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Canadian Tropical Cyclone Season Summary for 2008

Prepared by: Peter Bowyer

Cristobal | Hanna | Ike | Kyle

Six tropical cyclones entered the Canadian Hurricane Centre (CHC) Response Zone (RZ) in 2008. 

2008 Storm Tracks Image
2008 Storm Tracks Image

In the west Post-tropical Storm Ike entered Ontario while in the east, Tropical Storm Bertha passed south of the Grand Banks while Tropical Storm Laura clipped the outer banks. The Maritimes were hit hard with flooding rainfalls from Post-tropical Storms Cristobal and Hanna, while Nova Scotia bore the brunt of Kyle--the first hurricane to make landfall in Canada since Juan in 2003. Hurricane and tropical storm watches or warnings were issued with Hurricane Kyle for Nova Scotia and New Brunswick. The CHC issued a total of 90 information statements on six separate tropical systems.

Bulletin Summaries for 2001-2008
Bulletin Summaries20082007200620052004200320022001
Hurricane Information Statements
(WOCN3X/7X CWHX)
9048938710411368110
Number of Storms Represented by these Bulletins64578886

Cristobal (July 18-24)

Storm

On July 18, Atlantic Tropical Depression # 3 formed off the South Carolina coast. Within 24 hours it strengthened to become Tropical Storm Cristobal and tracked northeast. By July 22 Cristobal entered southwestern Maritime waters as a strong but small gale system, with winds of over 90 km/h. The storm centre remained south of Nova Scotia and Newfoundland, exiting southeastern Newfoundland waters just after midnight on the morning of July 24.

Cristobal Storm Track Image
Cristobal Storm Track Image

Conditions

While the centre of Cristobal was still more than a day away from the Maritimes rainfall moved out well ahead of it to become enhanced by a stalled frontal system over Nova Scotia. The result was intense rainfalls with the highest accumulations confined to the Atlantic coast of Nova Scotia. Even within the Halifax Regional Municipality there was a great range in the rainfall--from as low as 16 mm inland at Stanfield International Airport to as high as 145 mm at the coast at Sambro. Strong winds remained offshore and were confined to a tight core around the storm with only one report of gales coming from the East Scotian Slope NOMAD buoy, which reported a peak wind 93 km/h. Following that report the buoy stopped reporting, implying that it may have sustained damage from the storm.

Top Rainfall Reports from Nova Scotia

  • Baccaro Point – 165 mm
  • Cape Sable Island– 153 mm
  • Sambro – 145 mm
  • Spanish Ship Bay – 130 mm
  • Western Head – 95 mm

Impacts

There were widespread public and media reports of road washouts and flooded basements from along the Atlantic coast of Nova Scotia. The CHC also provided weather information to the Canadian Coast Guard in a successful rescue operation when a small yacht capsized near the track of the storm.

Warnings and Information Statements

Environment Canada’s Storm Prediction Centre in the Atlantic region issued gale and storm warnings for southern offshore waters more than a day in advance of the storm’s passage. Warnings of heavy rain in Nova Scotia were issued more than 24 hours in advance and possible rainfalls of more than 100 mm were flagged more than 12 hours in advance. The CHC issued 25 information statements.

Coordination and Communication Effort

Environment Canada provided timely weather warnings to Canadians and also support to emergency planners before the event. More than 40 media interviews were conducted by weather centre staff in association with this event. Continual consultations by the CHC during the July 20–22 period included the U.S. National Hurricane Center, the Atlantic Storm Prediction Centre, the Newfoundland and Labrador Weather Office and Environment Canada’s Client Services and Warning Preparedness Meteorologists in Nova Scotia. Direct consultation and coordination also included the Emergency Measures Organization in Nova Scotia.

Hanna (August 28–September 8)

Storm

Tropical Storm Hanna was born on August 28, reached the southern Bahamas on September 1 as a marginal hurricane, and then weakened slightly but remained a strong tropical storm until it made landfall in the Carolinas on September 6. The storm accelerated rapidly up the eastern United States seaboard as it transitioned to a post-tropical storm and moved into the western Maritimes by noon ADT on Sunday, September 7. Within 24 hours the storm centre was east of Newfoundland, but not before tracking along the Fundy coast of Nova Scotia, through eastern Prince Edward Island, northern Cape Breton, and southern Newfoundland.

