Part of Dempster highway closed due to blizzard, June snow showers hit the North

Fort McPherson, N.W.T., was dusted in snow Wednesday. Resident Mary Teya says though the community gets snow in the spring from time to time, this snow dump is ‘unusual.’ (William Firth/CBC)

Fort McPherson, N.W.T., got a cool surprise Wednesday morning.

Resident Mary Teya said just the other day the hamlet was dry with no snow on the ground and even green grass beginning to grow.

Now, it’s all blanketed in white.

According to Environment Canada’s website, the community can expect between two and four centimetres of snow Wednesday with wind from the north gusting between 20 to 40 kilometres an hour. There’s a high of 1 C, but there’s a wind chill making it feel as cold as -7 Wednesday morning.

Teya said the main road in town is “quite mucky.”

‘Unpredictable’ weather lately

There are chances of snow flurries on Thursday evening as well, the Environment Canada website says, with showers later in the week.

Teya, who has lived in Fort Mcpherson her whole life, said she can’t specifically remember the last time there was snow in June, but said this amount of snow is “unusual.”

“Every spring we’ll get some snow but now, like the last few years, has been really different,” she said.

Teya said previously, she could reliably predict the weather based on the season and time of year. But now, not so much.

“The weather is really unpredictable.”

Meanwhile, other parts of the North have been hit with June winter conditions too.

The Dempster Highway, particularly near the Richardson Mountains (west of the mouth of the Mackenzie River in northern Yukon), is under a blizzard warning, issued by Environment Canada.

It warns that the total snowfall accumulation for the area could be about 10 to 15 centimetres, combined with strong winds and blowing snow, which could make travelling through the area tough. There even may be times of zero visibility.

Just before noon, the Northwest Territories government said the Dempster Highway between Eagle Plains, Yukon, and Fort McPherson was closed due to poor visibility.

“The remainder of the highway is open and in fair driving conditions,” reads the notice, posted to Twitter.

Mix of rain or snow

The Environment Canada notice said the southern portions of the Dempster Highway will likely stay warmer and could see a mix of rain or snow, though without blizzard conditions. There was also a risk of freezing rain early Wednesday morning.

In Cambridge Bay, Nunavut, snow began to fall Tuesday, and has continued to dust the community into Wednesday, according to reports on Environment Canada.

The website said the community could be getting more snow Thursday morning, about five centimetres, with wind gusting between 20 and 40 kilometres an hour. It’s high will be -1 C, with a wind chill making it feel closer to -8 C.

Environment Canada says the snow for should end by Thursday evening.

Meanwhile in Yellowknife, the sun is shining Wednesday afternoon, and the city could see the temperature reach as high as 25 C, according to Environment Canada.

Related stories from around the North:Cambridge Bay

Canada: Arctic expedition commits to recovering sunken truck near Taloyoak, Nunavut, CBC News

Finland: The world could transition entirely to cheap, safe renewable energy before 2050: Finnish study, Yle News

Greenland: Melting of Greenland glacier generating its own heat and accelerating thaw from base, says study, Eye on the Arctic

Norway: Warm spring day posted in Svalbard, Norway, The Independent Barents Observer

Sweden: Sweden’s climate policies closer to reaching goals, Radio Sweden.

Amy Tucker, CBC

Amy Tucker has experience reporting in various parts of Southern Alberta and is currently based in Calgary.

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