Winter preparations

Alyssa Leonard
By Alyssa Leonard December 8, 2017 10:31

Winter driving preparation and tips infographic.

By Alyssa Leonard

Windsorites could be in for a snowy winter — if weather predictions are accurate.

The Weather Network released the national outlook for the 2017-2018 winter forecast on Nov. 20. According to their predictions, southern Ontario can expect to see above average snowfall with a higher risk for freezing rains at times, meaning a greater chance of black ice during the morning and evening commutes.

“Computer forecast models are indicating that the Great Lakes region in particular is likely to see a cool and wet winter season,” said Gary Archibald, reporter and meteorologist for CTV News Windsor. He said a wetter and colder forecast suggests snow and freezing precipitation – along with most likely lake-effect snow – will be a problem over the season for commuters, both on the ground and through the air.

On the City of Windsor’s website, their annual budget for winter control is listed at $4 billion. Roberta Harrison, maintenance coordinator for the city of Windsor, said because their budget is annual and not seasonal, the amount budgeted remains the same even when Windsor is given a snowier winter prediction. She said the city, however, is not worried.

“[The predictions] are not always 100 per cent accurate,” said Harrison. “It’s kind of go-with-the-flow.”

According to Environment Canada, between 1981 and 2010, Windsor’s December months had an average of 29 centimetres of snow. The January months had an average of 37 centimetres, and February months an average of 31 centimetres.

In preparing for the coming winter, Archibald said his best advice is to check local weather daily.

Average monthly snowfall between 1981 and 2010 in Windsor, ON.

“I urge everyone to get into a routine where they are aware of the forecast for where they work, live and play at all times,” said Archibald. “Weather apps are ideal and TV and radio stations readily broadcast weather reports.”

Archibald also said with the predicted cold temperatures, pets should be indoors through the evening and overnight since frostbite and hypothermia are real threats to animals left unattended.

For commuters who spend a lot of time walking or if a job requires someone to be outdoors for long periods, be certain to dress accordingly. Archibald said to especially factor in how it will feel outside. Check the wind chill before leaving home as it can make it feel much colder than the actual temperature.

“It is also recommended that you prepare your car before the first snow falls,” said Mitchel Teschke, a licensed mechanic at Penske Truck Leasing. He said it is always good to have your mechanic do a once-over of the vehicle because chances of something breaking are more common during cold weather.

“If your car is due for an oil change, get it done before the real cold weather hits. It will help engine performance,” said Teschke. “Winter tires are a great investment and lower your insurance. They will definitely help with added traction.”

Predicting the weather is challenging — you never know for sure what will happen until it happens. That is why it is best to give yourself a head start on the preparations for the upcoming season.

“No matter what the scenario is, we always have to be prepared,” said Harrison.

Alyssa Leonard
By Alyssa Leonard December 8, 2017 10:31

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