Hurricane Noel was the fourteenth named storm and the eighth hurricane of the 2001 Atlantic hurricane season. Noel formed on November 4 in the open Atlantic Ocean, well away from any land areas. Noel was a very short-lived storm, dissipating on November 6. Noel developed as a subtropical cyclone from a frontal low on November 4 to the west of the Azores. Following an increase in convection, Noel became a hurricane on November 5 as it transitioned into a warm-core system and moved northward. Noel rapidly weakened as it entered an area of cooler waters as well as increasing wind shear. On November 6, Noel became an extratropical cyclone while located southeast of Newfoundland. Noel's extratropical remnants were absorbed by a large extratropical cyclone which absorbed Hurricane Michelle. As the low moved westward into Atlantic Canada, it intensified, reaching a minimum central pressure as low as 946 mb. On November 8, the low turned northeast and emerged into the Atlantic Ocean.

As a tropical cyclone, Noel affected no land areas. Noel caused minimal damage and no fatalities.

Hurricane Noel near peak intensity
FormationNovember 4, 2001
Dissipation November 6, 2001
Highest winds 75 mph
Lowest pressure 986 mbar
Deaths None reported
Damages Unknown
Areas affected Atlantic Canada

Meteorological History


A non-tropical frontal low developed from a cold front on November 1 about 900 miles west of the Azores. As it moved west-northwest, it steadily intensified, and it gradually lost its frontal structure. As deep convection developed over the center of circulation on November 4, the system transitioned into a subtropical cyclone while located about 890 miles south of Cape Race, Newfoundland. Operationally, the system was considered a non-tropical low, and the National Hurricane Center did not begin issuing advisories until the system transitioned into a tropical cyclone. The subtropical storm changed its motion to a northerly drift, continuing to slowly intensify as it did so. Convection became more symmetric around the northern portion of the cyclone, and that convection also developed into a ring of convection 60 miles around the circulation center. Based on a ship report of hurricane-force winds near the center as well as the development of a weak warm-core in the mid-levels of the storm, it is estimated that the cyclone became Hurricane Noel on November 5, while located about 615 miles southeast of Cape Race, Newfoundland. After forming, Noel moved north at 12 mph in advance of an approaching mid-level low-pressure system from the west. Increasing westerly wind shear displaced and limited the convection around Noel's center. Early on November 6, Noel weakened to a tropical storm. As Noel moved north-northeast over progressively cooler water temperatures, Noel continued to lose its deep convection, and late on November 6, Noel became extratropical while located about 330 miles southeast of Newfoundland.

Noel's extratropical remnants continued northeast and became absorbed by a larger extratropical cyclone later that day, the same extratropical cyclone that absorbed Hurricane Michelle. The extratropical storm moved westward into Newfoundland and intensified in the Gulf of Saint Lawrence, and brought strong winds throughout Atlantic Canada. The storm turned north and then northeast back into the Atlantic Ocean on November 8.



Hurricane Noel at peak intensity.

The government of Canada issued marine warnings in anticipation of Noel. In addition, wind warnings were issued in Newfoundland and ferry service was suspended throughout the island. Also, ferry service was suspended throughout Prince Edward Island and Nova Scotia. Throughout Atlantic Canada, the extratropical cyclone, including the remnants of Michelle and Noel, produced strong winds, leaving 100,000 residents without electricity.


Noel affected no land areas as a tropical cyclone. However, five ships passing through Noel did report tropical storm-force winds. One ship reported hurricane-force winds near the center of Noel, which prompted the National Hurricane Center to upgrade it to a hurricane. That same ship recorded a pressure of 992 mb, which is the lowest that was reported in association with Hurricane Noel.


In Newfoundland, the storm complex that absorbed Michelle and Noel produced over 4 inches of rain as well as strong winds. Many locations reported winds over 55 mph, with gusts as high as 84 mph at Channel-Port aux Basques. In addition, coastal areas of that island reported a storm surge in excess of 2 feet. The strong winds from the extratropical cyclone destroyed the windows of six vehicles and blew most of a roof of a truck in Holyrood, with the debris from the truck damaging a nearby weather radar. Also, cold air behind the storm complex produced snow across the island.

Nova Scotia

In Nova Scotia, winds from the extratropical storm complex reached 50 mph in inland areas, while areas near the coast received wind gusts over 62 mph. Strong winds persisted across the province for a total of 19 hours. Also, the storm produced waves as high as 26 to 30 feet along the eastern and northern coasts of the country. Also, the storm surge, which occured at high tide, reached 2 feet, eroded a section of the Canso Causeway. When a trailer was overturned from the high winds, the causeway was closed down.

New Brunswick

In New Brunswick, the extratropical cyclone produced strong winds, with gusts as high as 84 mph. The strong winds downed several trees and power lines, causing power outages. Fredericton was the hardest hit by the storm. The day after the storm struck, about 16,000 people were without electricity. At the Confederation Bridge, the storm brought sustained winds of 76 mph, with gusts as high as 96 mph. The wind gust there was the highest ever recorded on the bridge. As a result, the bridge had to be shut down for a total of five hours, the first time the bridge was closed in its entire history.

Prince Edward Island

W aves as high as 30 feet, accompanied by a storm surge of over 3.3 feet, struck the northern coastline of Prince Edward Island. Every wharf and many coastal roads from Rustico to East Point were under water from the high waves and storm surge. In addition, the strong winds left much of the eastern portion of the island without electricity.

Naming and Records

Noel was the fourteenth named storm of the 2001 season. At the time, this made 2001 the seventh most-active Atlantic hurricane season on record. Later on, when Olga formed, the season became the sixth most-active on record in the Atlantic. Since then though, it has dropped to 8th place. Noel became a hurricane at 37.8°N, which is the furthest north a tropical cyclone has ever attained hurricane status during the month of November in the Atlantic basin. In addition, Noel was one of three November hurricanes, the first known occurence and the only such occurence thus far in the Atlantic. Finally, this was the second time the name Noel had been used to name an Atlantic hurricane. The first time it was used was during the 1995 season.

Lack of Retirement

Because Noel affected no land areas as a tropical cyclone, it was not retired in the Spring of 2002 by the World Meteorological Organization. It was used again during the 2007 Atlantic hurricane season.

See Also

2001 Atlantic hurricane season


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