Hanna Storm Track Image
Hanna Storm Track Image

Conditions

Post-tropical Storm Hanna remained at gale strength throughout its track across Atlantic Canada, bringing peak winds near 80 km/h to both the marine district and numerous inland locations in Nova Scotia and Newfoundland. A peak wind of 87 km/h was reported at Baccaro Point, N.S All four Atlantic provinces reported periods of intense rainfalls (10–30 mm in one hour) as well as significant rainfall accumulations in excess of 50 mm. The Fundy coasts of New Brunswick and Nova Scotia were hardest hit, with more than 100 mm, while most of Prince Edward Island received 60-90 mm.

Peak Provincial Wind Gusts and Rainfall for Tropical Storm Hanna
Peak Provincial Wind Gusts (km/h)Peak Provincial Rainfall (mm)
LocationGustsLocationRain
Baccaro Point, N.S.87Saint John, N.B.146
Cape Race, NL.74Port aux Basques, NL.130 (unofficial)
Harrington , P.E.I.61Parrsboro, N.S.104
Saint John Airport, N.B.56Harrington, P.E.I.96
 Burgeo, NL.70

Impacts

Widespread reports of road washouts and flooded basements--numbering in the hundreds--came from the Fundy coast of New Brunswick and throughout portions of Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island. The city of Saint John, New Brunswick, was hardest hit, with dozens of roads being closed. A washout closed part of the Southern New Brunswick Railway. Scattered power outages were also reported in Nova Scotia.

Warnings and Information Statements

Environment Canada’s Storm Prediction Centres issued warnings of gales for Maritime waters more than 24 hours in advance of their arrival and detailed rainfall warnings 18–24 hours before the arrival of the rain. Forecasts of the possibility of 100-mm rainfalls were issued 2 days in advance by the Canadian Hurricane Centre. The CHC issued 23 information statements.

Coordination and Communication Effort

During Hanna’s approach and passage, September 2–8, Atlantic Warning Preparedness Meteorologists and Canadian Hurricane Centre forecasters conducted 79 media interviews, worked closely with regional emergency measures organizations, Public Safety Canada, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, the Canadian Coast Guard, and public utility companies.

Ike (September 1–14)

Storm

After wreaking destruction in Haiti and Cuba, large Category 2 Hurricane Ike made landfall in the early morning hours of Saturday, September 13 at Galveston Texas. The remnant hurricane exited into the Atlantic 72 hours later, after weakening to a still-potent post-tropical storm following an accelerated track through Ontario, Quebec and Atlantic Canada.

Ike Storm Track Image
Ike Storm Track Image

Conditions

Post-tropical Storm Ike brought record-breaking rainfalls to some localities in eastern Canada as well as storm-force winds gusting to more than 100 km/h. Maximum rainfalls of more than 60 mm were reported in Ontario, Quebec and Labrador as Post-tropical Storm Ike tracked east northeastward. Numerous locations reported rain of 50 mm or greater in less than six hours. The heavy rain passed north of the Maritimes.

Peak Provincial Wind Gusts and Rainfall for Post-Tropical Storm Ike
Peak Provincial Wind Gusts (km/h)Peak Provincial Rainfalls (mm)
LocationGustsLocationRain
Port Colborne, ON.106Wilder Lake, ON.77
Wreckhouse, NL.98Bagotville, QC.73
Cap-Madeleine, QC.85Cartwright, NL.66
Mechanic Settlement, N.B.78Gagetown, N.B.37
St. Paul Island, N.S.74  
East point, P.E.I.67  

Impacts

The strong winds resulted in downed trees and power outages in the heavier population areas of southern Ontario and along the St. Lawrence River in Quebec. An unrelated heavy rain event the day before in Ontario created a dangerous potential for flooding. Fortunately the two events did not overlap and the weekend rain maximum was limited to 125 mm at Curunna and 115 mm at Goderich, Ontario.

Warnings and Information Statements

Meteorological Service of Canada (MSC) staff across eastern Canada issued timely and accurate weather warnings in advance of this storm system. The CHC issued 7 information statements.

Coordination and Communication Effort

The scale and nature of this post-tropical storm demanded a well-coordinated, all-hands-on-deck approach by all MSC weather services--Ontario and east. From September 11 to 15 the CHC was involved in continual consultations with the Storm Prediction Centres in Ontario, Quebec and Atlantic Canada; the Canadian Meteorological Centre; and Environment Canada Client Services and Warning Preparedness Meteorologists throughout eastern Canada. Direct consultation and coordination also included Public Safety Canada, the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources, and Ontario Conservation Authorities.

