The North Atlantic is very warm for this time of year. So warm, in fact, that tropical storms are now able to make landfall in Canada. Today, tropical Storm Leslie raked Newfoundland before being bundled up by a cold front and hustled off toward Greenland and Iceland.
Leslie is now considered ‘post tropical’ by the National Hurricane Center. But the heat and tropical moisture bound up in this storm will take days to fully dissipate. As such, the storm is expected to bring 50-60 knot winds just off the coasts of Greenland and Iceland before looping back toward the UK by Friday morning.
The Leslie and cold front combo struck the Canadian coast with a powerful punch last night and this morning — resulting in record rains and flash flooding. You can view news coverage of the powerful impacts of these two converging storms here:
Overall, it is a very rare event for tropical storms to impact Canada and these parts of the North Atlantic. This season has been unusual as a number of storms have trekked further north than during a typical hurricane season. Tropical Storm Michael, just to the east of Leslie, has also ventured far into the open waters of the North Atlantic.
It is these regions where hurricanes and tropical storms usually go to die. But, since the late 1990s, Canada and Great Britain have been increasingly in the firing line of these cyclones. Looking at Leslie’s track, it appears that danger from tropical storms may extend as far north as southern Greenland and Iceland in the coming decades.
Though scientists have made mixed observations on the potential for increased numbers of storms due to global warming, a majority of scientists have determined that increased heat energy in the atmosphere results in stronger storms. Scientists and meteorologists will now also likely have to extend the zones in which these storms typically occur.