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Canadian Tropical Cyclone Season Summary for 1995

1995 Storm Tracks Image
1995 Storm Tracks Image

Hurricane Allison (June 3 to June 11, 1995)

Allison was an early season hurricane that formed over the northwest Caribbean Sea. It weakened to slightly below hurricane strength just before making landfall in north Florida. Allison was responsible for one death, which occurred in western Cuba. Even though Hurricane Allison became extratropical over the southeast United States on June 5, its remnants affected Atlantic Canada two days later with gale force winds and heavy rain. The low, with an associated area of gale to storm force winds over its southeastern semicircle, moved rapidly northeastward, skirting the eastern shore of Nova Scotia on the 8th, as it headed for Newfoundland. After passing over Newfoundland on the 9th, the gale centre turned northward, and then north-northwestward, crossing the Arctic Circle to the west of Greenland on the 11th.

Allison required no bulletins from the Canadian Hurricane Centre.

Tropical Storm Barry (July 5 to July 11, 1995)

On July 7, the Canadian Hurricane Centre began issuing bulletins on Tropical Storm Barry soon after it formed and about 18 hours prior to its entry into Canadian territory. Much of the convection associated with Barry began to weaken as the tropical cyclone continued to accelerate toward the north-northeast over cooler water. The maximum winds began to spread out away from the cyclone centre as Barry gradually lost tropical characteristics, although upper-air soundings indicated that the cyclone still exhibited a warm core when it passed near Sable Island.

On July 9, rainfall amounts as high as 95 millimetres were reported over parts of Nova Scotia with Barry just offshore heading northeast. Although gale warnings had been issued, winds were not a major factor for inland areas. The centre of the storm crossed the eastern tip of the peninsula of Nova Scotia, near Hart Island, on late in the evening of July 9 and then continued north-northeastward over Cape Breton Island. By the time Barry became extratropical early on July 10 just off western Newfoundland, the Canadian Hurricane Centre had issued 15 Prognostic Messages and 14 Hurricane Information Statements related to the storm.

As a weakening extratropical cyclone, Barry could be tracked to near the southeast coast of Labrador before losing its identity.

Hurricane Chantal (July 12 to July 22, 1995)

Hurricane Chantal originated from a tropical wave that moved off the coast of Africa on July 5. Chantal formed into a 111 kilometres per hour (60 knots) tropical storm that developed just east of the Lesser Antilles on July 12. The depression strengthened to a storm on the 14th, while centered north-northeast of Puerto Rico. On the 15th, it threatened the southeast and central Bahamas as it was moving west-northwestward, but it gradually re-curved toward the north on the 16th and 17th and did not directly affect the Bahamas.

The Canadian Hurricane Centre started issuing bulletins on Tropical Storm Chantal on July 16. The bulletins were discontinued on July 20 as Chantal moved northeast out of the Grand Banks. Even though Chantal maintained a respectable distance from land and its gale and storm force winds remained largely confined to the Grand Banks, heavy rain still managed to push northward over most of Atlantic Canada on July 18 and 19. Chantal became extratropical east of Newfoundland as it moved over the far north Atlantic Ocean.

The Canadian Hurricane Centre issued 17 Prognostic Messages and 9 Hurricane Information Statements for Chantal.

Hurricane Felix (August 8 to August 25, 1995)

Felix began as a tropical wave that moved off the African coast on August 6. The depression strengthened into Tropical Storm Felix later on the 8th and followed a west-northwestward track at 27 to 37 kilometres per hour (15-20 knots) for the next three days. Felix reached hurricane strength on August 11 while centered east-northeast of the Leeward Islands. Felix moved northwestward on August 12, and then turned more toward the north and started to weaken on the 13th. This track took the storm centre very close to Bermuda and toward the North Carolina coast.

The Canadian Hurricane Centre started issuing bulletins on Felix on August 14 as the storm, then just south of Bermuda, was forecast to head for the Carolinas possibly affecting the Canadian Hurricane Centre responsibility area.

On August 15, Nova Scotian authorities closed several beaches as 4 to 6 metre swells, which were generated two days earlier by far-away Hurricane Felix, battled the coastline, drawing scores of curious onlookers and much media attention.

