Winter storm heading to NWT’s Arctic coast, residents told to prepare

A “widespread and hazardous” winter storm will hit the Northwest Territories’ Arctic coastal communities over the next three days, federal forecasters warned on Thursday.

Alerts have been issued for Paulatuk, Sachs Harbour, Ulukhaktok, and Tuktoyaktuk. In Tuk, the hamlet asked residents to prepare by conserving water and stocking up on candles and flashlights.

“This storm may run through the weekend,” the hamlet warned in a Facebook post.


Environment Canada believes Paulatuk and Sachs Harbour could see “long-lasting blizzard conditions” from Friday into Sunday evening.

Warnings posted for the two communities on Thursday stated westerly winds would bring gusts of up to 80 km/h by Friday evening.

Paulatuk could see winds as strong as 120 km/h, the forecast suggested.

“Travel is expected to be extremely hazardous due to reduced visibility. Avoid outdoor activities,” Environment Canada told residents.

A blizzard warning means forecasters expect visibility of 400 metres or less for at least a six-hour span. In this instance, the blizzard could last 48 hours or more.


In Tuktoyaktuk and Ulukhaktok, Environment Canada expects a three-day winter storm with strong westerly winds producing poor visibility in blowing snow.

“Winds will increase further Saturday night and, combined with fresh snow, are expected to produce widespread blizzard conditions through Sunday,” said Environment Canada.

“As the system develops, and timing and location of impacts become more clear, this winter storm watch may be upgraded to a blizzard warning.

“Travel is expected to be hazardous due to reduced visibility in some locations.”