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Powerful storm set extreme wind records in Canada's Arctic

Wednesday, December 30th 2020, 1:25 pm - An all-time record of 136 km/h was set in the Baffin Island community of Pangnirtung during the course of this powerful blizzard.

The storm that brought snow to southern Ontario just in time for Christmas was much harsher to the communities of Nunavut, with several days of blizzard conditions and strong winds peaking in record territory.

From Saturday through to Tuesday, Environment Canada recorded staggering wind gusts ranging from 80 km/h to in excess of 136 km/h.

The community of Pangnirtung, home to around 1,500 people, was the hardest-hit, with a peak gust of 136 km/h, which Environment Canada says was the all-time record for the community.

Nunavut winds

Those were powerful winds, and aside from making for extreme blizzard conditions while they were ongoing, they were enough to cause serious damage across Nunavut.

Pangnirtung resident Sky Panipak tweeted photos from the community in the storm's aftermath, saying at least one person was hurt in a structure collapse and had to be taken to hospital in Ottawa.

“Many shacks and cabins are gone. Many, many snowmobile windshields are gone. Some injuries we have heard of so far,” Panipak told the Canadian Press.

The storm did set other, less ominous records: Pangnirtung, along with Igloolik, both recorded new daily record temperatures on Sunday and Monday. Pangnirtung's daytime high of 4°C set on Sunday was considerably higher than the previous record of -3.5°C, set two decades ago.

Nunavut temps

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