Nunatsiaq Online
NEWS: Nunavut January 07, 2014 - 4:04 pm

Iqaluit registers 135 km/hour winds, power outages, flying debris

Government offices, schools, shut in most Nunavik, Baffin and Kivalliq communities

SARAH ROGERS
A severe winter storm blew into Iqaluit just before noon Jan. 7, bringing with it 135 km/h wind gusts. (PHOTO BY JIM BELL)
A severe winter storm blew into Iqaluit just before noon Jan. 7, bringing with it 135 km/h wind gusts. (PHOTO BY JIM BELL)

This winter’s most powerful storm to date moved up through Nunavik and into Nunavut about midday Jan. 7, when winds, peaking at 135 kilometres an hour, shut government offices, schools and businesses across the region.

By early afternoon in Nunavut’s capital, the Qulliq Energy Corp. was working to restore power to a number of Iqaluit neighbourhoods while power lines shook in the wind and debris from homes and other structures blew through city streets.

Only four centimetres of snow was forecast to fall over south Baffin Jan. 7.

But Environment Canada recorded 135 km/hour wind gusts in Iqaluit mid-afternoon — on par with the peak winds recorded during the severe Feb. 4, 2007 storm that also caused widespread damage to local buildings.

“The peak winds are the same strength, but overall, the sustained winds [Jan. 7] have been stronger for a longer period of time,” said Environment Canada meteorologist Brian Proctor. “And it’s easily conceivable that those winds could blow over [135 km] today.”

By noon in Iqaluit, city offices closed and the city pulled road crews and water and sewage trucks off the roads.

The city also told residents that emergency services would likely be delayed due to weather conditions and advised people to stay indoors.

The blizzard shut down government offices and schools in many communities in Nunavik and in Nunavut’s Baffin and Kivalliq regions.

The Kivalliq registered less intense winds, although communities there reported white-out conditions and frigid temperatures below -50 C.

The storm is expected to ease off in Nunavik and most parts of Nunavut Jan. 8, although blizzard conditions could persist in areas around Repulse Bay and Coral Harbour until Jan. 9.

Proctor also warned residents of the southern Baffin region that while they may see relief from the blizzard at daybreak Jan. 8, the storm will likely redevelop through the morning before finally blowing off around the lunch hour.

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