Don’t dismiss post-tropical storms
As Lee approached Nova Scotia to make landfall in southwestern Nova Scotia on Saturday, officials were warning people not to become complacent when the words post-tropical storm started to get interchanged with the word hurricane.
It's the same advice for any major storm during hurricane season.
On its path last towards Nova Scotia last Friday, Lee was a category one hurricane with sustained winds of 130 kilometres an hour.
However, meteorologists, weather experts, and emergency officials said Lee was transitioning to a tropical or post-tropical storm.
Still, that didn't mean people should take Lee lightly, they said. Or any post-tropical storm.
“A lot of people have the misconception that a posttropical storm is somehow a lesser storm," said Bob Robichaud, a meteorologist with Environment Canada and the Canadian Hurricane Centre.
But ‘post-tropical' only refers to the structure of a storm, he said, not its intensity.
As Lee approached the
Nova Scotia coastline it was still expected to be near hurricane strength. And it was. On Saturday the National Hurricane Centre said as Lee was nearing landfall that it still had sustained winds of 110 km/h.
Saltwire media specialist Allister Aalders was also urging people last Friday not to be dismissive when it came to
how Lee – or how any hurricane – is categorized. Just because a hurricane becomes post-tropical does not guarantee an event will be less severe.
“We've seen that firsthand with Fiona. Fiona was post-tropical, not technically designated a hurricane, but it had winds equivalent of a category two hurricane,” Aalders said, noting Dorian, as well, was also post-tropical when it made landfall in 2019.
“It's important to not get caught up in that designation of post-tropical,” he said.
In tallying Lee's impact, Aalders said it brought strong winds to much of the region. The highest winds were over western Nova Scotia and southwestern New Brunswick. Peak wind gusts of 80 to 110 kilometres per hour were recorded along the Atlantic coast of mainland Nova Scotia and the southwest Fundy coast in New Brunswick.
“The top official gust that surprised many was 117 km/h at Halifax Stanfield International Airport,” he said, noting in Grand Manan, N.B., a private weather station unofficially recorded gusts over 120 km/h.
The highest rainfall amounts were recorded from southwestern to northeastern New Brunswick, said Aalders, where rainfall amounts were over 90 millimetres. Forty to 80-plus mm of rain fell over the western half of
Nova Scotia, as Lee's impacts started Friday night. Rainfall amounts elsewhere in Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island from Lee were 10 to 30 mm.
“It's important to not only forecasters, but the public to compare weather events like Lee to what was forecast,” Aalders said in a Saltwire column he wrote Sunday, saying peak wind speeds, “for the most part, reached what was forecast.”
“Everyone will have a differing opinion on this event,” he said. “But I think we're all relieved it wasn't as bad as it could have been.”