Canadian Underwriter

Regarding Henri: How this tropical storm could impact Atlantic Canada

August 23, 2021   by Greg Meckbach

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Rip tides and waves of up to four metres could affect the Nova Scotia coast once the remnants of Hurricane Henri reach Atlantic Canada Monday.

“No significant wind is expected over Maritimes land areas at this time,” Environment Canada said Monday morning.

Hurricane Henri was downgraded to tropical storm status when it made landfall Sunday afternoon on the coast of Rhode Island, The Associated Press reported. At the time it had sustained winds of nearly 100 km/h and gusts of more than 110 km/h. Henri has since been downgraded to a tropical depression.

“There is a threat for rip tides along the Atlantic Coast of Nova Scotia today, and caution should be observed,” Environment Canada warned Monday.

Henri was about 70 km north northeast of New York City (and west of Hartford, Conn.) at 11 a.m. Eastern Time Monday. It was moving east at 2 km/h, the U.S. National Hurricane Center reported.

“Rainfall amounts will be variable but some regions in the Maritimes could see 20 to 40 millimetres by Tuesday evening,” Environment Canada said Monday. “Given the high precipitable water ahead of Henri it is conceivable some areas could see 50 millimetres or more locally.”

On Saturday night, New York City got 493 mm of rain in one hour, AP reports. On Sunday, the largest American metropolis got another 569 mm of rain, breaking the record of 470 mm set in 1994.

On Sunday afternoon, Henri was causing 5.8-metre waves in some places off the coast of Rhode Island.

“By early Monday afternoon, a weak mid-tropospheric shortwave currently moving across the Great Lakes region is expected to eject the cyclone or its remnants eastward to east-northeastward across southern New England and into the Gulf of Maine by Monday night, before dissipating near or over Nova Scotia on Tuesday,” the United States National Hurricane Centre said at 5  p.m. Sunday night.

North Atlantic hurricanes usually do not cause damage in Canada but they sometimes travel far enough north to caused insured property claims in Canada. In 2019, for example, Hurricane Dorian cost the industry more than $100 million due to damage in Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Quebec, Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland and Labrador. About 80% of Nova Scotia homes and businesses lost power after Dorian hit the province in September of 2019. Wind speeds in Halifax reached 150 km/h.

Atlantic Canada was also hit by Hurricane Matthew in 2016.

Feature image: U.S. National Hurricane Center

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