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Frigid temperatures arrive in Yukon

Golden Horn Elementary students head back to class after heating issue fixed
A cyclist rides along the Millenium Trail in downtown Whitehorse on a chilly Feb. 9. (Haley Ritchie/Yukon News)

Frigid weather caused by the polar vortex that’s impacting much of the country descended on the Yukon Feb. 9, impacting everything from residents’ daily commutes to snow clearing planned in the territory’s capital. The extreme temperatures have continued into Feb 10.

The coldest spot in the territory and, for that matter the country, on the afternoon of Feb. 9 was in Dawson where the mercury dipped to -43 C. Burwash, meanwhile, was the warmest place in the Yukon to be at -27 C. Whitehorse had a temperature of -37 C at 2 p.m. though it saw temperatures as low as -42 C at earlier in the day. On Feb. 10 at 8 a.m., it was -35 C in Whitehorse with a wind chill that made it feel like -48 C.

The seven-day forecast shows warmer weather could be ahead with temperatures warming up over the next few days.

Despite the cold, no records were broken in Whitehorse where the coldest recorded temperature on Feb. 9 remains -49.3 C in 1943.

Many throughout the territory took to social media lamenting the frigid temperatures.

While some simply vented about the weather, others sought help to jump-start vehicles that had batteries die in a losing war to the cold temperatures, and others issued warnings to drive carefully in the ice fog that covered much of the city.

It also took a toll on the city’s plans to clear streets of snow with officials letting the public know of delays.

“Due to extreme cold weather, there will be unexpected delays in this week’s snow removal plan,” officials stated in a tweet. “Crews will do their best to complete streets with no parking signs in place. Please be prepared for re-scheduling.”

Meanwhile, students at Golden Horn Elementary School ended up with much of Feb. 9 off from school after the heating system went out. Parents were instructed to pick kids up at the school mid-morning with students waiting in the two heated portables at the school until they could go home.

Students were back to school Feb. 10. Erin MacDonald, director of community relations and engagement for Education, stated in an email that facilities staff were able to repair a heating blanket on the school’s propane tanks that supply the school’s central heating system.

“An extra heating blanket was also added as an additional measure to ensure the heating system continues to function correctly in the colder weather,” she stated in her email, going on to thank school staff who ensured students stayed safe and warm while waiting to be picked up and parents for working with the school to pick up students and ensure they could get home safely.

While many have found themselves dealing with the challenges cold weather brings, at least one local business found a way to reward those braving the elements to come into the shop.

On its Facebook page on Feb. 9, Well-Read Books addressed a post to “Dear Brave book people”, offering a Well-Read bag to those who came in and shopped.

Contact Stephanie Waddell at

Stephanie Waddell

About the Author: Stephanie Waddell

I joined Black Press in 2019 as a reporter for the Yukon News, becoming editor in February 2023.
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