Canadian winters are harsh. Although the country has an expansive territory, resulting in diverse climatic conditions, even the warmest Canadian cities experience 40 to 60 centimeters of snowfall in a year. Snowfall usually commences in October/November and may last up to March. The coldest regions of the country are located to the north, whereas its eastern and western parts have arid and temperature climates, respectively. For instance, Yukon in the north receives temperatures as low as (-) 63 degrees Fahrenheit. Do you live in one of the coldest cities of Canada, such as St. John’s, Sherbrooke, or Saguenay, and are bracing yourself for a biting-cold winter? If yes, then read ahead.
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Apart from being infamously cold, Canadian winters are also abrupt and stealthily take unforeseen turns. Needless to say, a region so cold and capricious is bound to experience blizzards and similar natural hazards abruptly. For instance, in 2020, a state of emergency was declared in Canada after severe snowstorms hit Newfoundland and Labrador out of the blue. A whopping 30 centimeters of snow had fallen, which left some citizens trapped in their homes.
The Weatheradio service and the Government of Canada’s website issue weather bulletins regularly, and it is essential to stay updated. There are four types of alerts, depending on the severity and timing of the event. For instance, the ‘Warning’ alert is an urgent message that severe weather is approaching, and people should take action immediately. Likewise, the ‘Watch’ alert implies a potential for a significant storm. The third alert is the ‘Advisory’ notification issued for specific weather events like snow, drizzle, frost, etc., that are less severe.
Precaution is better than cure, and the precarious Canadian winters mean it is best to stay prepared for a sudden snowstorm. So, you take the following preemptive measures –
It goes without saying that a snowstorm is a dangerous hazard that has the potential to turn into a disaster. The fact that winter storms and excessive cold claim over 100 lives each year in Canada, which is more than the combined deaths caused by tornadoes, hurricanes, floods, extreme heat, and lightning each year, is an attestation to how grim the situation can be. Therefore, during snowstorms, follow the steps given below –
Stay indoors during a blizzard and out of the elements until the storm passes. If you must go out, stay warm, tie one end of a long rope to your door, and hold onto the door end to avoid getting lost in the blinding snow. When shoveling the snow, take it easy and follow the shoveling safety tips.
Even if there is no snowstorm or the possibility of one occurring anytime soon, it is optimal to follow the generic guidelines. For starters, remember to dress as warmly as possible when you go outside in cold weather. Wear layers of clothing with a wind-cheater on the outer layer. Warm socks, mittens, a hat, and a scarf should be your go-to in the harsh Canadian winters. If you get wet during icy conditions, change into dry clothing as soon as possible because you tend to lose heat faster when wet.
Of course, outdoor sports, such as skiing, snowboarding, and skating, are some of the best things about Canadian winters. But, it is vital to be all the more cautious when going out for such activities. Protect yourself from windburn and frostbite by dressing warmly and donning a facemask or goggles.
Always be on the lookout for signs of frostbite, such as numbness or white areas on your face and edges like the ears, cheeks, nose, hands, and feet. Likewise, if you experience confusion, slurred speech, uncontrollable shivering, or muscle stiffness, call for medical attention immediately, as these are signs of hypothermia – a potentially fatal condition.
After successfully protecting yourself during a snowstorm, your tribulations are not yet over. Thus, it would be best if you keep the following things in mind –
Thus, there we have it, the eight ways of handling a snowstorm.
You can easily wait out a snowstorm with diligence, preemptive measures, and some mindfulness. But, as we already mentioned, being prepared beforehand is the key to pulling through the frigid winters of Canada.
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