Two main types of storms affect Atlantic Canada: the tropical cyclone and the extratropical cyclone. Tropical cyclones develop in southern latitudes in the warmer months of June to November. These storms can track northward along the eastern North American seaboard where they usually weaken, but from time to time they affect Atlantic Canada as hurricanes, tropical storms or post-tropical storms. Hurricane Hortense is an example of one storm which struck Nova Scotia in September 1996. Extratropical cyclones (ET's) develop in mid-northern latitudes and are most frequent and intense between October and March. Famous examples of this type of storm are the Groundhog Day storm of February 1976, the Halloween Storm of 1991 and the "Storm of the Century" in March 1993. A more recent storm of January 2000 is illustrated in this section.
Beaches are constantly changing shape and position in response to natural processes. During storm events they are forced to make larger scale morphological adjustments in order to absorb the dramatic increase in wave energy. Buildings, roads and other coastal infrastructure can also be impacted by waves and/or sea ice; high water levels and flooding; or structural damage caused by loss of shore substrate.
The following section illustrates the physical impacts of a few major storms which have effected Atlantic Canada. The intent is to provide new photographs of storm impacts as they occur in the future. If you have photographs of a storm which recently impacted the coastline of Canada and wish to contribute them to this site, please contact us.
Hurricane Hortense - September 15, 1996
The impacts of this storm on two beaches along the Eastern Shore of Nova Scotia are outlined in Geological Survey of Canada Open File 3503
Atlantic Storm of January 21-22, 2000
Images from the following areas are shown
- Cole Harbour and Little Dover, Nova Scotia, Charlottetown, PEI, Robichaud, NB, Quai de l'Aboiteau, NB, Bas Cap Pelé, NB, Wave damage at Souris, PEI.
- Hurricane Juan - September 29, 2003
- Post-tropical Storm Noel - November 3-4, 2007
Hurricane Bill - August 23-24, 2009
- Oceanographic and Meteorological Conditions
- Place names and Study Sites
- Impacts to Coastal Infrastructure
- Impacts to Beaches, Atlantic Coast of Nova Scotia
- South Shore, Nova Scotia
- Eastern Shore, Nova Scotia
- Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia
- Other Aspects
- Comparison with Hurricane Juan (2003) and Post-tropical Storm Noel (2007)
- Hurricane Earl - September 4, 2010