Four new records for maximum high daily temperatures were set last week in Hay River.
More than that, some of the old records were smashed as a warm mass of air engulfed much of Western Canada.
“The warm air really spread northwards from the Pacific coast of Washington and Oregon up through British Columbia, Alberta and up into the southern NWT,” said Brian Proctor, an Edmonton-based meteorologist with the Meteorological Service of Canada, a division of Environment and Climate Change Canada, speaking on March 21. “The last seven days it really started to spread in, associated with a really, really strong warm ridge of high pressure building in. Associated with that, we’ve seen a number of records fall over the last five or six days in various communities in the southern NWT.”
Proctor said that, on March 17, Hay River set a record of 9.3 degrees Celsius for that date, breaking the old record of 8.3 degrees set in 1928.
On March 18, another record maximum daily temperature was set when the mercury hit 14.1 degrees, breaking the old record of 10.0 degrees set in 1928.
On March 19, the temperature reached 16.2 degrees, breaking the old record of 10.7 degrees from 1979.
And on March 21, the temperature was 12.7 degrees, topping the previous record of 10.4 degrees from that date in 1992.
Proctor noted that temperature records in Hay River go back to 1893.
“We’ve managed to sort of look at all the periods that we’ve had observations or private station records in those areas and link them all together,” he said. “So our records go back quite far for Hay River.”
Proctor noted that the temperature records in Yellowknife only go back to 1942.
During the recent warm period, new maximum daily record temperatures were also set in Norman Wells, Tulita, Wrigley, Fort Simpson, Inuvik, Yellowknife and Fort Smith.
In Norman Wells on March 19, the daily high record for that date of 4.0 degrees from 1982 was obliterated by a temperature of 16.8 degrees. Records in Norman Wells go back to 1943.
Proctor noted there were also record temperatures throughout Alberta, British Columbia and the Yukon.
Along with the mass of warm air, the temperatures were so high because of exceptionally clear skies, the meteorologist explained. “So it’s really exacerbated the situation and really allowed that air mass to warm fairly rapidly.”