There’s a greater than 50 per cent chance this province will feel something from Hurricane Irene, but it’s too early to predict exactly what.
“All of the Eastern seaboard and and Atlantic Canada should be paying close attention,” said Bob Robichaud of the Canadian Hurricane Centre.
Between 9:30 a.m. and 10 a.m. this morning, Hurricane Irene was upgraded to a Category 3 — Hurricane Igor, which devastated eastern Newfoundland last year was a Category 1.
But Irene could bring as little as a blustery day and some drizzle if it strikes — likely late Monday afternoon.
Or it could mean signficant weather, leading Robichaud to suggest forecasts be watched closely in the coming days as trackers get a better idea where it’s heading. Irene is 550 kilometres southeast of the Bahamas right now, tracking maximum winds of 185 kilometre per hour and heading towards the U.S.
Robichaud said the five-day outlook shows it tracking east of the Carolinas, but there’s a question of whether the centre of the storm will cross land or stay offshore. Preliminary track shows it grazing the Carolinas and making landfall in the northeast U.S.
He said it would be a longshot for it to track far enough offshore that it would remain over water until it reaches Newfoundland.
“It’s too early to tell exactly what it will do. It doesn’t look like the same scenario as Igor, but it’s something to keep an eye on for sure,” Robichaud said.
“It’s too far away to pin down.”
The centre of the storm is likely to be around 2 a.m. Monday in Boston, but the storm is large and the impacts could be felt in the Maritimes around the same time.
The hurricane season is already well ahead of schedule — with the “I” named storms well ahead of last year — Igor hit Sept. 21.
The average of named storms over the last decade has been five by this time in the season. There have been nine already so far this year.