|Watch out for nasty winter weather|
by Angela Hill
Survival tips for frosty days
The weather has become cold again; there is snow, people are wearing toques, and Environment Canada has released tips on how to be prepared for winter.
Bob Cormier, weather preparedness meteorologist, sums up how to be organized. “One word – caution, especially for traveling,” he said. People need to be ready because the weather can change quickly. “Pay really close attention to the forecasts,” he adds, mentioning checking the weather line or the internet to get a constant update.
Cormier has several tips on how to best survive winter in Regina. The first is be ready. “That is the absolute most important. Be aware of what’s happening.” He suggested having a plan for what to do if you get stuck in a bad weather situation. For those traveling long distances, an emergency car kit is recommended. These kits should include a shovel, batteries, jumper cables, candles, and warm clothing. For students, Cormier recommends always having appropriate clothing on hand.
Every year the area from Regina south to the United States border gets slammed with some of the worst weather in Saskatchewan. The storms blow in from two directions, across the south western United States and towards Manitoba, called the “Colorado Lows,” bringing huge snowfalls and wind. The rest of the extreme weather comes in from the west, bringing small snowfalls but freezing winds.
People every year fall victim the high wind chills, heavy snowfall, freezing rain, and blizzards. These deaths are most often indirectly related to the snow– people die in traffic accidents due to icy roads or prolonged exposure to the cold.
Cormier wants everyone to be prepared for the weather so they don’t become a statistic. He is not only concerned for new people to the area, but residents who have lived through the winters before.
“I would like to say that people here know what’s going on … but they are not as cautious as they could be,” said Cormier. “The first snowfall brings a rash of accidents because year to year people don’t remember.”
The condition that creates the most problems for the general pubic is the cold. “Especially on windy days … there is a short time to get frostbite,” said Cormier. For those on the road there are even more issues. Cormier points out that the traveling public needs to be aware of snowfall that occurs around the freezing point. At the freezing point is when the roads are constantly changing from wet to icy. The other major concern is blizzards and the length of these storms.
Cormier said that if people are not prepared and they get stuck in a blizzard, they decrease their changes of survival.
Fortunately, this year, the winter is supposed to be less severe than in the past. Cormier says there will still be blizzards and bad storms but there will be above normal temperatures and less snow overall.
Still, he wants to remind everyone that just because the weather looks alright out your bedroom window, doesn’t mean it will stay that way. “Winter weather conditions can become severe to dangerous very quickly, sometimes with little or no warning.”
Weather forecasts can be found online at www.weatheroffice.ec.gc.ca