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Canadian Tropical Cyclone Season Summary for 1989

1989 Storm Tracks Image
1989 Storm Tracks Image

Hurricane Dean (July 31 to August 9, 1989)

Hurricane Dean developed from a tropical wave that moved off the northwest coast of Africa on July 27, 1989. After becoming a depression on July 31, it reached tropical storm strength by August 1, and was upgraded to a hurricane on the morning of the 2nd.

Hurricane Dean curved northward from between the Cape Verde Islands and the Lesser Antilles toward Bermuda. After passing Bermuda, Dean turned and accelerated toward the Northeast. It reached maximum wind speeds of 169 kilometres per hour (91 knots). Dean then passed over Sable Island, Nova Scotia with winds of 120 kilometres per hour (65 knots) and gusts up to 142 kilometres per hour (77 knots). When Dean passed over, Sable Island received 15 millimetres of rain. The storm then began moving slowly, losing tropical characteristics as it moved over southeastern Newfoundland. Dean became extratropical over the North Atlantic while moving northeast at 83.3 kilometres per hour (98 knots).

There were no reported deaths or damage due to Hurricane Dean.

Hurricane Felix (August 26 to September 10, 1989)

To say the least, Hurricane Felix was a very persistent storm. Felix began as a tropical wave that moved off the African coast on August 25, 1989. Once the storm emerged from the African coast, it turned northeast into a large trough that dominated the eastern Atlantic. During the time period from August 25 to September 5, Felix strengthened to a storm, weakened to a depression, regained storm status and finally attained hurricane strength. Hurricane Felix reached a maximum wind speed of 124.5 kilometres per hour (67 knots).

Felix remained at sea while in the Canadian Hurricane Centre Response Zone and did not have a direct impact on Canada.

Hurricane Gabrielle (August 30 to September 13, 1989)

Hurricane Gabrielle emerged from an African wave near the Cape Verde Islands in August 28, 1989. It tracked westward across the tropical Atlantic while strengthening to a large Category 4 hurricane and eventually re-curved into the northern Atlantic. By September 13, the depression lost most of its tropical characteristics as it merged with a developing North Atlantic storm off Newfoundland.

Gabrielle was a very large hurricane. The eye diameter never decreased to less than 37 kilometres. Gabrielle’s powerful winds, which reached 233 kilometres per hour (126 knots), covered a very large area of the ocean and generated large ocean swells. These swells pounded the shores of the northeastern Caribbean Islands, as well as, Bermuda and the North American mainland from central Florida to the Canadian Maritimes. Swells were as high as 7 to 10 metres along the south coast of Nova Scotia. These large swells from Hurricane Gabrielle were responsible for 8 deaths along the mid-Atlantic and New England coasts. Accidents ranged from people being swept from jetties while watching the large swells to boats capsizing while trying to enter or leave inlets. Gabrielle was responsible for the death of one man when a huge wave off Gill Cove near Ketch Harbour swept him into the ocean.

Hurricane Hugo (September 10 to September 25, 1989)

Hurricane Hugo originated off the coast of Africa and its life spanned from September 10 to September 22, 1989. Hugo curved through the Tropical Atlantic and then left a path of death and destruction across the islands of the northeastern Caribbean and over portions of the Carolinas. Charleston, South Carolina reported winds of 217 kilometres per hour (117 knots) and a 1.5 metre tidal surge that flooded much of the town. In the town of McClellanville, South Carolina, a tidal surge of 5.1 metres was reported. The storm then moved northeastward across the far Northern Atlantic Ocean.

By the 23rd, Hugo had transformed into an extratropical storm. Hugo was tracked for two more days as it moved northeastward across eastern Canada and into the far north of the Atlantic Ocean. The Maritime provinces received strong winds as a result of Hurricane Hugo.

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