Wednesday, January 13, 2016

The balmy north

You can get weird weather living in the North. This time last year we were in the middle of an epic cold snap. It had been weeks of temperatures in the -30C range, and that's before you added windchill. Windchill would put it into the -40C and -50C without much effort. Since schools closed when you got Extreme Wind Chill warnings (-50C in case you were wondering) there were a lot of closures...and grumpy parents. On one particularly horrific day, temperatures dropped to -44C with windchill at -67C. I used that day to horrify Americans in New York last October to explain just how cold it could get where I live.

It was a long, hard cold winter. By many accounts the coldest one Iqaluit had seen in decades.

So what do you do to follow that up? Well, how about a day in the middle of January where it was....+1C. Which is what the temperature was here today. Seasonal norms are between -24C and -31C in case you were wondering. Or as I told friends in St. John's, it's roughly the equivalent of waking up this morning and discover it was +30C. That would freak out people.

It certainly was freaking out people here. Normally when you get temperature spikes like that in the middle of winter you get something truly horrific. I remember the last big one we had, back in 2008, I think, when it hit +3C at the end of February. On top of that it was pouring rain and 90 km/h winds. So when everything froze a day or so later Iqaluit was a skating rink for weeks.

But today it was fairly...civil. We had some high winds. Pangnirtung got smacked around quite nicely with winds hitting around 110 km/h. We had some moments of unpleasantness, but nothing epic. I spent the day walking around in a Spring coat. Environment Canada has spent most of the last few days trying to figure out what exactly they should be warning us about. They knew something was coming, and I think we got warning for just about everything. Environment Canada - good for predicting cold, clear and sunny weather in the Arctic, but not much else.

The worse we had to deal with were flights being cancelled. Probably because of the winds, but also I suspect the airlines couldn't believe that something evil wasn't going to happen in town when they were halfway here, meaning they would have to turn around. Its meant no mail in days and NorthMart looks like it had a run on it as if the zombie apocalypse was underway. No fit fruit or vegetables to speak of.

However, we did get this...

Photo: Nick Murray/CBC North
That's what the light looked like in Iqaluit around sunset today. There's no filters on that pic. That's actually what it looked like when you were outside. It was surreal. It was also freaking out a lot of people. Which I think is completely reasonable.

This being Iqaluit, the temperature is dropping to about -22C tomorrow. So that's some whiplash. Also, if you're married to someone who does not handle sudden temperature and pressure changes well because of her arthritis, this all well and good to look and, put it sucks pretty much for her. The warm temperatures were nice and all, but I think we'd both like something seasonal and stable.

Last Five
1. 2 -1 - Imogen Heap
2. Morning light - Eskimo Joe
3. My heart will go on - Me First and the Gimmie Gimmies
4. Nature of the experiment - Tokyo Police Club
5. Armagideon time - The Clash

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