Long-lived Hurricane Larry made landfall in Atlantic Canada

·5 min read

Larry passed east of Bermuda as a hurricane on Thursday, delivering only a glancing blow, but its next target received a direct hit. Larry made landfall as a Category 1 hurricane near South East Bight, on the island of Newfoundland, early Saturday morning, where brought hurricane-force winds, heavy rain and pounding seas. The enormous storm will also continue to stir trouble along the East Coast of the United States through the first half of the weekend.

Ahead of the storm, the Canadian Hurricane Centre issued hurricane and tropical storm warnings for southeastern Newfoundland.

Hurricane Larry continued to gradually weaken on Friday and remained a Category 1 storm. Larry's maximum sustained winds were measured at 80 mph (130 km/h) as of 2 a.m. EDT Saturday. Larry was was moving toward the north-northeast at 47 mph (76 km/h).

The storm remained a massive one with hurricane-force winds of 74 mph (119 km/h) or greater extending 105 miles (165 km) outward from the center. Tropical storm-force winds of 39 mph (63 km/h) or greater extended outward from the center to 255 miles (405 km).

In this closeup of Larry, taken on Friday morning, Sept. 10, 2021, Massachusetts can be seen to the upper left, while the southern coast of the island of Newfoundland, Canada, is just visible in the upper right. (CIRA at Colorado State/GOES-East)

Wind and rain lashed at parts of Canada, including St. John's and Dildo, Newfoundland and Labrador. Power has also gone out in parts of St. John's, and trees were seen damaged and uprooted across the area. The strongest observed peak wind gust was on a lighthouse in Cape St. Mary's where a wind gust of 113 mph (182 km/h) was recorded. The St. John's International Airport also reported a wind gust of 89 mph (145 km/h). Over 62,000 in Newfoundland are without power as of early Saturday morning, and the roof of Mary Queen of Peace School in Newfoundland has collapsed.

Due to Larry's persistence as a hurricane and a large storm in general, winds will continue to generate large swells that propagate outward from the center by more than 800 miles.

As these swells approach the shallow coastal waters along the Atlantic coast of the United States, large waves, powerful breakers and strong rip currents will be generated. These conditions will pose dangers to small craft and bathers.

Many beaches now have limited or no lifeguards on duty following the conclusion of the Labor Day holiday. Bathers and boaters are urged to follow all advisories set forth by officials. Rough surf and seas are forecast to diminish from south to north along the Atlantic coast through Saturday night. However, New England is still likely to experience rough surf conditions through Saturday night.

"Larry is expected to slowly lose wind intensity over the next few days as the storm encounters increasing wind shear and progressively colder waters," AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Rob Miller said.

Water temperatures at or above 78 F (26 C) are considered to be the approximate minimum threshold to sustain tropical systems. Water temperatures near Newfoundland are about 63 F (17 C), according to National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration satellite data.

Larry will continue to lose wind intensity over colder waters, its forward speed is also forecast to increase substantially as it move farther away from Atlantic Canada.

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The island of Newfoundland and Atlantic Canada, in general, are no strangers to adverse impacts from tropical systems, and the region is pounded by a dozen or more long-lasting nor'easters throughout the late autumn, winter and early spring.

In 2010, Hurricane Igor slammed Newfoundland and caused $200 million in damage, mostly from washed-out roads and bridges. Igor was the last system to officially make landfall as a hurricane on the island, and it unleashed up to 10 inches (250 mm) of rain.

"Newfoundland has been the target of nearly three dozen named tropical systems since 1950, although most were downgraded to non-tropical systems by landfall," said AccuWeather Senior Weather Editor and meteorologist Jesse Ferrell. AccuWeather refers to these systems as tropical wind and rainstorms due to the ongoing potential danger and damage due to not only heavy rain but also strong winds.

This Enhanced RealVue™ Satellite image was captured early Saturday morning as Larry crossed through Newfoundland. (AccuWeather)

"The most recent direct hit was from Leslie in 2012, but that system was downgraded from a hurricane to a tropical rainstorm before landfall," Ferrell said.

Beyond slamming Newfoundland, Larry may survive long enough to bring drenching rain and high-elevation snow to Greenland later this weekend. Seven named storms have tracked over Greenland since records were kept in 1850, although all of them had lost their tropical characteristics before hitting, according to Ferrell. The closest approach from a hurricane was from an unnamed storm in 1971.

Larry was named a tropical storm over the east-central Atlantic during the early morning hours of Sept. 1, after spending several hours as Tropical Depression Twelve on Aug. 31. Long-lived and large Larry has contributed a substantial amount of Accumulated Cyclone Energy (ACE) for the 2021 Atlantic hurricane season thus far. This measure helps to put into perspective not only the number of tropical storms and hurricanes but also the strength and duration of these systems.

The tracks of all tropical systems so far in 2021 as of Sept. 8, 2021, are seen in the image above. (AccuWeather)

As of Thursday, the ACE for 2021 was 72.5 compared to the 30-year (1981-2010) average to date of 46.2. Larry has accounted for nearly 40% of the entire ACE so far this season.

Friday, Sept. 10, marked the halfway point of the Atlantic hurricane season and also the climatological peak. AccuWeather forecasters say there will be the potential for plenty more tropical storms, hurricanes and even major hurricanes for 2021 as the year will remain on a well-above-average pace. During an average season, there are 14 named systems with seven hurricanes and three major hurricanes.

One area will be watched for tropical development near the Cabo Verde Islands this weekend to early next week. Another area near southeastern Mexico and the western Gulf of Mexico is being monitored for possible development late this weekend into next week. This new Gulf concern has the potential to unload torrential rain and raise the risk of flooding in northeastern Mexico and southeastern Texas next week.

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