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British Columbians urged to prepare for cold weather, winter conditions

December 16, 2022 at 12:34 pm  BC, News, Politics, Provincial

British Columbians should take precautions, as colder-than-normal temperatures and snow are forecast through next week, beginning Saturday, Dec. 17, 2022.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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 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.

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.

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.
  • 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.

Learn More:

PreparedBC is a one-stop shop for disaster readiness information. For tips on how to prepare an emergency plan and what to include in an emergency kit, visit: http://www.preparedbc.ca
Follow on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/PreparedBC/
Follow on Twitter: www.twitter.com/PreparedBC

For information during active provincial emergencies, visit: www.emergencyinfobc.ca
Follow on Twitter: www.twitter.com/EmergencyInfoBC

For the weather forecasts and current road conditions, before leaving, check @DriveBC on Twitter or: https://drivebc.ca/

For more information about where to find indoor shelter spaces that are currently operating, visit BC Housing’s shelter map: https://smap.bchousing.org/

Environment and Climate Change Canada weather notifications for B.C.: https://weather.gc.ca/warnings/index_e.html?prov=bc

For road advisories and information: https://www.tranbc.ca/current-travel-advisories

For information on winter tires and chains regulations:
https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/transportation/driving-and-cycling/traveller-information/seasonal/winter-driving

For winter driving tips: http://www.shiftintowinter.ca

Vehicle Preparedness Kit:
https://roadsafetyatwork.ca/wp-content/uploads/2022/10/SIW-Prepare-Your-Vehicle-for-Winter-Weather.pdf

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