A downed tree on a Yellowknife trail. Caitrin Pilkington/Cabin Radio
Yellowknife and several other NWT communities were battered on Sunday by sustained winds above 50 km/h and gusts of up to 80 km/h.
Wind warnings were issued for Yellowknife and Łútsël K’é shortly before 10am on Sunday, joining warnings already in place for Wekweètì, Whatì and Behchokǫ̀.
A warning for Tulita, Délı̨nę and Norman Wells had ended earlier on Sunday. In the Sahtu, the peak recorded wind gust overnight was 87 km/h in Tulita just before 5am.
At Environment Canada’s Yellowknife Airport weather station, sustained winds of 53 km/h and gusts of up to 78 km/h had been recorded by 2pm on Sunday. Earlier, Environment Canada had said gusts of up to 90 km/h were possible.
An independently maintained weather station atop Pilots’ Monument, in Yellowknife’s Old Town, reported a gust of 82 km/h on Sunday morning.
Winds are expected to die down across the North Slave later on Sunday afternoon.
By 11am on Sunday, a large Scotiabank sign lay on the sidewalk in downtown Yellowknife having come away from the bank’s building. (The exact role of the wind in that incident could not be immediately confirmed. The bank cannot catch a break – the sign fell next to wooden cladding that masks the point where a vehicle hit the bank only a few weeks ago.)
Wooden signs for this month’s municipal election had been toppled in several locations. On the Frame Lake Trail, multiple trees had been toppled, as was the case in several residents’ yard. One family reported their house had been struck by the airborne tent frame from a boat.
Even opening a vehicle door in Yellowknife’s downtown required a surprising amount of effort by late morning. Trees on the city’s main street, Franklin Avenue, took on a bedraggled appearance and flags strained at their masts.
As is tradition, a lone trampoline enjoyed a mid-afternoon unattended romp along School Draw Avenue.
The NWT Power Corporation warned that high winds “may create problems with the power supply” and said it would be monitoring the situation. No outages had been reported by 3:30pm.
Shortly before 5pm, the Yellowknife and Tłı̨chǫ wind warnings were terminated.
For the sake of comparison, sustained winds of 70 km/h are roughly equivalent to what you’d experience in a weak tropical storm. Hurricane Fiona, on landfall in Atlantic Canada, had sustained winds of 100 km/h to 140 km/h with gusts reaching almost 180 km/h along the coast.