Last fall as kids on Prince Edward Island were returning to school and farmers were preparing to harvest crops, a Dorian roared across the Maritimes, uprooting thousands of trees and downing power poles and lines.
Dorian crossed the eastern tip of Prince Edward Island shortly after midnight on Sept. 8, 2019, as a post-tropical storm.
Unlike Hurricane Juan in 2003, Dorian was no longer a tropical cyclone as it roared across the Maritimes. This transition into a post-tropical storm allowed its heavy rain and strong wind field to expand further from the storm's centre, affecting a much larger area than Juan.
While Juan did see stronger winds reported to the east of its track over the Charlottetown area, peak wind gusts near or in excess of 100 kilometres per hour were recorded from tip to tip as Dorian moved through.
Dorian's rainfall totals were also far heavier than Juan's, with parts of western P.E.I. seeing over 100 millimetres.
A combination of heavy rain and storm surge resulted in both coastal and inland flooding. The storm surge was so bad in parts of Malpeque Bay that 31 people and five dogs had to be rescued by emergency crews at Crystal Beach Campground.
The heavy rain softened the soil around tree roots, allowing Dorian's strong winds to not only bring down limbs and branches, but to topple entire trees. In the Cavendish area of the P.E.I. National Park, an estimated 80 per cent of trees were downed. The park's coastline also lost two metres due to erosion.
Since Tuesday is back to school, it should also be noted that schools on P.E.I. were cancelled on the Monday following Dorian, largely due to widespread power outages — more than 50,000 homes were without power that Sunday evening.
There have been 17 named storms during an active hurricane season in 2020. Fortunately, P.E.I. has only been indirectly affected so far by just one — the remnants of Laura enhanced rainfall on the Island Aug. 28 and 29 — but Atlantic Canada is just now entering the most active part of its hurricane season, so more could be on the way.
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