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Extreme cold & winter storms

Extreme cold

In Winnipeg, temperatures drop to extreme cold levels each year. Protect yourself from the impacts of extreme cold by following these steps:

  • Check the weather before you go outside
  • Know the signs and symptoms of hypothermia
  • Dress appropriately for winter weather
  • Maintain your winter appliances

Extreme cold weather

Stay safe in extremely cold weather. Before you head outdoors, take the following steps to reduce your risk:

  • Older adults and very young children should avoid prolonged outdoor exposure
  • Check on older or vulnerable friends, relatives and neighbours who live alone; during periods of extreme cold weather, offer to shop for older friends and relatives
  • While indoors, try to keep at least one room heated to 20 degrees Celsius. Be careful when using fireplaces, stoves or space heaters to stay warm. Carbon monoxide poisoning and home fires are very real winter hazards.
  • While indoors, be careful when using fireplaces, stoves or space heaters to stay warm - carbon monoxide poisoning and home fires are very real winter hazards
  • Dress in layers of warm, dry clothing, so that you can adjust to changing conditions - wear a warm hat that covers your ears and a pair of loose-fitting gloves or mitts
  • Eat high-energy foods along with warm beverages that are easier to digest - avoid drinking alcoholic beverages
  • Avoid fatigue and exhaustion during cold weather; overexertion, such as shoveling snow or pushing a car, can strain your heart
  • Cover exposed skin surfaces to protect from frostbite; warm affected areas gradually by wrapping or placing the area next to warm skin or in warm water - do not rub areas of frostbitten skin
  • Recognize the symptoms of hypothermia: confusion, dizziness, exhaustion and severe shivering; if these symptoms are present, seek immediate medical attention - severe hypothermia can be life threatening
  • Use particular caution on slippery surfaces during winter weather, as many injuries are caused by falls on ice-covered sidewalks, steps, and driveways - keep these areas clear of snow and use salt or sand on ice
  • Wear winter footwear with good treads, foot traction aids and/or ice picks on canes; reschedule outings or appointments on days that are particularly slippery
  • When traveling by automobile, monitor weather conditions carefully and adhere to travel advisories
  • Keep a winter storm survival kit in your car, which should include extra clothing, blankets, food, flares, chains, gloves and first aid supplies; remember to keep your gas tank full and to the extent possible and avoid traveling alone

Wind chill: consult the Weather Office website for the wind chill forecast and current values where you are.

Hypothermia

If you or someone you know has been outside in cold weather and is experiencing any of the following symptoms, call 911.

  • Confusion
  • Shivering
  • Difficulty Speaking
  • Sleepiness
  • Stiff Muscles

Dress for winter

When the temperature drops, it's important to dress appropriately when going outside.

Chilly

  • 1-2 layers upper body
  • Outer layer, to keep out wind and rain
  • Long layer lower body
  • Warm and water proof shoes

Cold

  • Warm hat
  • 2-3 layers upper body
  • Outer layer, to keep out wind and wet snow
  • Gloves
  • 1-2 layers lower body
  • Water proof boots

Extreme cold

  • Warm hat
  • Face mask
  • 3+ Layers upper body, one being insulating
  • Outer layer to keep out wind
  • Gloves
  • 2+ bottom layers
  • Water proof boots

When weather conditions are chilly: dress in layers, with an outer layer that can protect you from wind. Wear water proof footwear, and cover your hands and your head.

In cold weather, limit the time you spend outside. Wear 2-3 layers on the top and bottom and ensure your outer layer is waterproof and wind resistant. Wear a hat, boots, and mittens or gloves.

In times of extreme cold, avoid spending time outside. Cover all exposed skin and dress in 3 or more layers on the top and bottom, ensuring your outer layer is waterproof and wind resistant. Wear waterproof boots, a hat, and mittens or gloves.

Winterize your home and vehicle

The best time to prepare for a Winnipeg winter is before it happens. Each fall, take some time to prepare your home and your vehicle for cold temperatures.

  • Have your furnace serviced by a certified technician
  • Clean your chimney
  • Ensure your home's outdoor air vents are not blocked by snow or ice
  • Check the supplies in your 72-hour emergency kit
  • Never use a fuel-powered generator indoors (even in an open garage) or in a confined space outdoors to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning

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