Late on August 15, with Felix still expected to move inland over North Carolina and posing no apparent threat to Canadian territory, the Canadian Hurricane Centre decided to discontinue the bulletins. The next day, however, Felix stalled just off the Carolinas and started a slow clockwise loop, posing great uncertainty for both American and Canadian forecasters. On August 19, as an approaching upper trough was expected to start steering Felix to the northeast, the Canadian Hurricane Centre resumed the bulletins. Forecasting remained very difficult until Felix started moving northeast late on August 20. Felix dropped below hurricane strength on August 20 as it moved over colder water and shearing again increased.

Timely marine warnings were then issued by both the Maritimes Weather Centre and the Newfoundland Weather Centre, with Felix passing just south of Newfoundland's Avalon Peninsula on August 22. Felix became extratropical east-northeast of Newfoundland on August 22. The extratropical cyclone was tracked across the North Atlantic between Scotland and Iceland and then toward Norway.

Southeastern Newfoundland received 15 to 40 millimetres of rain from this storm. Canadian NOMAD buoys near the path of Felix generally reported near hurricane force gusts and maximum wave heights of 15 metres to the northwest of Felix and up to 25 metres to the southeast of Felix. The ‘Felix-generated' swell that affected Nova Scotia clearly proved that constant vigilance is essential even with far-away hurricanes, especially when these storms reach their peak intensity with swell propagating towards the Canadian responsibility area.

Felix was the busiest storm for the Canadian Hurricane Centre in 1995, requiring 17 Prognostic Messages and 13 Hurricane Information Statements.

Tropical Storm Iris (August 22 to September 1, 1995)

Iris formed from the first of four consecutive tropical waves to generate tropical cyclones (Iris, Humberto, Karen, and Luis) on their generally westward trek across the tropical eastern Atlantic Ocean. Iris' evolution was greatly influenced by two of those systems, Humberto and Karen.

The wave associated with the formation of Iris crossed the coast of Africa and began moving over the Atlantic Ocean on August 16. It is estimated that the system became the 10th Atlantic tropical depression of the season on the 22nd, when located to the east of the Lesser Antilles. It became Tropical Storm Iris six hours later.

The cyclone took a jog to the northwest on the 23rd and quickly strengthened. Iris moved toward the west-southwest at about 18.5 kilometres per hour (10 knots) on August 24 and 25.

On the 25th, Iris neared the Lesser Antilles. An upper-level cold low was centered then to the north of Puerto Rico. Iris weakened back to tropical storm strength. Steering currents ahead of a trough to the northwest then turned Iris generally toward the north-northwest on the 27th. On this track, Iris moved up the chain of Leeward Islands and strengthened as the shear decreased. Late on August 28, Iris regained hurricane status over the south-central Atlantic.

On September 2, Iris began interacting with nearby tropical storm Karen. The much weaker Karen was absorbed by Iris. The interaction could have contributed to Iris' erratic motion during this period.

Hurricane Iris entered Canadian territory 550 kilometres southeast of Halifax on September 3, passing just south of the Grand Banks the next day.

Tropical Storm Jerry (August 22 to August 28, 1995)

Jerry formed as a tropical depression a short distance southwest of Andros Island on August 22. Tropical Storm Jerry made landfall later on August 23 near Jupiter, Florida as a 65 kilometre per hour (35-knots) storm. However, on August 24 Tropical Storm Jerry weakened back to a tropical depression over the southeastern United States. Its remnants slowly tracked northeast and brought rain and strong winds to most of Atlantic Canada a week later.

Jerry required no bulletins from the Canadian Hurricane Centre.

Hurricane Luis (August 26 to September 12, 1995)

Luis was a Category 4 Cape Verde-type hurricane that wreaked harm and havoc on the northeastern most of the Leeward Islands, with an estimated 16 dead and $2.5 billion in damages.

Luis was first detected as a tropical wave and circulation of low clouds on August 26 over the far eastern tropical Atlantic between the coast of Africa and the Cape Verde Islands. The track heading turned from westward to northwestward on the 5th and the hurricane moved across the northeastern Leeward Islands. The centre passed directly over Barbuda and close enough to the northeast of Antigua, St. Barthelemy, St. Martin and Anguilla that the southern portion of the eyewall affected these islands. Luis was a large hurricane. The inner diameter of the eyewall was 55 kilometres as it moved over the islands.

