Northerners expecting the usual frigid temperatures at the start of December should think again. Environment and Climate Change Canada says an upper ridge is bringing up warm air from the south.
Blaine Lowry, a meteorologist with the federal agency, said Yellowknife temperatures could reach 0C on Sunday and Monday. By the end of the week, the mercury could rise even higher.
“When you consider that the normal high for this time of year in Yellowknife is -15C, that’s quite significant,” he said.
A ridge is an area of relatively high atmospheric pressure. Ridges tend to bring warmer, drier weather.
The one caveat, Lowry said, is since there’s snow on the ground, cold air could remain at the surface even as warmer air moves in. That could mean temperatures between -5C and -10C on the surface but temperatures above zero if you were 60 metres higher.
“It can make temperature forecasting fairly difficult in these type of setups,” he said. “But the pattern, in general, is indicating warmer than normal temperatures for next week.”
It’s not just Yellowknife. Lowry said the weather phenomenon will extend up to communities like Paulatuk, although temperatures there will be slightly cooler than the southern part of the territory.
Lowry said while an upper ridge isn’t unusual in the winter, this one is stronger than normal.
“This is approaching three standard deviations from normal, which is fairly anomalous.”
Temperatures are expected to cool off in the NWT by the second week of December.
Lowry said northerners should keep the warming temperatures in mind when it comes to outdoor activities like travelling on ice.