantic Ocean is one of the factors behind the forecast of an active hurricane season, which continues a 15-year period of high hurricane activity.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration in the United States is predicting a 70 per cent likelihood of 13 to 20 named Atlantic storms.
It predicts seven to 11 could strengthen into hurricanes and three to six could become major hurricanes.
Hurricane season officially begins June 1.
The Canadian Hurricane Centre says there is little correlation between the number of storms that form in the North Atlantic and the number that make their way into Canadian waters.
“It only takes one hurricane making landfall to make it a bad season,” said Chris Fogarty, program supervisor for the Canadian Hurricane Centre. “That’s why we’re reminding Canadians that, no matter the number of storms predicted for the Atlantic, it’s time to start preparing for hurricane season.”
He said the hurricane centre responds to four or five tropical cyclones a year, with two of those affecting Canadian soil and another two or three threatening offshore waters.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration says a normal year has 12 named storms, six hurricanes and three major storms with winds over 175 kilometres an hour.
Last year was the third-busiest on record in the United States with 19 named storms. Ten became hurricanes and two were major storms, including Sandy, even though it lost hurricane status when it made landfall in New Jersey.