Tropical cyclone season summary: 2013

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During 2013, two weak post-tropical low pressure systems entered the Canadian Hurricane Centre (CHC) Response Zone.  On June 8th the remnant low from Tropical Storm Andrea merged with a frontal system as it approached Nova Scotia, causing some minor flooding.  All was quiet until the remnants of Tropical Depression Gabrielle approached Nova Scotia from the south on September 13th bringing heavy rain and resulting in minor flooding.

A summary of bulletins issued by the CHC is shown below, including a history of previous years.  Clearly, 2013 was the quietest in this list of seasons.  In fact, it was CHC’s least active season since 1997, when only 26 information statements were issued. 

Bulletin Summaries 2013 2012 2011 2010 2009 2008 2007 2006 2005 2004
Unique Hurricane Information Statements (WOCN3X/4X CWHX) 32 64 99 79 37 90 48 93 87 104
Number of Storms Represented by these Bulletins 2 4 8 4 2 6 4 5 7 8

Below is a summary of the two events of tropical origin that affected Canadian territory in 2013.

Summary of hurricane Andrea and Gabrielle
Long Description

Two storms of tropical origin affected Canadian territory in 2013. The first storm, Post-Tropical Storm Andrea, tracked across the southern Maritimes and just south of Newfoundland. Andrea gave significant rainfall to many areas of the southern Maritimes and southern Newfoundland. Wind impacts from Andrea were minimal. Only the Les Suetes and Wreckhouse winds reached warning criteria.  The second storm to affect Canadian territory in 2013 was Tropical Depression Gabrielle which tracked toward Nova Scotia before merging with a trough over the Maritimes. Significant rainfall occurred over parts of the Maritimes as a result of Gabrielle. Wind over land areas was relatively insignificant.

Legend Details

Indicates Point on the track of a Tropical Depression

Tropical depresssion symbol

Indicates Point on the track of a Tropical Storm

Tropical storm symbol

Indicates Point on the track of a Hurricane

Hurricane symbol

Indicates Point on the track of a Post-Tropical Storm

Post-tropical storm symbol

Andrea

Hurricane Andrea
Long Description

Tropical Storm Andrea formed from an elongated area of low pressure in the Gulf of Mexico on June 5th. This trough was actually the remnants of Hurricane Barbara that was in the East Pacific Ocean. Andrea moved northeastward and reached a peak intensity of 55 knots (102 km/h) on the morning of June 6th in the northeastern Gulf of Mexico. The storm made landfall on the northwestern coast of Florida early evening on June 6th.  Andrea continued moving northeastward over land. Early on June 7th, Andrea began merging with a baroclinic zone over South Carolina and became post-tropical that afternoon. Post-Tropical Storm Andrea then accelerated northeastward across eastern North Carolina and along the coast of New Jersey, New York and Massachusetts.

Post-Tropical Storm Andrea then moved over the Gulf of Maine along a warm front during the morning of June 8th  and began merging with a low pressure system over Nova Scotia. Post-Tropical Storm Andrea then moved into the Bay of Fundy and across Nova Scotia to lie east of Cape Breton early on the morning of June 9th as a remnant low.

The primary impact from Andrea in Atlantic Canada was heavy rainfall during the day Saturday, June 9th in the Maritimes and that night in southern Newfoundland. Many areas, particularly in the Maritimes, received well over 50 millimetres of rainfall. Gusty winds occurred but were generally not damaging and remained below warning criteria. However, the Les Suetes wind and Wreckhouse wind did exceed warning criteria and were 132 km/h and 115 km/h respectively.

Track readings issued by the Canadian Hurricane Centre:

Hurricane Andrea #3

June 6. 2013, 3 PM ADT, wind speed 90 km/h (29.1 N/83.8 W).
Status: Tropical Storm as shown by a tropical storm symbol on a blue track line.

June 6. 2013, 9 PM ADT, wind speed 85 km/h (29.8 N/83.0 W).
Status: Tropical Storm as shown by a tropical storm symbol on a blue track line.

June 7. 2013, 3 AM ADT, wind speed 75 km/h (31.3 N/81.7 W).
Status: Tropical Storm as shown by a tropical storm symbol on a blue track line.

June 7. 2013, 9 AM ADT, wind speed 75 km/h (33.3 N/79.8 W).
Status: Tropical Storm as shown by a tropical storm symbol on a blue track line.

June 7. 2013, 3 PM ADT, wind speed 75 km/h (35.5 N/78.7 W).
Status: Tropical Storm as shown by a tropical storm symbol on a blue track line.

June 7. 2013, 9 PM ADT, wind speed 75 km/h (37.0 N/77.1 W).
Status: Post-Tropical Storm as shown by a post-tropical storm symbol on a black track line.

June 8. 2013, 3 AM ADT, wind speed 75 km/h (39.5 N/74.3 W).
Status: Post-Tropical Storm as shown by a post-tropical storm symbol on a black track line.

June 8. 2013, 9 AM ADT, wind speed 75 km/h (42.4 N/70.3 W).
Status: Post-Tropical Storm as shown by a post-tropical storm symbol on a black track line.

