A frenzied September for tropical activity across the Atlantic should draw to a close on a more tranquil note. The National Hurricane Center issued its final advisory on Post-Tropical Cyclone Teddy at 11 p.m. EDT Wednesday, September 23, as Teddy made its way between Newfoundland and Labrador en route to the Labrador Sea.
In its tropical weather outlook on Thursday morning, September 24, NHC anticipated that no new tropical cyclones would form in the Atlantic through at least September 29.
Teddy made landfall near Ecum Secum in central Nova Scotia around 8 a.m. EDT Wednesday as a post-tropical cyclone, with top sustained winds of 65 mph and a central pressure of 964 mb. The storm had weakened sharply from its Category 2 hurricane status a day earlier. The result was a sprawling but not-too-intense storm that packed tropical storm-force sustained winds (at least 39 mph) that extended out 400 miles from the center.
Atlantic Canada has experienced a number of Category 1 hurricanes and also four Category 2 storms (most recently Juan in 2003), so Teddy was low-impact by those standards. CBC reported that winds gusted to 82 mph at Grand Etang, Nova Scotia, and 5.16 inches of rain fell at Ingonish Beach. About 16,000 customers of Nova Scotia Power lost service during the storm.
Impacts in Newfoundland and Labrador on Wednesday night were also on the modest side, reported the Telegram. Winds gusted to 46 mph at St. John’s, Newfoundland.
Beta’s rains continue
Well inland and now not a tropical system, Beta is no longer being tracked by NHC, but Post-Tropical Cyclone Beta is continuing to dump rain as it slogs its way across the southern U.S. Fortunately, Beta failed to produce the massive rainfall amounts that might otherwise have accompanied a slow-moving tropical storm moving up the Texas coast. “It could have been much worse,” noted Eric Berger of Space City Weather. The saving graces were wind shear that helped keep Beta from intensifying rapidly and extensive dry air at mid-levels that cut down on rainfall efficiency.
Beta’s heaviest rains during and shortly after landfall were concentrated over southwestern parts of the Houston metro area. Rainfall totals for the 24-hour period ending Wednesday morning, as reported by the CoCoRaHS volunteer observing network, included 10.88 inches near Friendswood and 10.26 inches near Pearland. Rainfall rates were not especially intense, which cut down on the flooding threat, although several bayous in the south Houston area overtopped their banks.
As Beta continued its slow northeastward trek, several packets of 4-6 inch rains developed over parts of southern Arkansas, Louisiana, and Mississippi. As of Thursday morning, top 24-hour CoCoRaHS totals included 6.91 inches just east of Natchez, Mississippi, and 5.98 inches near Vaiden, Mississippi. Totals were around 5 inches in the Jackson area, where some street flooding was reported in Canton.
Hurricane season isn’t over yet
Our welcome break from intense tropical activity in the Atlantic doesn’t mean we are home free from the 2020 season. The hyperactive 2005 season – the only one that’s been more active than the 2020 season – took several days of rest near the end of that September before resuming in earnest in early October. That season ended up producing 10 more named storms after October 1.
Longer-range signals from the Madden-Julian Oscillation suggest that a lull of two or three weeks is possible in the Atlantic, according to Michael Ventrice of The Weather Company. He stressed: “Hurricane season is not over, folks.”
With the start of October, upper-level winds typically increase, and that tends to push the key U.S. threat areas east toward Florida and the Caribbean. As noted by weather.com, Florida is the state most likely to see an October landfall. It’s also rare but possible for tropical or post-tropical systems to sweep well up the East Coast in October, even late in the month, as occurred in 2012 with Hurricane/Superstorm Sandy.
The next storm on the Atlantic list is Gamma – a fittingly sci-fi-sounding name for this truth-is-stranger-than-fiction hurricane season.
Posted on September 24, 2020 (4:00pm EDT).