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

Horgan’s caribou liaison quits

Blair Lekstrom was appointed to ease tension between local groups over plan to save threatened herds

Diaries of a City Kid: Siblings

As a child, I didn’t follow in my sisters’ footsteps, I ran… Continue reading

Peter Skene Ogden students let loose during annual Winter Formal

‘We are going to be remodelling the courtyards’

108 Lions prepare for ICE OFF contest

The 108 Mile Ranch Lions Club is currently preparing the annual ICE… Continue reading

Smudging ceremony held near 108 Mile after fatal collision

‘We want to be there for her parents and her children as much as possible’

Women take centre stage at NHL all-star skills competition

Canada beat the United States 2-1 in a spirited 3-on-3 game between female players Friday night

BCLC opens novelty bet on Harry and Meghan moving to the west coast

Meanwhile, real estate agency points to four possible homes for the family

Coastal GasLink work camp in Vanderhoof gets approved by the ALC

The work camp behind the Vanderhoof airport was first rejected by the commission in October last year

Canada slips in global corruption ranking in aftermath of SNC-Lavalin scandal

The country obtained a score of 77, which places it at the top in the Americas

Wuhan bans cars, Hong Kong closes schools as coronavirus spreads

Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam said her government will raise its response level to emergency, highest one

B.C.’s oldest practising lawyer celebrates 100th birthday, shares advice

Firefighters bring Constance Isherwood a cake with 100 birthday candles

Vernon woman suing McDonald’s for spilled coffee

Woman seeking nearly $10K, says employee failed to put lid on properly

Diners’ health tax not catching on in B.C., restaurant group says

Small businesses look for options to cover employer health tax

Most Read