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How much snow did the NWT get this past month?


While significantly more snow than usual fell in Yellowknife last month, other NWT regions saw more typical or even lower-than-average snowfall for this time of year.

Yellowknife has been inundated with snow this season. Last week, streets and sidewalks became difficult to navigate and cars were abandoned as snow removal crews struggled to keep up.

According to Environment Canada’s records, 59.0 cm of snow fell in Yellowknife in November, adding to 39.9 cm that fell in October.

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The city has seen a lot of snow compared to the average year, said Natalie Hasell, a warning preparedness meteorologist for Environment and Climate Change Canada. The city’s 30-year average snowfall for November, calculated based on data from 1981 to 2010, is 36.5 cm.

Hasell said a preliminary analysis suggests last month is the 11th-snowiest November in Yellowknife since record-keeping began in 1943.

Other parts of the territory haven’t seen such unusually large amounts of snow, according to Environment Canada records, though only a few other NWT sites measure snowfall.

In Norman Wells, 27.7 cm of snow fell in November, slightly more than the community’s 30-year average of 26.0 cm. Fort Simpson saw 30.2 cm of snow, just under the 30-year average of 33.4 cm.

Fort Smith, meanwhile, had significantly less snowfall than its 30-year average. In November, 13.4 cm of snow fell on the community, less than half of the 30-year average of 30.1 cm.

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Different parts of the territory have seen very different weather, Hasell said.

For Yellowknifers, the cold is likely to present more of a challenge than snow over the next few days.

Windchill values are dropping to -49 overnight on Thursday into Friday, which means “frostbite in minutes,” Hasell said. Temperatures are expected to get even colder on Friday and into Saturday morning.

Northerners may not be fazed by these temperatures, but Hasell reminds people to prepare, take precautions when travelling, and be flexible with their plans while the cold weather lasts.

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This article is produced under a Creative Commons CC BY-ND 4.0 licence through the Wilfrid Laurier University Climate Change Journalism Fellowship.