A look back: 'brittle and brutal' winter for some Northerners

Environment Canada's senior climatologist says Yellowknife had the coldest winter on record in more than 30 years, while Yukon had the warmest January in 13 years.

Environment Canada says Yellowknife had the coldest winter on record in 30 years

Spring may have officially started just over two weeks ago, but many Northerners are having a hard time forgetting about this past winter.

In Yukon, temperatures just returned to seasonal this week, while in places like Wekweeti, N.W.T., temperatures were still at -36 C on Thursday. And in Yellowknife, David Phillips, the senior climatologist with Environment Canada, says the city had the coldest winter on record in 30 years.

"Boy, let me remind you what it was like on New Year's Eve and New Year's Day where the temperature got down to -44 C," Phillips said. "In fact, we saw twice as many days below -40 C than we would normally see. So there have been moments where it has been brittle and brutal."

There were 10 days below -40 C in the N.W.T. capital between December and March, and 55 days where temperatures fell below -30 C.

Cold nights and day time temperatures around the zero mark produced this 54-inch outside a home in Whitehorse. (Arnold Hedstrom/CBC)
But Phillips says it wasn't so bad for everyone across the North.

Inuvik, N.W.T. saw some unseasonably warm temperatures. At one point in January, it was warmer in Inuvik than Montreal.

And for Yukon, Phillips says the territory had the warmest January in 13 years, leaving the city to scramble to clean up the sloppy mess for fear it would refreeze.

"If you wanted a January thaw you went to the Yukon. In Whitehorse it went up to almost 10 C — warmer than Toronto."

In Iqaluit, Phillips says the winter was fairly normal. He says even despite the violent blizzard that happened in the city in early January, overall it was par for the course.

Phillips says anyone looking for that final break from winter should still have faith; he's predicting a warmer-than-normal summer for all three territories.

What do you think? Was this winter any worse than years past? Post your comments below.


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