June 8. 2013, 3 PM ADT, wind speed 75 km/h (44.2 N/67.1 W).
Status: Post-Tropical Storm as shown by a post-tropical storm symbol on a black track line.

June 8. 2013, 9 PM ADT, wind speed 65 km/h (45.6 N/63.4 W).
Status: Post-Tropical Storm as shown by a post-tropical storm symbol on a black track line.

June 9. 2013, 3 AM ADT, wind speed 65 km/h (46.1 N/58.0 W).
Status: Post-Tropical Storm as shown by a post-tropical storm symbol on a black track line.

June 21. 2013, 9 AM ADT, wind speed 65 km/h (46.7 N/55.4 W).
Status: Post-Tropical Storm as shown by a post-tropical storm symbol on a black track line.

Legend Details

Indicates Point on the track of a Tropical Depression

Tropical depresssion symbol

Indicates Point on the track of a Tropical Storm

Tropical storm symbol

Indicates Point on the track of a Hurricane

Hurricane symbol

Indicates Point on the track of a Post-Tropical Storm

Post-tropical storm symbol

Storm and Synoptic History

Tropical Storm Andrea formed from the remnants of Hurricane Barbara in the East Pacific Ocean.  Andrea moved from the southern Gulf of Mexico and crossed Florida as a tropical storm with winds near 40 kts (74 km/h).  Pockets of very heavy rain flooded parts of Florida as Andrea interacted with a frontal system. Heavy rain continued to fall along the eastern Seaboard of the U.S. as it tracked northeastward on June 7th and 8th. By the time the remnants of Andrea reached Nova Scotia the system transformed to a frontal area of low pressure.  The final position for Andrea’s minimum pressure centre was just west of Nova Scotia, in the Gulf of Maine, while a separate low pressure centre formed over the Annapolis Valley of Nova Scotia to the east within the warm front.  That low continued to move due-eastward and tracked south of the island of Newfoundland.

Conditions

This weather system was not much different than any other heavy rain-producing low pressure system that may form during the spring period. Winds were not high enough to cause damage. Due to local topographic effects, the strongest winds occurred over Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia and southwestern portions of the island of Newfoundland. Gusts in these regions were between 115 and 130 km/h which are not unusual. Below is a summary of the highest rainfall amounts associated with Andrea and the remnant/secondary low.

Station Rainfall
(mm)
Tantallon, NSFootnote* 132
Fall River, NSFootnote* 95
Sydney Mines, NSFootnote* 95
Grand Manan, NB 95
Spanish Ship Bay, NSFootnote* 88
Dartmouth, NSFootnote* 85
Greenwood, NS 76
Point Lepreau, NB 75
Halifax Stanfield Airport, NS 73

Impacts

For the most part, impacts were limited to street flooding and motor vehicle accidents.

Warnings & Information Statements

The CHC issued 14 unique information statements for this event.  There were no tropical storm watches or warnings required; however, rainfall warnings were issued by the Atlantic Storm Prediction Centre (ASPC) and the Newfoundland and Labrador Weather Office (NLWO).  Those warnings verified for about three-quarters of the warned areas.  Rainfall over Prince Edward Island and southern Newfoundland generally fell short of the warned amounts of 50 mm. The ASPC and NLWO issued gale force wind warnings, which  verified correctly with some buoys measuring 35 kts (65 km/h).

Coordination and Communications Efforts

CHC conducted approximately  20 media interviews.  One of the more challenging aspects, in terms of coordination, was determining the adequate monitoring period for this storm.  Through close coordination with the NLWO, bulletins were terminated when the centre of the remnant low dissipated just south of Newfoundland.

Gabrielle

Hurricane Gabrielle
Long Description

Tropical Storm Gabrielle formed from a tropical disturbance about 300 nautical miles south of Bermuda early on Sept. 10th. Gabrielle then moved northward towards Bermuda while intensifying and reached peak intensity of 55 knots (102 km/h) at 1200 UTC September 10th. The storm tracked to the northwest passing just west of Bermuda at 0100 UTC September 11th.  While passing west of Bermuda, Gabrielle gave tropical storm force winds and 1.43 inches (35 millimetres) of rain to the island. Tropical Storm Gabrielle then turned northeastward into a high shear environment and gradually weakened. Gabrielle became a tropical depression on the morning of Sept. 13thand became absorbed by a cold front that evening.

The main impact was heavy rainfall in the Maritimes as a result of moisture from Gabrielle streaming ahead of a cold front. Several stations reported over 50 millimetres. Impact from wind wasn’t severe. A few stations along the Eastern Shore of Nova Scotia as well as Cape Breton reported southerly gusts in the 60 to 70 km/h range.

Track readings issued by the Canadian Hurricane Centre:

Tropical Storm Gabrielle #7

Sept. 10, 2013, 9 AM ADT, wind speed 102 km/h (29.9 N/64.9 W).
Status: Tropical Storm as shown by a tropical storm symbol on a blue track line.

