Up to 16 major storms predicted this hurricane season

Up to 16 major storms predicted this hurricane season

The Atlantic hurricane season officially began June 1, and it is shaping up to be an active season.

Environment Canada warning preparedness meteorologist Bob Robichaud is on the Island to brief the province's Emergency Measures Organization on the upcoming season, which he says won't be as active as last year.

"We're expecting anywhere around 10 to 16 name storms, that would be near average or slightly above average but not quite as busy as it was last year," Robichaud said in an interview on CBC News: Compass.

Robichaud said 2017 was the costliest hurricane season on record with more than $260 billion in damages.

Storm trackers

Robichaud said by looking at "some larger scale patterns in the atmosphere and in the ocean," Environment Canada is able to predict how active a hurricane season will be.

"However, where those storms will go depend on the actual weather of the day, so that we're not able to predict ahead of time," he said.

As the storms get closer, predicting where they will go does become easier, he said, but forecasting the intensity of the storms is where the most improvement can be made.

"Last year there were about 37 cases, of all the different storms that we saw last year, where we had what we call rapid intensification, which is an increase in 55 km/h within a 24-hour period. That happened 37 times with our 17 storms from last year, only six were correctly predicted," he said.

"That's a main concern, to try and predict the intensity of these storms."

Robichaud said there aren't any immediate threats to P.E.I., though he did say there is an area of "disturbed weather" in the southwest Caribbean that has a 20 to 30 per cent chance of becoming a more intense storm — however "no major threat to anyone right now."

More P.E.I. news