Monday, January 26, 2015


So it was, in a word, fucking cold in Iqaluit today. It's January in the Arctic so it's not like this is an unsual event. However, it was impressively cold today, which caps off an impressively cold month. It sank to -43C today. With windchill it actually went to -67C at one point during the early morning hours.

Despite all that, it wasn't record breaking cold, as this Nunatsiaq News story says. We've had colder, but by less than two degrees. Which is kind of disappointing, really. If you're going to be that cold, you might as well get the record-setting kind. But alas...

It's the coldest I've experienced in Nunavut. I think the previous lowest was in 2006, when I got -63C with windchill. That was delightful. As I recall, it froze the transmission of our wee little Hyundai Accent. That was a $3,000 cold snap.

Let's put it this way - this morning I let the car run for 15 minutes to warm-up and it was still sluggish. Normally I get to work, park, plug the car in, and then walk over to get a coffee, then walk back to the office. That walking takes about a minute. Today, I parked in front of the QuickStop, then drove the car to my parking spot, plugged it in and sprinted to the door. And even that 15 seconds outside hurt. I think it took less than two minutes for exposed skin to freeze today.

We were lucky today (knock on wood). The heat stayed on. The car is running fine (it probably helps that I replaced the battery last month) and none of the pipes froze. It's the kind of cold that punishes the unprepared and unlucky. More than one car today didn't start today. Of course, I found out that at least a few of them were due to people unplugging the cars in the middle of the night. Which meant the block heater and battery blankets stopped working.

In case you wondered if there's a freezing point for assholes, it's apparently colder than that. Imagine being out in -67C windchill and thinking that unplugging cars is a good idea.

Schools closed and the City of Iqaluit pulled their water and sewage trucks. I have no problems with that. Little kids often don't know better in that cold and big kids are often deeply stupid about that level of cold. And I would feel terrible if someone got frostbite delivering water to me.

So yes, damn cold. January has seen more -50C windchill days in Iqaluit then I think we saw all of last winter. Bitter, bitter stuff. Of course, people in the Kivalliq region were mocking people in Iqaluit complaining about the cold. It's always colder somewhere. And honestly, I would rather face this kind of cold than whatever snow related apocalypse that's getting ready to smash into the Northeast United States and then wander into Atlantic Canada

Anyway, it's supposed to go to -18C on Wednesday. I should go and look for swimsuit...

Last Five
1. Stop the world - The Clash
2. Dreaming - Goldfrapp
3. The laws have changed - The New Pornographers*
4. Lady Madonna (live) - Paul McCartney
5. Erie Canal (live) - Bruce Springsteen

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