November in Northwest Territories the 4th warmest on record
'This is probably the warmest November in 18 years in Yellowknife' says senior climatologist
People living around Great Slave Lake traded in their shovels for umbrellas Wednesday as freezing rain pelted down on several communities, capping off the fourth warmest November on record for the Northwest Territories.
"It's bringing the curtain down on such a balmy month. [It's] somewhat appropriate to end with freezing rain," said Environment Canada's senior climatologist David Phillips.
In N.W.T., freezing rain is most common in November, but more so toward the beginning of the month. Phillips said the temperatures at the end of November were warmer than normal and the month has been consistently warm.
Yellowknife's daily average temperature for November from 1981 to 2000 was -13.7 C. For November 2016, the average was -7.4 C.
On Wednesday, Yellowknife was 6 C warmer than normal.
"When we look back in history, this is probably the warmest November in 18 years in Yellowknife," said Phillips.
"Maybe you can count the number of days below the normal mark on one hand."
Yellowknife, Hay River, Inuvik and Fort Simpson all saw above-average temperatures during most of November.
Phillips says a large dome of high pressure, sitting over the middle of North America, has been pumping warm air north, raising temperatures across the Prairies, British Columbia, Yukon and into northwestern Ontario.
Chris Young says he feels right at home with the unseasonably damp climate. He recently moved from Newfoundland to Yellowknife for a snow clearing job.
"I'm actually sweating," said Young, while shovelling a sidewalk on Wednesday.
Young was expecting -20 C temperatures when he touched down in Yellowknife this fall.
"I had three or four layers of pants on when I first got off the plane," he said.
"It was -1 C. I was like, well then."
For others, the warm weather made day-to-day life more unpredictable.
Alfred Beaverho lives in Whati, where the rivers, creeks and lakes have been slow to freeze this year.
"The ice may be all frozen and look the same but it can be tender," he said.
"It's not really cold like before."
Beaverho often snowmobiles to his cabin this time of year. Conditions are forcing him to snowmobile closer to shore, especially on Great Slave Lake
"There's still open water now, compared to way back," said Beaverho.
"It's really ridiculous. Pretty soon we might not see winter. It's too warm, eh."
Forecasters say the balmy weather won't last. More seasonal temperatures will return in early December.
"Come Monday in Yellowknife, highs might be -20 C. That's got to be four degrees colder than normal," said Phillips.