Hurricane Juan brought Halifax Harbour its highest surge on record — up to 2 m

Hurricane Juan brought Halifax Harbour its highest surge on record — up to 2 m

This Day In Weather History is a daily podcast by Chris Mei from The Weather Network, featuring stories about people, communities and events and how weather impacted them.


Hurricane Juan was a Category 2 hurricane that impacted Eastern Canada in September 2003. The storm started as a large tropical wave off the coast of Africa on Sept. 14, 2003. The system continued to organize and strengthen, turning into Tropical Storm Juan on Sept. 25.

By Sept., 27, Juan reached its peak intensity of 165 km/h while located near Halifax, Nova Scotia.


"Damage to the Halifax Public Gardens after Hurricane Juan." Courtesy of Thorfinn Stainforth/Wikipedia/CC BY-SA 3.0

Weather buoys near Halifax measured waves higher than 20 m before they snapped off their moorings. The waves flooded residents in the Bedford Basin and railway tracks in the area. Halifax Harbour reported storm surges between 1.5 and 2 m, the harbour's highest surge ever recorded.

Juan caused structural and vegetation damage across Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island. Halifax Regional Municipality (HRM) was hit particularly hard, receiving extensive damage to trees and power lines.

HRM reported that approximately 31 per cent of residential homes suffered damage. The Victoria General Hospital was evacuated during the storm, as Juan battered the building.


"Halifax Waterfront after Hurricane Juan." Courtesy of Wikipedia

In Nova Scotia, Juan claimed six lives. Two people died due to fallen trees.

Juan tracked as a Category 1 strength into the Northumberland Strait and weakened to a tropical storm. Charlottetown, P.E.I., also received damage due to strong wind gusts up to 139 km/h. Juan left the area of the island without power as it downed trees and electricity lines.

After the storm, the Government of Nova Scotia provided $10 million (2003 CAD) in relief money.

A few months later, a blizzard hit Nova Scotia and P.E.I. The storm was dubbed "White Juan" because the significant impacts of the blizzard were of a similar ilk to the hurricane.

To learn more about Hurricane Juan, listen to today's episode of "This Day In Weather History."

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