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Coronavirus pandemic could make it harder for Canadians to prep for hurricane season: meteorologist

Coronavirus pandemic could make it harder for Canadians to prep for hurricane season: meteorologist
Canada
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As the Canadian Hurricane Centre warned of another active hurricane season Friday, one of the country’s top meteorologists said the COVID-19 pandemic could make it more difficult for people to prepare for a long line of tropical storms.

“I think this year is going to be particularly important to have those preparations completed prior to the arrival of a storm because of all the other situations we’re facing,” Bob Robichaud said during the centre’s annual pre-season briefing.

“What we usually see when a storm is approaching — just one or two days prior to the storm — is lineups at stores. That is the thing you’re really going to want to avoid this year — being caught in some of those lineups.”

Robichaud said there are a number of factors behind the prediction for an active season, including the fact that ocean surface temperatures are slightly above average. The warmer the water, the more energy there is to feed a storm.

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As well, reduced vertical wind shear over the Atlantic will make it less likely that tropical storms will be pulled apart as they are forming and growing.

Meanwhile, the U.S.-based National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is also predicting an above-normal Atlantic hurricane season.

The American agency said Thursday it is expecting 13 to 19 named storms — six to 10 of which could become hurricanes. The average number of named storms is 12, of which six typically become hurricanes.

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As well, NOAA is predicting three to six major hurricanes churning out winds at 178 kilometres per hour or higher. On an average season, only three major storms develop over the Atlantic.

Last year’s hurricane season was also active, producing 18 named storms and three major hurricanes.

Among the most powerful was hurricane Dorian, which left a swath of devastation and death across the Bahamas — killing at least 70 people — before roaring over the Maritimes on Sept. 7-8.
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