Nunatsiaq Online
NEWS: Nunavut January 06, 2014 - 12:10 pm

Watch out: heavy winds, snow headed for Nunavik, Baffin, Kivalliq regions

Environment Canada: Winds could reach 135 km/h in Iqaluit, Pangnirtung

SARAH ROGERS
Environment Canada says falling snow combined with heavy winds Jan. 7 will mean white-out conditions in many Nunavik and Nunavut communities, much like the conditions seen here in Kuujjuaq this past November. (PHOTO BY SARAH ROGERS)
Environment Canada says falling snow combined with heavy winds Jan. 7 will mean white-out conditions in many Nunavik and Nunavut communities, much like the conditions seen here in Kuujjuaq this past November. (PHOTO BY SARAH ROGERS)

(Updated Jan. 6, 4:12 p.m.)

A powerful storm is moving north from southern Quebec and is forecast to arrive in Nunavik and parts of Nunavut Jan. 7, bringing with it blizzard conditions and severe winds reaching as high as 135 kilometres an hour.

Environment Canada has issued weather warnings in the Ungava Bay region starting late Jan. 6, predicting snow combined with high winds will begin to blow in the afternoon, bringing near-zero visibilities and blizzard conditions to most Nunavik communities overnight.

The storm will gradually make its way into Nunavut, where Environment Canada is forecasting winds of at least 100 km/hr throughout southern Baffin Island.

“There won’t be a lot of snow, but the wind is the most important factor here,” said Environment Canada meteorologist Brian Proctor.

Wind gusts of 120 km/hr or more are forecast for Iqaluit and Pangnirtung.

Proctor said the storm has the potential to be the strongest seen in Nunavut’s capital since February 2007, when 135 km/hr winds caused damage to a number of buildings.

The City of Iqaluit has advised residents on trucked water delivery service to conserve water by taking smaller baths, or none at all, and to reduce or eliminate their laundry loads.

The city said they’ll station extra fire and ambulance crews at the fire hall. Officials have also advised residents not to venture out during times of limited visibility.

“Take additional safety measures to ensure basic emergency supplies are available such as food, water, flashlights, spare batteries. Use of candles or open flame for heat or light is not advised and use caution if using space heaters,” the city said in an announcement.

The city said emergency services may be delayed because of the bad weather.

Blizzard conditions will continue to move westwards Jan. 7, spreading through the Kivalliq region with slightly less intensity — wind gusts are expected to drop to about 70 km/hr.

Proctor said that most regions will be spared from extreme wind chills; the wind chill in the Baffin region is set to hit -30 C, although in parts of the Kivalliq, the wind chill will dip down to -56 C.

“It’s going to be pretty ugly,” said Proctor. “If people are trying to travel in between communities, if will be pretty tricky.”

This week’s storm was created by a quickly deepening low pressure centre and a significant cold front that Proctor said is “injecting a lot of energy into the storm.”

The storm should have passed through Nunavut by the morning of Jan. 8, although Environment Canada says it could persist in areas around Repulse Bay and Coral Harbour until Jan. 9.

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