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Warmer than normal winter expected for Nunavut

Environment Canada is reaffirming an earlier forecast calling for a warmer than normal winter in Nunavut with "slightly" above normal precipitation. The deterministic models indicate average winter temperatures will be 0.5 to 5 C warmer than average.

Winter temperatures are forecast to be be 0.5 to 5 degrees celsius warmer than average in Nunavut this year. Rajnesh Sharma/NNSL photo

Kitikmeot region

Last winter, Cambridge Bay had an average winter temperature of -30.3 C. The temperature is considered "normal" compared to seasonal averages recorded from 1981 to 2010. The average winter temperature during that period was -30.9 C.

The Kitikmeot region can expect above normal temperatures this winter. Environment Canada predicts temperatures will be one degree Celsius warmer than normal. The precipitation is forecast to be normal.

Qikiqtaaluk region

The Qikiqtaaluk has a high probability of above normal temperatures. Environment Canada predicts many places in the region will be up by 5 C.

Last winter, Iqaluit had an average temperature of -22 C. The average winter temperature in Iqaluit from 1981 to 2010 was -25.2 C, according to Environment Canada meteorologist Sara Hoffin.

Southern Baffin Island is predicted to have "slightly above normal" precipitation, although the department's confidence on that prediction is low, added Hoffin.

Kivalliq Region

The Kivalliq is expected to experience above normal temperatures, up to 1 C warmer than normal this winter.

Last winter, Rankin Inlet had an average winter temperature of -29.9 C. The 30-year winter average temperature is -28.8 C.

Since the temperatures are within a standard deviation of the data, it can be concluded that Rankin Inlet's average winter temperature last year was normal, explained Hoffin.

Normal precipitation is expected to fall this winter in Kivalliq.

Possible effects of a mild winter in communities

According to consulting wildlife biologist Jeff Higdon, the mild weather will possibly allow people more time to go boating. Reduced ice cover, however, can also lead to more waves and rough seas which limits the opportunities to get out hunting, he said.

Last month, Mayor Meeka Kiguktak of Grise Fiord explained how the warmer temperatures have affected her community.

"It makes it very difficult for the residents to hunt seal and polar bear when the ice is not freezing," she said previously.

Meanwhile, last week in Qikiqtarjuaq the sea ice has been freezing and the boating season has ended.

Mayor Harry Alookie stated he is happy the sea ice is freezing because harvesters are anxious to hunt on the "freshly" formed ice.

Alookie also mentioned that it becomes "pretty mild" when the northerly winds die off.