Whitehorse is the capital and only city of Yukon, and the largest city in northern Canada. It was incorporated in 1950 and is located at kilometer 1426 on the Alaska Highway in southern Yukon. Whitehorse's downtown and Riverdale areas occupy both shores of the Yukon River, which originates in British Columbia and meets the Bering Sea in Alaska. The city was named after the White Horse Rapids for their resemblance to the mane of a white horse, near Miles Canyon before the river was dammed.
Because of the city's location in the Whitehorse valley, the climate is milder than comparable northern communities such as Yellowknife. At this latitude winter days are short and summer days have up to about 19 hours of daylight. Whitehorse, as reported by Guinness World Records, is the city with the least air pollution in the world.
Like most of Yukon, Whitehorse has a dry subarctic climate (Köppen climate classification Dfc). However, because of the city's location in the Whitehorse valley, the climate is milder than other comparable northern communities such as Yellowknife. With an average annual temperature of −0.1 °C (31.8 °F) Whitehorse is the warmest place in the Yukon. The temperature measurements for the city are taken at the airport. The Whitehorse Riverdale weather station situated at a lower elevation than the airport is even warmer at 0.2 °C (32.4 °F).
At this latitude winter days are short and summer days have just over 19 hours of daylight. Whitehorse has an average daily high of 20.6 °C (69.1 °F) in July and average daily low of −19.2 °C (−2.6 °F) in January. The highest temperature ever recorded in Whitehorse was 35.6 °C (96 °F) on 14 June 1969. The coldest temperature ever recorded was −56.1 °C (−69 °F) on 21 January 1906.
Whitehorse has little precipitation with an average annual snowfall of 145 cm (57.09 in) and 163 mm (6.4 in) of rainfall. According to Meteorological Service of Canada, Whitehorse has the distinction of being Canada's driest city, mainly because it lies in the rain shadow of the Coast Mountains. Whitehorse is in the Cordilleran climate region, the Complex Soils of Mountain Areas soil region, the Cordilleran vegetation region, and the Boreal Cordillera ecozone.
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