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Preparing for colder than normal temperatures and snow

Snowfall expected Sunday night into Monday (Dec 18 to 19) in Greater Victoria

Saturday December 17, 2022 | VICTORIA, BC

by Mary P Brooke | Island Social Trends

A colder-than-normal phase of winter weather is coming up in BC this weekend and leading up to Christmas.

Yesterday the Ministry of Emergency Management and Climate Readiness issued a news release advising British Columbians to take precautions in expectation of colder-than-normal temperatures and snow that are in the Environment Canada forecast through next week, beginning today Saturday December 17.

The Environment Canada forecast for Victoria (as of today December 17) shows “periods of snow” tomorrow night as well as flurries into Monday, both days with temperatures below zero. Tuesday and Wednesday are sunny in the forecast, with more snowfall expected on Wednesday night.

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Weather forecast for Dec 17 to 23, 2022 for Victoria, BC [Environment Canada]

Below-normal temperatures:

Environment and Climate Change Canada forecasts temperatures will be five to 10 degrees Celsius below normal for the South Coast and Haida Gwaii, and 10 to 20 degrees below normal for the Interior and the North. Gusty winds will accompany the arrival of cold air. The wind chill will make it feel even colder.

Information during active provincial emergencies is online.

Preparations at home:

Prepare for power outages. Make sure you have enough food for everyone as well as batteries for devices.

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For protection of the house in cold weather, remember to drain all outside taps. Be sure that electrical cords for decorative lighting are protected from water or freezing.

Make sure you have what you need to clear snow from your driveway or sidewalks: shovel, ice, and proper clothing for outdoor weather (hat, coat, mitts, scarf, boots).

Drivers to plan ahead:

First of all, this: “If advised by RCMP or DriveBC to limit travel due to deteriorating road conditions, stay home and off the roads,” says Juan de Fuca Emergency Program coordinator Jeri Grant.

If you need to be out in your vehicle, drivers are reminded to plan ahead and drive according to weather and road conditions. Commuters should be prepared for delays and potential service disruptions on transit routes. Allow extra time to get to the airport or ferry terminal.

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Before travelling, check the forecast. Be prepared by packing a winter survival kit, including a windshield scraper, a snow brush, flashlights and extra batteries, first-aid supplies, blankets, drinking water and non-perishable food.

People should ensure their vehicles are equipped with a full tank of fuel. If stuck or stranded, people should stay in their vehicles and call 911 for roadside assistance. Try to stay on well-lit roads and take highways that are cleared of snow.

The Shift into Winter driving tips are posted online.

Road conditions & driving tips:

The Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure’s maintenance contractors will be treating provincial roads with brine and winter abrasives in advance of any precipitation. They will be ready to manage any accumulations of snow.

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Just a little bit of snow at the Victoria International Airport on Sunday afternoon, Dec 18, 2022. [Island Social Trends]

Drivers can do their part by planning ahead. If weather conditions worsen, drivers should stay off the road, and if they have to travel, ensure their vehicle is properly equipped with snow tires.

Drivers can also assist maintenance crews by moving over safely when they see a vehicle with an amber light approaching. This allows maintenance crews to clear the snow and improve road conditions to reduce hazards for drivers and help them get home safely.

Warming centres:

Warming centres may be opened to help protect vulnerable populations. People should follow directions from their First Nations and local authorities, including information about warming centres in their community.

The Ministry of Housing, and the Ministry of Emergency Management and Climate Readiness will continue to work in partnership with First Nations and local authorities to respond quickly to the changing weather conditions.

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Emergency shelter spaces are also available for people in need of a warm, safe place to stay. This winter, the Province is funding more than 5,000 shelter spaces in 50 communities throughout the province, including approximately 2,170 temporary shelter spaces and nearly 550 extreme weather response (EWR) shelter spaces.

EWR spaces open overnight when a community issues an extreme weather alert, such as during cold temperatures, snow, heavy rain or significant wind.

Preparation tips:

A little preparation can go a long way to keeping people safe during stormy, wintry conditions. Here are some tips to keep safe this winter:

  • Wear winter gear: Always wear clothing appropriate for the weather. Dressing in layers, with a wind- and water-resistant outer layer, provides flexibility for changing conditions. To avoid frostbite, cover as much exposed skin as possible by wearing hats, scarves and gloves. Try to stay dry and change out of wet clothing as soon as possible.
  • Be prepared for power outages: Severe weather can cause power outages. Be prepared for up to one week by developing a household emergency plan and putting together an emergency kit. If you encounter a downed or damaged power line, assume it is live and a danger. Stay back at least 10 metres (the length of a bus) and call 911 immediately to report it. Power outages are posted by BC Hydro.
  • Winterize your home: Now is a good time to winterize your home by insulating walls and attics, weather-stripping doors and windows, clearing rain gutters and removing tree branches that could fall during windstorms.
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