Tuesday night’s extreme cold ‘bottomed out the mercury’ at -50C or more in remote Chilcotin

Jennifer and Arön Toland. (Photo submitted)
Eliguk Lake Lodge Outfitters in the north west Chilcotin is a remote, year-round lodge.(Photo submitted)
This was the reading of one of the Toland’s neighbour’s thermometers. (Photo submitted)
How cold was it in the Chilcotin this week? (Photo submitted)
Jennifer Toland said after this week they’re going to have to get a new thermometre that reads to -60C. Here’s a look at what their current thermometer read Wednesday morning. (Photo submitted)

Puntzi Mountain may be the coldest place in B.C. this week at -48.8C according to Environment Canada, but if you were to ask a handful of off-the-grid homesteaders living in the Chilcotin’s remote northwest wilderness, they have a different opinion.

Jennifer and Arön Toland and their neighbours say their nighttime temperatures have literally ‘bottomed out the Mercury,’ with temperatures going far beyond what they can read on their thermometers.

“Last night was the coldest anyone can remember. Pipes froze, log cabins logs cracked, but miraculously the chickens survived in an unheated coop,” Toland said of Tuesday night’s record-breaking temperatures.

The residents are located along the famous Alexander Mackenzie Grease Trail, at 3,600 feet near the base of the Itcha Ilgatchuz mountain range, west of Williams Lake.

Read More: School District 27 buses cancelled again, Puntzi Mountain shatters record lows at -48C

“We all communicate through solar-powered satellite, and check on each other.”

Toland said despite the extreme weather this week, they wouldn’t change their lives at all living remotely and operating a wilderness lodge, Eliguk Lake Lodge Outfitters.

“We love the off-grid-life and it’s even part of our business. Arön was out packing down the runway on Eliguk Lake for bush planes last night for three hours in the dark just before we hit -40C,” she said.

Read More: Tribune readers share ‘cool’ shots during cold snap

Toland said their lodge is a wilderness destination open all year round and while it’s currently a little too cold to ice fish, it doesn’t stop them from enjoying the sunshine.

Matt MacDonald, Environment Canada warning preparedness meteorologist, told the Tribune the closest weather station to Eliguk Lake is a forestry station at Moose Lake about 13.2 kilometres northeast.

It was, however, out of service when he checked on Wednesday afternoon.

“Because it’s a forestry station they make sure it is running through the spring, summer and fall months, but a lot of them get capped or what we call winterized in the winter months because they don’t need the data as it is used for calculating fire risk and drought codes.”

When MacDonald heard the Tolands and their neighbours had seen their thermometers go beyond -50C this week, he said it was the first he’d heard of since the present arctic outbreak.

“Usually those temperatures are confined to the Yukon and Northwest Territories. It is completely possible. There is quite a bit of variability in temperature from one spot to the other.”

Typically valleys where the cold air drains down into, like close to a lake, tend to be the absolute cold spots, he added.

One weather stations costs about $10,000 to install and more goes into annual maintenance, especially if technicians have to be flown into remote locations.

Environment Canada has an agreement to pool observations from the BC Wildfire and B.C. ministries of forests and transportation weather stations.

“We have a relatively dense network, but there are some gaps in the lesser populated regions and out toward the Chilcotin region and southwestern Cariboo is definitely one of those holes,” MacDonald said.


Do you have a comment about this story? email:
editor@wltribune.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

++

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

NDP headquarters on election night, Oct. 24, 2020. (Katya Slepian/Black Press Media)
ELECTION 2020: Live blog from B.C. party headquarters

BC NDP projected to win majority government – but celebrations will look different this election

B.C. Green Party leader Sonia Furstenau outlines her party's climate action platform at Nanaimo's Vancouver Island Conference Centre earlier this month. (News Bulletin file photo)
Green leader Furstenau declared victor in her home riding on Vancouver Island

Cowichan Valley voters elect freshly minted party leader for her second term

Submitted
BC VOTES 2020: John Rustad re-elected in Nechako Lakes riding

The result is based on preliminary vote count and the final results will be available after Nov.6

John Horgan has been re-elected the MLA for Langford-Juan de Fuca. (File-Black Press)
Horgan trounces challengers to be re-elected in his Vancouver Island riding

MLA has represented constituency of Langford-Juan de Fuca and its predecessors since 2005

Shea Long roosts in the Shoot Out in the Telkwa Range. (SnoRiders, Houston/Shea Long photo)
Telkwa Range snowmobiling permit lottery opens

Application period is Oct. 20 to Nov. 20 for snowmobiliers and skiers to gain access to Starr Basin

NDP Leader John Horgan celebrates his election win in the British Columbia provincial election in downtown Vancouver, B.C., Saturday, Oct. 24, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Horgan celebrates projected majority NDP government, but no deadline for $1,000 deposit

Premier-elect says majority government will allow him to tackle issues across all of B.C.

FILE – Prime Minister Justin Trudeau greets Premier John Horgan during a press conference at the BC Transit corporate office following an announcement about new investments to improve transit for citizens in the province while in Victoria on Thursday, July 18, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Trudeau congratulates Horgan on NDP’s election victory in British Columbia

Final count won’t be available for three weeks due to the record number of 525,000 ballots cast by mail

Comedic actor Seth Rogen, right, and business partner Evan Goldberg pose in this undated handout photo. When actor Seth Rogen was growing up and smoking cannabis in Vancouver, he recalls there was a constant cloud of shame around the substance that still lingers. Rogen is determined to change that. (Maarten de Boer ohoto)
Seth Rogen talks about fighting cannabis stigma, why pot should be as accepted as beer

‘I smoke weed all day and every day and have for 20 years’

Provincial Green Party leader Sonia Furstenau speaks at Provincial Green Party headquarters at the Delta Victoria Ocean Pointe in Victoria. (Arnold Lim / Black Press)
VIDEO: Furstenau leads BC Greens to win first riding outside of Vancouver Island

Sonia Furstenau became leader of BC Greens one week before snap election was called

NDP Leader John Horgan elbow bumps NDP candidate Coquitlam-Burke Mountain candidate Fin Donnelly following a seniors round table in Coquitlam, B.C., Tuesday, October 20, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Horgan, NDP head for majority in B.C. election results

Record number of mail-in ballots may shift results

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

The Canadian border is pictured at the Peace Arch Canada/USA border crossing in Surrey, B.C. Friday, March 20, 2020. More than 4.6 million people have arrived in Canada since the border closed last March and fewer than one-quarter of them were ordered to quarantine while the rest were deemed “essential” and exempted from quarantining. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Majority of international travellers since March deemed ‘essential’, avoid quarantine

As of Oct. 20, 3.5 million travellers had been deemed essential, and another 1.1 million were considered non-essential

Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam responds to a question during a news conference Friday October 23, 2020 in Ottawa. Canada’s top physician says she fears the number of COVID-19 hospitalizations and deaths may increase in the coming weeks as the second wave continues to drive the death toll toward 10,000. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada’s top doctor warns severe illness likely to rise, trailing spike in COVID-19 cases

Average daily deaths from virus reached 23 over the past seven days, up from six deaths six weeks ago

Most Read