Prepare a family emergency plan in case of an extreme winter storm or ice storm.
Winter storms and extreme cold kills more Canadians than tornadoes, thunderstorms, lightning, floods and hurricanes combined.
Winter storms can be treacherous and damaging, potentially bringing high winds, heavy snowfall and very cold temperatures. The storms can disrupt power supply and transportation and create home and personal safety issues.
Winter storms and extreme cold kills more Canadians than tornadoes, thunderstorms, lightning, floods and hurricanes combined. When you are building your family emergency plan, review and discuss these safety tips with your entire household to make sure everyone understands what to do.
What should you do if you are indoors?
- Listen to the radio or television for weather reports and emergency information.
- Stay indoors. If you must go outside, dress for the weather to avoid serious cold-related injuries.
- Keep water running. Running water, even at a trickle, helps prevent pipes from freezing.
What should you do if you are outdoors?
- Avoid overexertion when shovelling snow. If you must shovel snow, ensure you take frequent breaks so you don’t over-stress your body.
- Dress in several layers of lightweight clothing. Wear mittens and a hat (preferably one that covers your ears).
- Wear waterproof, insulated boots to keep your feet warm, dry and to maintain your footing on ice and snow.
- Check regularly for frostbite. Indicators including numbness or white areas on your face and extremities (ears, nose, cheeks, hands and feet in particular).
- Bring pets/companion animals inside during winter weather.
- Move other animals or livestock to sheltered areas and ensure availability of non-frozen drinking water.
What is an ice storm?
Freezing rain results when rain falls to the ground when surface temperatures are below freezing. As the rain falls, it passes through a thin layer of cold air just above the surface and cools to a temperature below freezing (0 °C). When the supercooled drops strike the ground, power lines, tree branches, aircraft, or anything else below 0 °C, they instantly freeze, forming a thin film of ice.
A storm that produces significant ice from freezing rain is often referred to as an ice storm. The weight from the ice can down power lines and break tree limbs and trunks, causing power outages. It can also make walking and driving treacherous.
What should you do in an ice storm?
- If you know an ice storm is coming have your emergency kit prepared in case of an extended power outage.
- If you have to go outside after an ice storm, watch for branches or wires that look at risk of breaking or falling due to the weight of the ice.
- Don’t approach downed power lines. Any power line can be charged. Stay back at least 10 m from the lines or anything they are in contact with.
- Avoid driving if possible. Wait several hours so road crews can apply salt and/or sand to increase traction on the streets.
Winter storms (Ministry of Community Safety & Correctional Services)
Winter weather (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)
Winter storms (City of Greater Sudbury)
This item was last modified on June 24, 2015