Mild start to 2021 in the North with record-breaking temperatures
Above seasonal temperatures expected to continue into next week after temperatures climbed dramatically
December, January … what will February hold? Well, we're not talking about that just yet. But both the last two months have started with record-shattering warm temperatures that don't feel right for the season.
It has everyone asking, including myself, "what month is it?" 2021 did start feeling seasonal, or even a little below, but it has quickly become a roller coaster of temperatures.
As we rang in the new year, there were extreme cold warnings throughout Nunavut. Then, in the blink of an eye, things dramatically warmed up. Some communities warmed up close to 30 C in just over 24 hours this last week.
This pattern will continue into the next week for a large portion of the North, particularly through the Yukon, N.W.T. and Kivalliq.
Mild temperatures continue through the weekend
The mild temperatures are all from an upper atmosphere pattern that is pulling warm air in from the Pacific. This has rocketed those temperatures anywhere from 10 to 20 C above seasonal.
On Friday, Jan. 8, temperatures reached –11.7 C in Kugaaruk, breaking the high-temperature record of –12.8 C from 2011. This is a stark contrast to the low on both Jan. 5 and 6, where the community recorded two new low-temperature records when the mercury dropped to –47 C. That's an increase of 36 C in just over two days!
Elsewhere in the North, temperatures surpassed the freezing mark in Burwash at 0.3 C and the Yohin Lake station at 4.1 C. Meanwhile, Whitehorse was close to the freezing mark when it hit –2.4 C and the Rock River station reached –0.2 C.
This pattern will continue through to the second weekend of January as warm air continues to hang around.
The warmest areas are set to be Hay River, Fort Smith and Whitehorse Saturday and Sunday, with Inuvik, Norman Wells, Sachs Harbour, Pangnirtung, and Clyde River not far behind.
Clear conditions will make it a quiet weekend
Across the North, as we head into the second weekend of January, things are staying pretty clear as well as mild.
Most of the territories are dominated by high pressure, which will lead to some sunny skies with the possibility of a little fog or mist.
There are a couple of systems of note though.
A large pacific system will bring some moisture and gusting wings toward the southwest corner of Yukon. This could bring a few centimetres of snow to Whitehorse and Haines Junction, with up to 30 centimetres on the way for Carcross.
Also, a low will spin around southern Baffin Island bringing a few centimetres of snow for Iqaluit, Kimmirut and Kinngait. A low will move toward Baffin Bay bringing snow and gusting winds to Clyde River.
So, no matter where you are across the North, enjoy the weekend and week ahead because a pattern change might be in the cards toward the end of January. Yes ... that means cooler temperatures.