Heatwave descending on Yukon and N.W.T. will stay a while: meteorologist

According to CBC meteorologist Ashley Brauweiler, a ridge of high pressure off the Pacific coast is pushing the jet stream north, and bringing warm southern air with it. That warm air will be stuck here for a while.

Yukon gets heat warning; Northwest Territories to see mercury climb in the south as week progresses

Siblings Akshay Maas, 7, and Andika Maas, 5, cool off in the splash park at Whitehorse's Rotary Park. (Philippe Morin/CBC)

Hide yo' mitts, hide yo' scarf — a heatwave is here.

People living in Yukon and most of the Northwest Territories can expect the mercury to climb — and stay there — for the next week or so.

According to CBC meteorologist Ashley Brauweiler, a ridge of high pressure off the Pacific coast is pushing the jet stream north, and bringing warm southern air with it. That warm air will be stuck there for a while, thanks to two low-pressure systems on either side of the ridge, funnelling the warm air up and keeping it in place.

"[We] will likely see on and off heat warnings into next week, mostly for the Yukon," she said.

That is why Environment Canada has issued a heat warning for most of Yukon for Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday this week.

This good boy is killing two birds at once: cooling off and fetching a stick for his owner. (Philippe Morin/CBC)

The temperature in Whitehorse had reached 28.4 C on Monday by 4 p.m. PT, according to Brauweiler.

Heat warnings are issued in Yukon when the daytime temperature reaches 28 C for two consecutive days and the low falls to 13 C or warmer.

Brauweiler says the last time Whitehorse saw heat this intense in July was in 2013.

Meanwhile in the N.W.T.

The criteria for heat warnings are marginally more strict for the N.W.T. — they are issued when the daytime temperature reaches 29 C for two consecutive days, and the low falls to 14 C or warmer.

Inuvik was expected to reach 29 C on Monday. The warm air is expected to make its way southwest to the Dehcho, North and South Slave regions over the next few days. 

According to Brauweiler, heat advisories are likely for the Dehcho, South Slave and parts of the North Slave regions.

Yellowknife likely won't meet the criteria, though.

Heat warning or not, Brauweiler advises people in Yukon and N.W.T. to drink lots of water, avoid the sun for long periods of time and dress appropriately.

Where there's smoke, is there fire?

On top of the heat, the high pressure system over Yukon is trapping smoke in the upper atmosphere, creating hazy days for some.

Mike Etches, Yukon's director of wildland fire management, says much of that smoke is coming from Alaska and British Columbia and only affects the southern part of the territory — for now.

"The smoke is going to make its way up the territory as far up as Tombstone [park] over the next couple of days," he said.

"We have a stagnant air mass over top of us — a ridge that's going to keep in place for a while."

Right now there are two active fires in the Yukon — one south of Dawson City and another near Mayo. Etches doesn't expect this to change much under the heat.

"Larger fuels are pretty moist so we think over the next five days, things will dry out a little bit but not to the point where we need a fire ban," he said.

The N.W.T.'s Department of Environment and Natural Resources is saying the same for the territory.

Things will dry out a little bit but not to the point where we need a fire ban.- Mike Etches, Yukon's director of wildland fire management

Yellowknife's record rainfall in June and July brought little reprieve.

"The forest floor will require a lengthy drying period [seven to 10 days] before it is dry enough to hold lightning and for fire to spread," stated a department official in an email.

According to the official, lightning could start fires but those fires would need substantial amounts of wind to grow.

Right now, the N.W.T. is sitting at a low to moderate fire danger, but officials expect this could change by the end of the week.

According to Brauweiler, hot weather is expected to stay for the rest of the week, with cooler temperatures over the weekend — but the break will be short.

She says next week is supposed to be a hot one too.

With files from Leonard Linklater

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