The Canadian Hurricane Centre began issuing bulletins on powerful Hurricane Luis as it started re-curving east of Florida on the morning of September 8, about 48 hours before the storm entered Canadian territory. Appropriate marine warnings were issued on September 9 by both the Maritimes Weather Centre and the National Weather Centre about 36 hours before the effects of Luis reached their respective marine districts. On the afternoon of September 10, Luis started its transition to an extratropical storm. Luis was about 445 kilometres southeast of Halifax when it was picked up by the upper flow and started accelerating northeast.

As the storm headed northeast towards the Avalon Peninsula late on September 10, the Queen Elizabeth II luxury liner and Canadian NOMAD buoy 44141 both experienced maximum wave heights near 30 metres and hurricane force gusts. Early on September 11, Luis was quickly crossing the Avalon Peninsula and heading northeast, dumping anywhere from 60 to 120 millimetres of rain over eastern Newfoundland. The strongest winds experienced over eastern Newfoundland were northwesterly gusts of 92 to 130 kilometres per hour (50 to 70 knots) during the few hours just after Luis went by. As Luis was completing its transition to a deepening North Atlantic low on the morning of September 11, the Canadian Hurricane Centre discontinued its bulletins.

Hurricane Marilyn (September 12 to October 1, 1995)

Marilyn originated from a tropical wave that crossed from the west coast of Africa to the eastern tropical Atlantic Ocean on September 7. It became the fifteenth 1995 Atlantic tropical depression on September 12. The cyclone strengthened further, becoming Tropical Storm Marilyn shortly after that and then Marilyn reached hurricane strength on the 14th.

Over the following three days, the track gradually became directed toward the west-northwest and then the northwest. Marilyn was a Category 1 hurricane on the 14th when the centre passed about 83 kilometres to the north of Barbados, then just north of Martinique, over Dominica, to just southwest of Guadeloupe. Marilyn continued moving northwestward over the northeastern Caribbean Sea. Hurricane Marilyn devastated portions of the U.S. Virgin Islands when it hit that area with Category 2 to near Category 3 intensity on the Saffir-Simpson scale.

After passing just offshore from eastern Puerto Rico early on the 16th, the centre of Marilyn was again over the Atlantic Ocean. Marilyn began accelerating toward the north-northeast late on the 18th and its centre passed about 275 kilometres to the west of Bermuda a day later.

On September 19, the Canadian Hurricane Centre began issuing bulletins on Hurricane Marilyn. Gale and storm warnings were issued early on September 20 for the southern most marine areas off Nova Scotia and Newfoundland, but Marilyn veered sharply east later that day. Marilyn then remained just south of the 40th parallel, weakening and drifting to the southeast. The Canadian Hurricane Centre discontinued their bulletins late on September 21 as Marilyn was forecast to further weaken and curve south. Marilyn became extratropical on September 22. The remnant circulation meandered over the central tropical Atlantic Ocean for another 10 days before becoming absorbed in a frontal system.

Hurricane Opal (September 27 to October 6, 1995)

Opal originated from a tropical wave that emerged from the west coast of Africa on September 11. This depression became Tropical Storm Opal on September 30 while centered near the north-central coast of the Yucatan peninsula. The storm gradually strengthened and moved slowly westward into the Bay of Campeche. Opal strengthened into a hurricane on October 2 while centered about 275 kilometres west of Merida, Mexico.

On October 3 and 4, the hurricane turned toward the north- northeast to northeast and gradually accelerated. Opal intensified into a Category 4 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson scale early on October 4. Hurricane Opal made landfall near Pensacola Beach, Florida as a marginal Category 3 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson scale, causing extensive storm surge damage to the immediate coastal areas of the Florida panhandle. It was the first major hurricane to strike the Florida panhandle since Eloise in 1975.

Opal weakened rapidly after moving inland, becoming a tropical storm over southern Alabama and a tropical depression over southeastern Tennessee. The cyclone was declared extratropical it moved northeastward over the Ohio Valley and eastern Great Lakes into southwestern Quebec.

As the remnants of Opal moved up the Mississippi Valley into southern Ontario on October 5, this formerly devastating hurricane was still receiving much media attention. With heavy rain and strong winds forecast to affect southern Ontario and Quebec, the Canadian Hurricane Centre issued a Hurricane Information Statement on October 5 to advise the Canadian public on Opal, while clearly stressing a much weakened system. The Canadian Hurricane Centre issued another such bulletin the following morning, but since Opal entered the Canadian Hurricane Centre responsibility area as extratropical, no Prognostic bulletins were needed.

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