Update: Killer Whales Freed From Hudson Bay Ice

By , Senior Meteorologist
January 12, 2013; 7:13 AM
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UPDATE:
12:20 p.m. EST
The Associated Press: "About a dozen killer whales that were trapped under sea ice appeared to be free after the ice shifted, a leader of a northern Canada village said Thursday."


Trapped under arctic ice, this rare video shows the whales desperately trying to get the air they need to survive.

A pod of around 12 whales, first spotted Wednesday, are confined to a small patch of open water slightly bigger than a pickup truck in Inukjuak, Quebec, Canada. Inukjuak is more than 900 miles north of Montreal.

Killer whales, being mammals, must breathe air. However, most of the area is now solidly covered in ice. Ice analysis shows at least 90 percent ice coverage throughout Hudson Bay and the Hudson Strait. The Hudson Strait links the bay to the open, ice-free Labrador Sea, roughly 700 miles away.

According to a local resident interviewed by Reuters, it's unusual to see killer whales in the area in January, but the ice-over happened later than usual this year. Local residents have no means to help the orcas; they have asked the Canadian government to send an icebreaker.

The normal January high temperature for the area is 5 below zero F with a low around 18 below zero F. Temperatures locally will be somewhat above normal -- still well below freezing -- through about Monday, followed by somewhat colder-than-normal weather next week.

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