Hurricanes

Hurricane season officially runs from June through November when the waters of the Atlantic Ocean are warm enough to produce a tropical cyclone, a category of weather systems that includes tropical depressions, tropical storms and hurricanes.

Environment Canada's Canadian Hurricane Centre encourages Canadians to prepare for the hurricane season.

The United States' National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration outlook predicts a 70 percent likelihood of 13 to 20 named storms, of which seven to 11 could become hurricanes, including three to six major hurricanes. These ranges are well above the seasonal average of 12 named storms, six hurricanes and three major hurricanes.

Up-to-date information

Canadians can find up-to-date information on storms occurring in their area by following Environment Canada's watches and warnings from Weather.gc.ca, via e-mail subscription, on Weatheradio, or through the local media.

What to do:

Hurricane facts

  • A hurricane is a tropical storm whose winds revolve around a center of low pressure.
  • The centre is called the eye. In the eye of a hurricane there is a calm area of blue sky.
  • Around the eye there are very strong winds – a minimum speed of 120 kilometres per hour – accompanied by torrential rains.
  • Hurricanes cause more widespread damage than tornadoes because they are bigger – some as large as 1,000 kilometres across.
  • One of the most destructive effect of a hurricane is the storm surge, often causing serious flooding.

Provincial information

Provinces are responsible for dealing with emergencies such as hurricanes in cooperation with local authorities. In some cases, the federal government may be asked to assist. Each province in Atlantic Canada has a website with information on the situation in their area. Some of the sites include practical information on preparing yourself, your family and your home for a hurricane.

Federal Role

The Government of Canada's Government Operations Centre (GOC) monitors developing storms that might impact the Atlantic Provinces. The GOC coordinates the federal government's response to events of national interest such as hurricanes that may affect the safety and security of Canadians or critical infrastructure. Should municipal or provincial governments request federal assistance to deal with a hurricane then the GOC would coordinate that response.