Chilly Churchill hottest spot in Canada as northern town shatters warm-weather records

It isn't every day Churchill, Man., is the warmest spot in Canada, but that's exactly what happened when the small northern town broke its own 68-year-old warm-weather record this week.

Back-to-back highs of 32.2 and 29.7 C break local records from 1950 and 1941

A male polar bear walks along the shore of Hudson Bay near Churchill, Man., the so-called 'polar bear capital of the world.' Churchill broke its own warm-weather records on June 10 and 11, smashing previous records from 1941 and 1950 respectively. (Sean Kilpatrick/Canadian Press)

It isn't every day Churchill, Man., is the warmest place in Canada, but that's exactly what happened when the small northern town broke its own 68-year-old warm-weather record this week.

A heat warning was in effect Monday when Churchill, also known as the "polar bear capital of the world," became the hottest area in Canada and hit a high of 32.2 C.

"[It] shattered the old record of 24.4 C, which was set in 1950," said Environment Canada meteorologist Brad Vrolijk.

"Definitely pretty rare for that community.… It's a significant margin to break a record by."

The northern Manitoba tourism hotspot reached 29.7 C on Sunday, also amid a heat warning. That broke a previous record for June 10 of 25.6 C set in 1941, Vrolijk said.

Environment Canada has weather records in Churchill going back to 1929. The average highs for June 10 and June 11 in Churchill are 10 C and 10.3 C, respectively.

On top of the unusually warm weather on both days, Churchill saw humidex values in the upper 30s on Monday. Often when things heat up in the town, a cool sea breeze sweeps off Hudson Bay and cools things down. But on Monday, a continuous, southerly wind blew up from the Prairies, and the warmth was trapped over Churchill due to the fact that half of Hudson Bay is still frozen over, Vrolijk said.

But just as soon as the heat wave moved in, temperatures dropped to 6 C overnight Monday and into Tuesday morning thanks to a blast of the cool sea air Churchill residents are more accustomed to, said Vrolijk.

"They are out of the heat now," he said. "They're probably not that unfamiliar with big, wild temperature swings."

About the Author

Bryce Hoye

Reporter

Bryce Hoye is an award-winning journalist and science writer with a background in wildlife biology. Before joining CBC Manitoba, he worked for the Canadian Wildlife Service monitoring birds in Manitoba, the Northwest Territories, Nova Scotia and Alberta. Story idea? Email bryce.hoye@cbc.ca.

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