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Temperatures at -50C, coldest February for parts of Nunavut

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Dangerous cold has spread into Canada as core temperatures plummet to -50 into parts of Nunavut and wind chills break into the -60s, potentially reaching record-breaking territory.

The recent cold snap comes with the descending polar vortex, a permanent feature in the upper atmosphere that harbours the coldest air on the planet. 

The displacement of the polar vortex over the past few days from its home near the North Pole to Hudson Bay has led to an outbreak of Arctic air across Canada, but the core of the vortex has been hovering over Nunavut.

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As of Monday morning, the coldest temperature reading in Kugaaruk, Nunavut was a numbing -50.0ºC, making this the coldest temperature on record for February for the hamlet. The previous record was set back in 1985 at -49.5ºC. Keep in mind, this does not factor in the wind chill, which was at times in the minus 60s.

But temperatures may drop even further Monday night, potentially passing minus 50. If Kugaaruk reaches a low temperature of -51.5ºC, this will be the coldest temperature ever recorded for this location.

Whether or not this is record-breaking, the cold is something to not take lightly. Wind chills in the minus 60s can lead to frostbite on exposed skin in less than 2 minutes.

Temperatures will likely bottom out early this week, with slight improvements mid-week. However, daytime highs will struggle to break out of the minus 30s.

Bundle up, Nunavut!


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