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Extreme Cold

Yukon - Feb. 2008

Winters are notoriously harsh in the Yukon and this year there has been a particularly nasty cold snap that has been lasting for weeks. I traveled to the region to document the extreme conditions. The coldest I encountered was -44C (-47F) with a wind chill of -50C (-58F).

I did end up getting some frostbite on my face. I only had a small area of skin exposed while driving a snowmobile, but that was all it took.

3.27 PM PST Friday 8 February 2008
Wind chill warning for
Whitehorse continued
Very cold temperatures combined with gusty northerly winds will produce extreme wind chill values overnight through Saturday.
This is a warning that extreme wind chill conditions are expected or occurring in these regions. Monitor weather conditions..Listen for updated statements.
 
An extremely cold airmass combined with northerly winds of 30 to 50 km/h along sections of the south Klondike highway and Haines Road will continue to produce extreme wind chill values reaching minus 50 tonight through Saturday morning. Frostbite can occur in minutes in these conditions.
High pressure over central Yukon coupled with a low pressure centre tracking to the gulf of Alaska this evening will give rise to increasing northerly winds. These winds will combine with the very cold temperatures to foster extreme wind chill values in the minus 50 to minus 60 range over regions of southern and central Yukon as well as the far north including northern Dempster.

Yukon_Winter_03

Yukon_Winter_05

Yep, that's -40... The point where the Celsius and Fahrenheit scales meet.

It is so cold that throwing a cup of boiling water into the air causes it to explode into ice crystals before it hits the ground.

Yukon_Winter_01

Yukon_Winter_04

My mini thermometer doesn't even work in these temperatures.

A snowy winter scene in Whitehorse.

Yukon_Winter_02

It looks beautiful but at -40C, being outside for too long without the proper clothing can cause frostbite within minutes.