Yukon smashes 8 high temperature records this past weekend

A photo of the Miles Canyon in Whitehorse in October. (Virginie Ann/CBC)

Local weather watcher says a high pressure ridge creating warm and dry conditions was to blame

The Yukon saw an unusually warm Thanksgiving weekend — so warm in fact, there were multiple record highs set throughout the territory.

David Millar, a retired weather service specialist from Environment Canada, said it’s not unusual to see warm weather this time of year once and a while in Yukon, but this past weekend was a bit more rare.

“All our records going back into the 1940s indicate we do occasionally get warm weather this time of the year, but particularly in the last few days it’s been exceptional,” he said.

In fact, Yukon saw eight record highs on Saturday.

According to Millar, those records were:

  • In Beaver Creek, it was 18.5 C, with the last record for that day going back to 1969 at 13.9 C.
  • Burwash Landing was 17.3 C compared to its old record for the day at 16 C in 1993.
  • Carmacks had a high of 19.1 C; its old record was 12.7 C set in 2003.
  • Faro had a high of 15.5 C; its old record was 13.5 C set in 1988.
  • Haines Junction had a record of 18 C; its old record was 14.8 C set in 1996.
  • Teslin had a high of 17.7 C; its old record was 15 C in 1943.
  • Watson Lake had a high of 19.4 C degrees; its old record was 15 C set in 1988.
  • Whitehorse had a high of 16.6 C (from the airport station); its old record was 14.3 C set in 1988.

He said those records can be attributed to a high pressure ridge centred over western North America in B.C. and down the U.S. coast.

“As a result, that’s producing warm weather and dry conditions. We’ve had little precipitation over the last several weeks and that ridge has been responsible for all of the records that we’ve had recently,” Millar said.

He said if the current weather system does not break down, there’s a chance Yukon could seen an “above normal” October, although, he added “that could change rapidly.”

“If this weather pattern breaks down, we could expect a distinct change in our weather over the next few days. In fact, I think the forecast is calling for cooler temperatures early in the week here.”

A long summer

Over the weekend, Janelle Nagano told CBC that it feels like summer was extended.

“The weather right now is pretty great. I mean it’s usually windy in Whitehorse,” she said.

“Usually it’s like snowing and first frost is already happening so you’re kind of putting your bigger machines away.”

Meanwhile Kathy Pritchard took advantage of the weather to work on some home landscaping over the weekend.

“The weather is amazing today, I think it was plus 10 on the deck this morning,” she said.

“We’re spending the day watering all of our shrubs and trees and our fruit bushes just because it they need water. It’s really too dry right now and also gives me the opportunity to do a lot of transplanting of flowers for next year.”

Pritchard moved to Whitehorse in 1975. She said the weather has “definitely” changed over the years.

“Typically it would be pretty cold and we’d be preparing for snow,” she said.

-With files from Virginie Ann

Related stories from around the North: 

Canada: In the N.W.T., dry, warm weather is causing the fire season to persist unusually long, CBC News

Norway: Extreme rain over Svalbard is caused by less sea-ice, The Independent Barents Observer

United States: Bering Sea region focus of recent papers on climate risk to northern communities, Eye on the Arctic

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