An arctic outflow leads to cold temperatures in Prince Rupert, one week until Christmas. (Photo: File photo)

An arctic outflow leads to cold temperatures in Prince Rupert, one week until Christmas. (Photo: File photo)

Temperatures plummet in Prince Rupert

Arctic outflow expected to last through Wednesday

Cold temperatures in Prince Rupert, which have partially led the city to call a Local State of Emergency, are not expected to lift until Dec. 22.

“We have an Arctic outflow warning in effect for the North Coast of B.C. and with that we’re seeing some really strong outflow winds that, along with some bitterly cold temperatures, are definitely cause for concern in terms of frostbite and other things,” Bobby Sekhon, a meteorologist for Environment and Climate Change Canada told The Northern View on Dec. 19.

Arctic air has pushed out into coastal B.C. from the interior, the Environment Canada website stated.

During the early morning of Dec. 19, the mercury dropped to -13 C at the Prince Rupert airport Environment Canada states.

Record temperature lows for this time of year are in the -10 C to -20 C range on the North Coast. So, the region might approach a new record, Sekhon said.

The Arctic outflow is expected to stay through to Dec. 21 (Wednesday), but on Thursday things will start to transition. Moisture coming in combined with cold air may lead to snow, Sekhon said. Then, as early as Friday the temperature will start to warm up, with the possibility of rain falling into the Christmas long weekend.

The daytime high on Dec. 20 is forecasted to be -9 C, with evening temperatures dropping as low as -13 C, according to Enviornment Canada. It will get a bit warmer on Dec. 21, with a daytime high of -8 C and a nightime low of -9 C. Then on Dec. 22, the daytime high will reach -5 C and the low will only drop to -7 C.

The cold weather has been wreaking havoc on the city’s infrastructure. The City of Prince Rupert called a Local State of Emergency after several water mains broke on Dec. 17.

Wintry weather started unusually early this year, Sekhon explained. Summer went late and transitioned almost immediately into winter, so the region has been dealing with cold days since early November.

“Arctic outflows are not something new to the area, but perhaps it’s that this year we’ve had more of the colder conditions.”

The Environment Canada website advises residents to dress warmly in layers and stay dry.

Sekhon does not expect to see another Arctic outflow in the last week of 2022, but said it is still early to make a forecast.

“We’re going to have to watch for things, especially towards the end of the year, how things might transition, because there is uncertainty,” he said.


 
Kaitlyn Bailey | Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
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