How to prepare for the snowstorm?

How to prepare for the snowstorm?

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.


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.

With the peak winter months just around the corner, now is the time to pull up your socks and brace for frigid times. How? Let us find out!

1. Remain Updated on the Weather Alerts

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.

2. Stay Prepared Even Before a Snowstorm Breaks Out

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 –

  • Keep rock salt and sand to melt ice whenever required
  • Keep shovels and snow removal equipment handy
  • Make sure that you have an alternative source of heat, such as a generator, wood-burning stove, or a fireplace
  • Keep fire extinguishers in your home
  • Have personalized emergency kits and first-aid boxes ready
  • Try and keep your vehicle’s fuel tank full in case any weather-related warning bells
  • Be prepared for secondary hazards, such as power outages and flooding after the snow melts

3. Be Extra Vigilant During a Snowstorm

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 –

  • Keep abreast of the latest local weather alerts.
  • Avoid unnecessary travel during the storm. If you have absolutely had to go outside, dress appropriately to protect yourself. Always be on the fence about frostbite and hypothermia if you are out in cold weather for prolonged periods.
  • Use the ‘buddy’ system if possible and have someone accompany you for your outdoor ordeals.
  • Do not overexert yourself or work outside for long periods.

4. Blizzard Safety

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.

5. Keep in Mind the Generic Safety Guidelines

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.

6. Be Vigilant while Enjoying Outdoor Sports

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.

7. Frostbite Safety

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.

8. Prepare for the Aftermath of the Snowstorm

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 –

  • Continue listening to the local weather alerts
  • Be aware of the wind chill
  • Be extra vigilant while driving after a snowstorm
  • When snow shoveling, do not overexert your body.
  • Lookout for yourself and also the people around you who might require help
  • In case of any emergency, call 911 immediately

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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