|Powerful Hurricane Hugo making landfall at midnight on September 22, 1989. Just 24 hours later, the storm would be near Ottawa and Montreal.|
|Environment Canada map showing the path of tropical storm Hugo across eastern Canada. (Double click map for a closer look).|
Inland Hugo was fast and furious, with winds that produced major damage from North Carolina towards the southern Great Lakes. The hill country of central and western North Carolina was hammered by high winds that leveled entire forests. Trees took out power lines and landed on homes and cars. Power was out for weeks as a result. Further north, Hugo entered southern Ontario late on September 22nd and moved rapidly from Kingston towards Ottawa and into the Laurentians. Montreal was on the warm south side of the storm. We had lots of wind, but little rain. In Toronto, 75km/h winds and 47mm of rain occurred, but only 11mm of rain in Montreal. The wind in Ontario cut power to thousands of homes. In southern Quebec, the storm arrived around midnight on Saturday, September 23rd, just 24 hours from South Carolina to Montreal. I was working for the Montreal Gazette at the time, driving in the Lasalle and Verdun area. It was a wild night, with winds gusting from 70-95km/h in the St Lawrence Valley and stronger on the south shore, 98km/h at St. Hubert. Numerous trees fell and power went out in over 13,000 homes in metro Montreal including my home in Verdun for 12 hours. Another feature of the storm was the warm tropical air that arrived with Hugo. Montreal, reached 29C (85F) on September 22nd, and it was still nearly 24C (76F) at midnight on the 23rd. But as the storm pushed through the region, the mercury fell rapidly and dropped to 5C (41F) by 11pm on the 23rd.
Hugo then affected New Brunswick, with a peak wind gust to 124km/h at Moncton. Power was out to nearly 15,000 New Brunswick homes. The 1989 apple crop took a beating, with much of the fruit stripped from the trees in New Brunswick. Heavy rain fell north of the track across Labrador and into Newfoundland. Hugo dissipated on September 25th.