Yukon January heat breaks records

Record-breaking warm temperatures were recorded across southern Yukon yesterday, with Whitehorse recording its warmest-ever temperature for January at 10.9 C. Some highways are closed today due to slippery driving conditions.

Whitehorse hits record high of 10.9 C, some highways closed today due to slippery conditions

Record-breaking warm temperatures were recorded across southern Yukon yesterday.

Whitehorse recorded its warmest-ever temperature in January yesterday at 10.9 C. Haines Junction had the same high, breaking its daily record of 8.3 C set in 1972.

Whitehorse hit 10.9 C Jan. 14, its warmest-ever temperature recorded in January. (CBC)

Teslin reached a high of 7.4 C, breaking its old record of 1.1 C set in 1949; Faro was at 5.7 C, breaking its old record of 5.5 C set in 1981; and Watson Lake hit 8 C, breaking its old record of —3.9 C set in 1943.

Environment Canada's Doug Lundquist says it was an extraordinary weather pattern.

"We had really warm air just south of us in the Gulf of Alaska, a low tract through central-northern Yukon, and it pumped up the southeasterly winds we normally get and stirred that really warm air down to the valley bottoms throughout most of southern Yukon, except for the central part where they actually had heavy snow yesterday."

Lundquist said it will cool off and some areas will see snow today.

The warm weather has prompted the Canadian Avalanche Centre to issue warnings due to the warm temperatures and heavy snowfall in some areas.

Highways closed due to weather

The weather patterns have created havoc on Yukon roads today. Freezing rain, blowing snow and dropping temperatures are having an impact on every major highway.

The Dempster and South Klondike highways are currently closed. Motorists are also being asked to avoid a portion of the Alaska Highway from kilometre 580 to kilometre 968. That area is being described as an ice rink right now.

Doris Wurfbaum, a spokesperson for Yukon Highways and Public Works, said staff are being stretched thin.

"It's a pretty eclectic weather system when you've got a foot of snow up north and then freezing rain down south, so that sure is a challenge," she said.

It's not known how long the roads will be closed, as freezing rain and blowing snow remains in the forecast.

Motorists are asked to visit the Yukon 511 site for the latest road conditions.