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Tropical Moisture: We “otto” Be Worried?

Satellite Image
6am Thursday

All week, meteorologists have been keeping an eye on a low pressure system north of the Bahamas.  There is still no consensus whether this system will develop into a tropical storm.  The National Hurricane Center suggested a 50% possibility early this morning.  Should that happen, it would be assigned the name: Otto.

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Regardless whether there is a tropical storm or not, there will be tropical moisture moving northwards and interacting with a cold front and low pressure system in Eastern Canada.  It appears likely that there will be two areas of heavy rain: one along the St. Lawrence and Ottawa Valleys where the cold front and low develops.  Another potential area of heavy rain is over the Maritimes and Newfoundland associated with the tropical moisture and possible low moving north.

Screen Shot 2016-10-20 at 6.19.19 AM Screen Shot 2016-10-20 at 6.20.07 AM Screen Shot 2016-10-20 at 6.20.36 AM

Environment Canada has rainfall warning in place over the St. Lawrence and Ottawa Valleys, and a Special Weather Statement for the Maritimes and Western Newfoundland for possible heavy rain.

The computer models are uncertain as well.  They agree on possible very heavy rainfalls Ottawa-Montreal area.  However, the handling of the possible tropical low is uncertain.  There is however a suggestion that Cape Breton may get the heaviest rain.  This would not be welcome, given the recent severe flash flooding.

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Winds will increase; likely from the southeast shifting to the southwest on late Saturday-Sunday.  Gusts of 60-80km/h are reasonable…  but higher gusts, which would cause outages and damage, are not out of the question yet.  Certainly, the strong “les Suetes” winds in the norhtern Inverness county are likely to develop.

Folks should therefore monitor forecasts and warnings.  I’ll continue to tweet updates.

Stay Safe



About Jim Abraham

Jim has spent about 40 years in the weather business. He has been an operational forecaster from Halifax to Whitehorse. Jim started the Canadian Hurricane Centre, and has flown into a couple of these storms. As a senior executive within Environment Canada, Jim has managed weather research, weather services, and weather/water/climate observing programs. Retired from Environment Canada, Jim is the Atlantic Director for the Canadian Climate Forum, the president of the Halifax chapter of the Canadian Meteorological & Oceanographic Society, a partner in Climaction Services, and a part-time meteorologist on CBC radio. He is still participating in national and international activities related to weather preparedness. Having witnessed unprecedented advances in the science and technology of meteorology. Jim hopes that this blog will also be educational; enabling users to better understand weather-related phenomena, better interpret available information, and ultimately better able to make decisions to protect themselves, their family and their property. Jim welcomes any questions and suggestions.


The views and opinions expressed in this content are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of haligonia.ca.


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