Hurricane Dorian has been a named storm for nearly two weeks, and the tireless tropical system just won't quit. After harassing the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico, ravaging the northwest Bahamas, and coming ashore in the U.S. mainland over Cape Hatteras, North Carolina, Dorian has a new destination in mind: Canada.
Tropical storm and hurricane warnings are in effect for Nova Scotia, with tropical storm and hurricane watches up for portions of Newfoundland. Environment Canada is forecasting sustained winds of 55 to 70 mph in most locales, while wind gusts could top 75 mph "near and to the south of the forecast track." Two to 4 inches of rain can be expected as well, while waves of 15 to 30 feet could result in "rough and pounding surf."
Storm surge flooding is also possible, and Environment Canada said "warnings may be issued later today."
Dorian is expected to make landfall overnight Saturday and into the wee hours of Sunday morning near Halifax, Nova Scotia. The city of over 400,000 is bracing for sustained winds as high as 80 mph and gusts over 90 mph. By then, the forward speed of Dorian will have picked up to more than 30 mph as it races northeast.
The storm will cover more ground in under three hours Saturday, Sept. 7, than it did all of Sunday and Monday in the Bahamas.
Dorian's cloud shield extends from South Carolina all the way north to the Gulf of St. Lawrence. In fact, those beneath its outward-fanning periphery in Halifax and New England may witness a fiery crimson-colored sunset Friday night, as was seen up and down the Mid-Atlantic coast Thursday.
After blowing through the Canadian Maritimes, Dorian should begin to lose its warm core, and its structure will eventually transition into one more characteristic of a mid-latitude cyclone.
A bit of this process may occur Sunday, with an upper-level low invigorating Dorian and briefly intensifying/expanding its wind field. However, most indications are that Dorian will be sufficiently tropical in nature when it arrives in Canada to set the stage for the landfall of a bonafide hurricane.
How rare is a hurricane in Canada? Not as unusual as one might think.
Thanks to the proximity of the Gulf Stream, it's possible for North Atlantic storms to traverse warm waters until they make their closest approach to Canada, limiting the weakening that goes on before landfall. Even if storms don't arrive as a true hurricane, they can impact as an equally-strong post-tropical low.
On September 21, 2010, Hurricane Igor struck Cape Race, Newfoundland. While still dubbed a hurricane, Igor was undergoing this transition at the time it roared ashore. During that storm, there one-minute sustained winds of 84 mph with a gust to 101 mph were clocked in Bonavista, while a 3.5 foot storm surge swept into St. John's Harbor.
In 2003, Hurricane Juan brought waves of 65 feet just off the coast, with an 88 mph wind gust at Halifax Stanfield International Airport.
This article was written by Matthew Cappucci, a reporter for The Washington Post.