Sept. 10, 2013, 3 PM ADT, wind speed 93 km/h (31.1 N/64.7 W).
Status: Tropical Storm as shown by a tropical storm symbol on a blue track line.

Sept. 10, 2013, 9 PM ADT, wind speed 93 km/h (31.9 N/64.9 W).
Status: Tropical Storm as shown by a tropical storm symbol on a blue track line.

Sept. 11, 2013, 3 AM ADT, wind speed 83 km/h (32.0 N/65.0 W).
Status: Tropical Storm as shown by a tropical storm symbol on a blue track line.

Sept. 11, 2013, 9 AM ADT, wind speed 74 km/h (32.7 N/65.9 W).
Status: Tropical Storm as shown by a tropical storm symbol on a blue track line.

Sept. 11, 2013, 3 PM ADT, wind speed 65 km/h (32.7 N/66.2 W).
Status: Tropical Storm as shown by a tropical storm symbol on a blue track line.

Sept. 11, 2013, 9 PM ADT, wind speed 56 km/h (32.9 N/66.6 W).
Status: Tropical Depression as shown by a tropical storm depression on a green track line.

Sept. 12, 2013, 3 AM ADT, wind speed 56 km/h (33.0 N/67.2 W).
Status: Tropical Depression as shown by a tropical storm depression on a green track line.

Sept. 12, 2013, 9 AM ADT, wind speed 65 km/h (33.8 N/67.8 W).
Status: Tropical Storm as shown by a tropical storm symbol on a blue track line.

Sept. 12, 2013, 3 PM ADT, wind speed 65 km/h (33.8 N/67.8 W).
Status: Tropical Storm as shown by a tropical storm symbol on a blue track line.

Sept. 12. 2013, 9 PM ADT, wind speed 65 km/h (35.0 N/68.2 W).
Status: Tropical Storm as shown by a tropical storm symbol on a blue track line.

Sept. 13. 2013, 3 AM ADT, wind speed 65 km/h (35.7 N/67.5 W).
Status: Tropical Storm as shown by a tropical storm symbol on a blue track line.

Sept. 13. 2013, 9 AM ADT, wind speed 56 km/h (37.9 N/66.8 W).
Status: Tropical Depression as shown by a tropical storm depression on a green track line.

Sept. 13. 2013, 3 PM ADT, wind speed 56 km/h (41.3 N/65.3 W).
Status: Tropical Depression as shown by a tropical storm depression on a green track line.

Sept. 13. 2013, 9 PM ADT, wind speed 65 km/h (44.2 N/63.4 W).
Status: Tropical Depression as shown by a tropical storm depression on a green track line.

Legend Details

Indicates Point on the track of a Tropical Depression

Tropical depresssion symbol

Indicates Point on the track of a Tropical Storm

Tropical storm symbol

Indicates Point on the track of a Hurricane

Hurricane symbol

Indicates Point on the track of a Post-Tropical Storm

Post-tropical storm symbol

Storm and Synoptic History

Tropical Depression Gabrielle formed in the Caribbean Sea on September 4th and moved north-northwestward bringing heavy rainfall to parts of the northern Caribbean before degenerating to a tropical disturbance. Several days passed before the remnants of the depression redeveloped south of Bermuda on September9th.  The system attained tropical storm status the next day and passed over Bermuda.  Gabrielle then tracked northward and gradually weakened as it interacted with a cold front over the Eastern United States.  Gabrielle entered CHC’s Response Zone as a tropical depression, but continued to produce bursts of deep cloud convection as it merged with the front.  The depression/post-tropical low was barely discernible as it approached the Halifax area.  It had completely dissipated just before reaching land, at which time most of the remaining rainfall was exiting Prince Edward Island to the north.  

Conditions

This weather system was not much different than any other heavy rain-producing low pressure system that may form during the late summer.  Only moderate wind gusts of 50 to 70 km/h occurred over eastern Nova Scotia and thus no damage was observed.  Below is a summary of the highest rainfall amounts associated with Gabrielle.

Station Rainfall
(mm)
Parrsboro, NS 73
Western Head, NS 71
Charlottetown, PEI 55
Yarmouth, NS 53

Impacts

For the most part, impacts were limited to street flooding and motor vehicle accidents.

Warnings & Information Statements

The CHC issued 18 unique information statements for this event.  There were no tropical storm watches or warnings required; however, rainfall warnings were issued by the ASPC for central Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island.  Many of the forecast regions did not receive warning criteria, and some shorter-lead-time rainfall warnings had to be issued over western Nova Scotia as the weather system developed. Gale force wind warnings were issued and verified correctly with some buoys measuring 35 kts.

Coordination and Communications Efforts

There were about a dozen media interviews conducted by the CHC. 

The CHC and the NHC coordinated closely during the late stage of Gabrielle to maintain a consistent message and ensure the rainfall threat was highlighted until the remnant core of Gabrielle passed.  After some extended conversations, both Centres agreed to extend forecast information statements an additional six hours, as the remnants approached Nova Scotia on September 13th

 

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