Friday, January 4, 2013

Ok. Now it's Cold.

When we first moved to Nunavut, we complained about how cold it was when the first snow started to appear in September/October. People just laughed at us, and that was generally followed by some form of "Just wait. Cold is coming." When the temperature consistently dipped below -20 (before the windchill), we asked, "is this cold yet?" and the answer was still no.

It's as though Mother Nature herself has a calendar that she follows because 2013 has seen a drop in temperature since it's rolled into town, a noticeable difference from the temperatures of last week, even. When your face aches walking from the car to your front door...I'd say that's cold. Finally, we had people agreeing, "It's cold out...but it will still get colder!" Not exactly what you want to hear!

So how cold is it in Nunavut? I'm sure more Northern communities are colder, but here in Baker Lake we are looking at a trend of temperatures in the -30s but with the windchill it has gone to the -50s. I think the coldest I have seen so far is -53 (and that was not a good day to be outside). There is a lot of wind here with no trees to block it, so it makes it 100x worse. Your eyes will literally sting from the wind.

Temperature and wind aside, we also have a lot of snow on the ground that gets blown around. It's not constantly snowing, but if there's wind, it looks like it's snowing all the time because it blows everything everywhere. We're not talking a small amount either, large drifts can build up in minutes because the wind blows a lot. When the forecast calls for 5cm of snow and high wind, it could mean a blizzard because the falling snow blends with the blowing snow and it turns into a white mess. The plows here are constantly out on the roads clearing them because drifts build up so quickly. There is a certain beauty in watching snow blow across a stretch of road - it looks like a fog machine has come and is blowing gentle streams of fog across your path. One of these days I'll take my camera out and take some shots for you to really see what I mean.

What boggles my mind is as cold as it is, this isn't even as cold as it will be. How much different will -65 feel compared to -53? After a while, isn't cold just cold? Apparently we're going to find out in the next little bit. To be honest though, if it doesn't get any colder, I won't be complaining! At least we are getting our money's worth out of our parkas and other winter gear we bought!



  1. I'm surprised they don't do snow fences. Or is there just too much damn snow?

    1. There is a snow fence, but it's only across part of the town. You don't get it along the aiport road, or past a certain part of the hamlet - I assume because the hamlet's grown over the years and the fence was only needed for the core area where the majority of the houses are.

      Our side of town doesn't have a snow fence, so we get incredible drifts. According to some people, there will be times when our main road connections will be drifted in because the plows can't keep up and take care of the rest of the hamlet.


  2. I've even had my whole garage buried Lily and had to have it plowed to get out because my front door was frozen shut. Not sure that's any fun though

  3. I know that region is known for being one of the colder parts of the territory because of the topography and winds. Northern Baffin Island wasn't so bad. The coldest reading I ever saw on my thermometer when I was in Arctic Bay was -47.3C but the wind was dead calm so it was a really freaky sensation, hard to describe to anyone who hasn't experienced first hand. I also recall being out in a blizzard in Iqaluit back in 2004 I believe. I walked from the high school back to my hotel in windchills that were pushing -70C. THAT was definitely an experience. I just did it the one time to basically say I had done and survived though there's no way anyone could ever pay me enough to do a repeat performance!

    Stay warm!

    1. That reminds me of our first blizzard when Jeff got dressed up and went for a walk around the block - just to say he did it!

      Must be a guy thing ;)