Kyle (September 25–29)

Storm

On September 25, Tropical Storm Kyle formed about 900 km east of Nassau, Bahamas. Kyle tracked almost due north for two days before reaching hurricane strength when it was 550 km east of Cape Hatteras, North Carolina. Over the following 30 hours Kyle covered more than 1000 km as it moved north-northeast, eventually making landfall in Nova Scotia as a marginal Category 1 hurricane (120 km/h) with a central pressure of 986 hPa. Landfall was just south of the boundary between Yarmouth and Digby Counties in western Nova Scotia, just north of Yarmouth, at 9:30 p.m. ADT, Sunday, September 28. Kyle marks the first hurricane to make landfall in Canada since Juan made landfall in Nova Scotia exactly 5 years earlier (12:10 a.m. ADT, September 29, 2003).

Kyle Storm Track Image
Kyle Storm Track Image

Conditions

Kyle brought sustained hurricane force winds to southwestern Maritime waters and portions of the Atlantic coast of southwestern Nova Scotia. Rainfalls near and west of the storm track--over New Brunswick, extreme western Nova Scotia, and southeastern Quebec--were in the range of 50 100 mm, although some of this came in a separate burst of tropical air which preceded Kyle. An estimated storm surge of 80 cm on top of a new moon spring tide arrived within a couple of hours of the daily high tide.

Peak Provincial Wind Gusts and Rainfall for Hurricane Kyle
Reports – Top 8 Wind GustsReports – Top 8 Rainfalls
LocationGustsLocationRain
Georges Bank Buoy128 km/hBon Accord, N.B.72 mm
Baccaro Point, N.S.124 km/hHavre-Saint Pierre, QC.70 mm
Lahave Bank Buoy115 km/hCap-Despoir, QC.66 mm
Grand Etang, N.S.106 km/hCap-Chat, QC.64 mm
Wreckhouse, NL.106 km/hGrand Manan, N.B.60 mm
Western Head, N.S.102 km/hCap-Madeleine, QC.53 mm
McNab’s Island, N.S.102 km/hYarmouth, N.S.43 mm
Lunenburg, N.S.93 km/hHalifax Airport, N.S.35

Impacts

Power outages were reported in all three Maritime provinces, with more than 40,000 Nova Scotia customers losing power for much of the night. Coastal inundation from the combined surge, waves and tide occurred in Nova Scotia’s Shelburne and Yarmouth counties and, combined with wind gusts over 100 km/h, resulted in some damage to boats, docks, wharves, beach lines, and the failure of one building under construction. The hardest hit area was Shelburne County in Nova Scotia.

Warnings and Information Statements

The Canadian Hurricane Centre issued its first bulletin more than three days before Kyle made landfall. It issued a hurricane watch for Nova Scotia’s tri-county area of Shelburne, Yarmouth and Digby 30 hours before landfall and issued an upgrade to a hurricane warning 6 hours prior to landfall. Tropical storm watches and warnings were also issued for the southern portions of New Brunswick and the southwestern half of Nova Scotia. In addition, Environment Canada’s Storm Prediction Centres in the Atlantic and Quebec regions issued various inland wind, rain and surge warnings as well marine wind warnings. The CHC issued 21 information statements as well as hurricane and tropical storm watches and warnings for Nova Scotia and New Brunswick.

Coordination and Communication Effort

Environment Canada provided timely weather warnings to Canadians and also support to emergency planners and emergency services both before and during the event. More than 160 media interviews were conducted by weather service staff in addition to two proactive technical media briefings held by the Canadian Hurricane Centre. From September 25 to 29 the CHC was involved in continual consultations with the U.S. National Hurricane Center, the Atlantic and Quebec Storm Prediction Centres, the U.S. National Weather Service (in New England), the Eastern Canadian Meteorological Aviation Centre; the Canadian Meteorological Centre, Aviation and Defence Services Halifax, and Environment Canada Client Services and Warning Preparedness Meteorologists throughout eastern Canada. Direct consultation and coordination also included Public Safety Canada and emergency measures organizations in Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island.

Additional Information

Tropical Storm Bertha clipped the southern portions of the CHC RZ on July 16 and then moved through the southeastern portions of the RZ on July 19–20, but gales did not move into Canadian waters.

On the morning of September 29, Subtropical Storm Laura formed about 1150 km southeast of Newfoundland. Laura entered the CHC RZ on September 30 as a 50-knot (93 km/h) subtropical storm and reached the extreme southeastern tip of the Southeastern Grand Banks on October 1 at the same strength. However, the storm system quickly became non-tropical despite maintaining gale-force winds. There were no impacts on land and, while gales were suspected to have occurred in the southeastern extremity of the Grand Banks, no reports were received. The CHC issued 13 bulletins.