Preliminary data from Fort Smith’s airport weather station suggests the town has broken the Northwest Territories’ all-time temperature record.
Data published to the website of Environment and Climate Change Canada gave a temperature of 39.6C at Fort Smith’s airport as of 3pm on Wednesday, later rising to 39.9C. The territory’s previous all-time recorded high was 39.4C, also in Fort Smith, in July 1941.
Factoring in the Humidex – which combines temperature with humidity – Fort Smith had a feels-like rating of up to 50C late on Wednesday afternoon, nearly identical to the Humidex rating in Lytton, British Columbia, as that village set national heat records earlier this week.
The heat came as a power outage affected the town. The NWT Power Corporation said it had lost supply from the Taltson hydro system and was switching to diesel backup.
The Salt River First Nation initially turned its conference centre into a cooling zone for residents as temperatures in the town rose well above 30C, but was later forced to close the facility as power was lost.
Chief David Poitras said the town arena was instead available as a cooling centre until 11pm.
Earlier this week, the town’s Northern store said it would provide free bottles of water to residents who need them until further notice.
“There are a number of our community members who, for various reasons, do not have the wherewithal to deal effectively with this heat. It is vital that we all stay hydrated,” store staff posted online.
Hourly data from weather stations is generally not considered immediately definitive and may be subject to change.