Hurricane Lee Would Not be the First Hurricane to Strike Atlantic Canada or New England

Posted: September 14, 2023 11:01 am

The latest forecast models are predicting that Hurricane Lee will make a landfall somewhere in northern New England or Atlantic Canada. While most people associate hurricane landfalls with areas farther south, neither of these locations are strangers to tropical weather. Here is a look at the hurricane history for both Atlantic Canada and New England.

Atlantic Canada Hurricane History

Despite its remote northern location, Atlantic Canada has seen its fair share of hurricane landfalls. The costliest storm in the history of Canada hit this region just last year, leaving behind a trail of destruction. Hurricane Fiona made landfall in Nova Scotia in September of 2022, packing sustained winds of 100 mph. The storm set a new record low pressure measurement for Canada, speaking to its strength.

Hurricane Dorian also made landfall in Nova Scotia in September of 2019 as a Category 1 storm. Dorian had previously reached the status of a Category 5 storm when it roared through the Bahamas prior to the landfall in Canada. Other hurricanes to come on shore in Nova Scotia include Hurricane Ginny in 1963, Hurricane Juan in 2003, and an unnamed storm in 1927. All of these were Category 3 hurricanes.

Farther to the north, the province of New Brunswick is mostly shielded from these tropical weather events. However, the province did experience one landfall in 1953 when Hurricane Carol hit as a Category 1 storm.

Moving to the east, the island of Newfoundland has seen eight hurricanes make a direct strike. The most recent was in 2021 when Hurricane Larry moved across the region. The distinction of the strongest hurricane to hit Newfoundland belongs to 2000’s Hurricane Michael that made landfall as a Category 2 storm.

New England Hurricane History

New England is also no stranger to hurricane strikes. Like Atlantic Canada, the majority of these strikes happen in the latter part of the season. Maine has only seen one hurricane landfall since records were kept beginning in 1900. Hurricane Gerda struck the state just west of Cross Island in September of 1969.

Maine was barely spared strikes from 1991’s Hurricane Bob and an unnamed storm from the year 1944. Both of these storms lost their hurricane designation right before moving onto land in Maine. Only one hurricane has officially made landfall in the state of Maine since 1900. Hurricane Gerda came inland just west of Cross Island in September 1969. Additionally, 1985’s Gloria was still a hurricane after it made its initial landfall on both Long Island and then again in Connecticut.

Hurricane Bob made landfall in Rhode Island as a Category 1 storm with maximum sustained winds of 100 mph. Bob was responsible for 17 fatalities and about $1.5 billion in damage.

Hurricane Gloria also was responsible for a significant amount of damage throughout the region. After hitting the Outer Banks of North Carolina as a Category 2 storm, the feature then went on to make landfall in Long Island as a Category 1 storm on September 12, 1985.

Hurricane Donna was another long-lived storm that made its way up into New England. The storm first struck the Florida Keys as a Category 4 monster in September of 1960. Donna then made another strike on the Florida peninsula before making a third landfall in North Carolina. This powerful storm then came on shore on Long Island as a Category 2 storm. By the time Gloria had fizzled out, it had killed 50 people and unleashed widespread damage from Florida and up through Maine.

The year 1954 is in the history books as the only year to have two hurricane landfalls on record in the Northeast. Hurricane Carol made landfall in eastern Long Island as a Category 3 storm on August 31. Less than two weeks later, Hurricane Edna made a direct strike on Massachusetts as a Category 2 storm.

The worst storm to come on shore in New England was an unnamed hurricane in 1938. This storm first hit Long Island before moving up the coast into New England. The event is responsible for between 600 and 800 deaths.

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