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Yellowknife

Extreme cold warning in Yellowknife with nippy Christmas week ahead


Yellowknife residents can expect temperatures of around -50C with wind chill until at least Wednesday this week, Environment and Climate Change Canada says.

The territorial capital registered a sunny but chilly -38C without wind chill on Monday afternoon, with a low of -39C forecast overnight. Temperatures are not set to break -30C for most of the week.

“Wind chill values have dropped to near -50C today,” the federal agency said in a Monday warning that also extends to Wekweètì, Whatì, Gamètì, and Behchokǫ̀.

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“Extreme cold conditions are expected to persist until Wednesday afternoon with slight improvement through daytime periods.”

Wednesday is expected to be the week’s warmest day, with a forecast high in Yellowknife of -29C. Christmas Day is currently forecast to be sunny with a high of -33C.

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.

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

Last year, Yellowknife endured a period of brutal cold below -40C in the weeks before the holiday season, but Christmas Day itself reached a high of-15C, as did the same day a year earlier.

If it comes to pass, a high of -33C this year would be Yellowknife’s coldest Christmas Day since 2014, when the city failed to get above -35C without wind chill.

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