by P.J. Harston
Northern News Services
NNSL (Feb 10/97) - Once again our fairweather friends to the southwest are basking in the heat and sunshine that accompanies a Liard-region melt-down.
"It's absolutely lovely. It's sunny and it's great. It was minus five when I got up this morning," said Fort Liard's Wanda Sorrell, last Thursday.
The great outdoors were so hot, kids at Liard's Echo Dene School were running around outside Thursday afternoon in T-shirts -- no jackets, no mitts, no hats!
"Well what do you expect them to do when it's eight degrees above zero and sunny out?" said teacher Lorna Hill. "The banana and palm trees are in full bloom."
Just a few kilometres west of Fort Liard in Trout Lake, it wasn't quite as warm, but residents there were unexpectedly cut off from the road system when their winter road washed out late last week.
"It's so warm out, the road overflowed, so we're stuck here ... again," laughed Bertha Deneron.
The road should be back in service as soon as the weather turns cold again.
Deneron said the community has been a hub of activity with near 0 C temperatures sending everyone outside for fresh air without the added bonus of frostbite.
"All the kids and half the community headed out ice fishing yesterday," Bertha said Thursday afternoon.
"Lots are out ski-dooing and walking around, it's so nice," she said.
That warm weather was expected to move west and infiltrate the North and South Slave regions over the weekend.
Environment Canada's Brian Mottus said Thursday that Western Arctic residents could expect unusually mild temperatures through to Monday -- when the chilly weather is expected to creep back into the picture.
"It's great timing for a nice run of good weather, though," said Mottus. "I think everybody needed it."
The same, however, can't be said for the Baffin and Keewatin regions.
Thursday afternoon saw Coral Harbour on Southampton Island in the midst of a blizzard with temperatures and wind-chill combining for an equivalent temperature of near -64 C.
Over in Iqaluit, Environment Canada called for winds of up to 80 km/h, although the temperature was expected to hover in the -18 C range.