First extreme cold warning of the winter for Yellowknife, Tłı̨chǫ

A detail of the downtown Yellowknife skyline in November 2020
A detail of the downtown Yellowknife skyline in November 2020. Sarah Pruys/Cabin Radio

Environment Canada issued an extreme cold warning for Yellowknife and Tłı̨chǫ communities on Sunday, with temperatures expected to dip toward -50C with wind chill.

Federal forecasters said clear skies would help send temperatures down to -40C in Yellowknife, Behchokǫ̀, Wekweètì and Whatì on Sunday night. Even with relatively light wind, wind chill values of near -50C are expected by Monday morning.

“Temperatures will warm up slightly Monday afternoon, and cloud cover on Monday night should keep the extreme cold from returning,” Environment Canada said.

The threshold for extreme cold warnings varies depending where in Canada they are issued.



In most of the Northwest Territories, they are issued when the temperature – either with or without wind chill – is expected to reach -50C for at least two hours.

In Paulatuk, Sachs Harbour and Ulukhaktok, such warnings are only issued for temperatures of -55C and lower.

By contrast, temperatures of -30C are enough to trigger the same warning in many parts of Ontario.

“Extreme cold puts everyone at risk,” Environment Canada warned in Sunday’s advisory. “Risks are greater for young children, older adults, people with chronic illnesses, people working or exercising outdoors, and those without proper shelter.

“Cover up. Frostbite can develop within minutes on exposed skin, especially with wind chill. If it’s too cold for you to stay outside, it’s too cold for your pet to stay outside.”