ASK TOM: What happens to hurricanes that go up into the North Atlantic?

Dear Tom, 

What happens to hurricanes that go up into the North Atlantic? How often do they hit Greenland, Great Britain or Northern Europe? 

–Jim Wright


Dear Jim,

On occasion, Atlantic Basin hurricanes lose their tropical characteristics as they pass over the chilly North Atlantic but bring high winds and heavy rain to portions of the Canadian Maritimes, Greenland, Iceland, the British Isles and Scandinavia.


In late October 1996, the remnants of Hurricane Lili — packing 90 mph winds and 35-foot waves — damaged portions of England before dissipating over northern Norway.


In 1961, Hurricane Debbie hit Malin Head in Northern Ireland with wind gusts up to 114 mph. And in 2006, the remains of Hurricane Gordon hit Cornwall, England, with winds up to 81 mph.