The record low pressure in Nova Scotia is 950.5 millibars, while Fiona is expected to crash into the Canadian Maritimes at around 930 to 935 millibars. The lowest pressure recorded in all of Canada is 940 millibars.
Eastern Canada braces for Fiona to be ‘a storm everyone remembers’
Before Fiona made her mark in the Canadian record books, here are three of the most devastating storms to make landfall.
Hurricane Juan’s passage through Atlantic Canada was unique for several reasons. The storm made landfall in Canada as a Category 2 hurricane, retaining its tropical characteristics even as it crossed Nova Scotia and passed over Prince Edward Island.
A tropical cyclone is powered by warm ocean water, while extratropical cyclones get their energy from atmospheric temperature contrasts like fronts.
Fiona, like most Atlantic hurricanes that hit Canada, is expected to lose its tropical characteristics. Juan didn’t – it hit Canada with sustained winds of 100 miles per hour, near its peak, with a minimum pressure of 969 millibars.
Juan moved quickly through the area but left a trail of devastation, causing $200 million in damage. Eight people were killed by the storm, and Halifax Stanfield International Airport recorded a maximum gust of 143 km/h (88 mph), which remains the record there.
Juan was the first storm name the Meteorological Service of Canada recommended for removal from use due to its destruction, a request granted by the World Meteorological Organization. The only other name the Meteorological Service of Canada asked to be removed was that of a severe hurricane that hit Newfoundland in 2010, Igor…
Hurricane Igor is widely considered the most destructive hurricane to hit Newfoundland. Igor, which originated from a tropical wave off the coast of Africa, developed into a strong Category 4 storm with winds of up to 155 mph.
By the time the storm reached the eastern tip of Newfoundland, it had weakened to a strong Category 1 storm. However, the storm’s ascent into higher latitudes helped increase its size significantly, becoming the second largest Atlantic hurricane on record with strong winds extending 920 miles from the center of the storm, a record only surpassed by Superstorm Sandy.
Igor actually intensified as it closed in on Newfoundland, latching onto strong frontal energy as it began to develop into an extratropical cyclone. Still, the storm made landfall as a tropical system with winds of up to 85 miles per hour.
The storm killed four people, including two in Canada. Unlike Juan, who dumped little rain across Canada, Igor flooded parts of Newfoundland with nearly 9.5 inches of rain, washing away bridges, roads and even homes. About $200 million in damage was reported.
However, neither storm was the strongest to make landfall in Atlantic Canada. That dubious honor goes to a storm that hit Nova Scotia in 1968, Ginny.
Hurricane Ginny had the highest sustained winds of any storm to hit the Canadian Maritimes.
Ginny, which looped through the southeastern United States as a Category 1 hurricane before accelerating northeastward and becoming a Category 2 storm, hit Nova Scotia with maximum sustained winds of nearly 110 miles per hour – just on the cusp of major hurricane status.
Ginny was also unusual in that the storm had dropped a significant amount of snow. When it made landfall on October 29, temperatures were cold enough in parts of Canada and the United States to produce snow. According to local reports, nearly four feet of snow fell in parts of Maine, and up to a foot of snow fell in parts of New Brunswick.
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The storm caused more than $300,000 in damage in the United States and killed three people, including two who were lost in the snowstorm earlier in the season. In Canada, power outages were widespread and high winds downed trees and power lines.
These are just three of many notable storms that have affected Eastern Canada, which has a long history of severe storms.
In 1954, the remnants of Hurricane Hazel killed 81 people, according to the Canadian Hurricane Center.
The strongest storm to pass through Canadian waters was Hurricane Ella in 1978, a Category 4 hurricane with sustained winds of over 130 miles per hour.