Wind gusts peak at 141 km/h in violent Iqaluit blizzard
Storm continues to blow over central Nunavut and Nunavik
Residents of Iqaluit woke up to downed power lines, debris and giant snow drifts Jan. 8, the morning after the centre of a violent blizzard blew through the south Baffin region.
Nunavut’s capital felt the brunt of the storm with heavy wind gusts that peaked at 141 km/h at about 6:00 p.m. Jan. 7.
While intense wind gusts generally peak for a short period of time, Environment Canada meteorologist Brian Proctor said this storm produced sustained heavy winds for a much longer period than most winter storms.
“The interesting thing about this storm was the duration of the wind,” he said. “From about noon to 9:00 p.m. we were seeing intermittent wind gusts at more than 130 km/h.”
Weather warnings ended for Iqaluit the morning of Jan. 8, while residents assessed the damage. That included collapsed garages, broken windows, damaged roofs and power lines, snowed-in vehicles and metal and plywood sheets strewn along the shoreline.
But no major incidents were reported Jan. 8 and most territorial and municipal offices were set to re-open at 1:00 p.m.
In central Nunavut and west to the Kivalliq region, blizzard warnings remained in place, along with most communities in Nunavik.
Proctor said while the low pressure storm has already tracked directly through Iqaluit and southern Baffin, there remains a strong gradient across the Hudson Strait and Hudson Bay that will mean blizzard conditions through until Jan. 9.
While Iqalummiut will get a respite from the storm today, Proctor warned that winds will pick up again to 70 km/h Jan. 9, with the storm finally blowing over by the weekend.