If you are a denizen of the north this post is likely going to see rather silly and obvious. My travels south and discussions I have had there, have me thinking people who are not from the north might find it interesting to hear of our pre-storm prep.
Most of the winter preps were either completed or nearing completion. The weather advisories began Monday the warnings started last night compliments of Environment Canada.
4:28 AM CDT Wednesday 09 October 2019
Snowfall warning in effect:
Heavy snowfall over Riding Mountains today.
A cold front pushing in from Saskatchewan will bring some rain, snow and cooler temperatures to these regions Wednesday. Most areas should expect only a few centimeters of snow accumulation with this cold front. However, cooler temperatures at the higher elevations in the Riding Mountains will lead to snowfall accumulations of 10 to 15 cm.
Travel outside of the Riding Mountains may be affected as well at times due to poor visibilities in snow and near freezing conditions.
Be prepared to adjust your driving with changing road conditions. Visibility may be suddenly reduced at times in heavy snow. If visibility is reduced while driving, slow down, watch for tail lights ahead and be prepared to stop.
4:49 AM CDT Wednesday 09 October 2019
Special weather statement in effect:
First taste of winter weather is coming.
A cold front pushing in from Saskatchewan will bring colder temperatures with some rain or snow Wednesday. This has led to some snowfall warnings being issued for the Riding Mountain area.
There is also a potential for accumulating snowfall from over the southwest corner of the province into the Red River valley and northwestward toward Berens River as a Colorado Low tracks north Thursday. Amounts could be in excess of 5 cm by Thursday night.
Currently, it appears regions in the Red River Valley and eastward will see a transition from rain to snow Thursday. However, exact position and timing of the transition is still uncertain, so the precipitation amounts and type in the forecast may change as the system develops.
This Colorado Low will affect Manitoba with snow and strong winds throughout the weekend. Travel will be affected.
Please continue to monitor alerts and forecasts issued by Environment Canada. To report severe weather, send an email to MBstorm@canada.ca or tweet reports using #MBStorm.
So what are our winter preparations?
The most important is provisions for heat. Cold kills much more quickly than heat. We have an electric furnace and so we must have hydro to heat our home. If the hydro electric power goes out, our furnace does not work. We have a 2000 watt generator that can run either our trailer, or 2000 watts worth of hydro in our little house. I have purchased and put aside enough gas (with stabilizer) to run the generator for seven days if we have to. We have two 600 watt oil heaters and two 300 watt heaters. Our generator can power them enough to keep us toasty warm in our tiny house in the around freezing level temperatures typical with Colorado lows.
We also have a wood stove for deep cold emergencies. The wood stove is disconnected, as you can see. If we hook up the stove our homeowner’s insurance is void because we are not insured for a wood burning stove. In fact, having it disconnected is requirement of our insurance. We only have it on hand in case we experience a prolonged power outage and it is too cold to survive otherwise. I also hesitate about using the wood stove because no matter how careful you are, if you burn wood, you get smoke in the house and I suspect my asthma would flare. Still having to use my puffers would be better than freezing to death. In our rural area a prolonged power outage lasting days or weeks is extremely unlikely but not impossible. Yesterday a local fellow delivered enough firewood to keep us warm even at -40C (-40F) for one week. If we don’t have to use this emergency back up heat supply, we will have a nice stack for backyard open fires with the grandkids for the summer. Obviously, I would have to do some tidying up before the stove is usable. The wood currently on the stove is for other things, not burning.
Many of our local men are handymen who know how to do all kinds of stuff. They have had a big crunch going on because of the early storm warnings. The nice fellow who cleans chimneys and fixes roofs had already agreed to come by and do our chimney and inspect it and make sure it is safe. He rushed the job so he wouldn’t end up doing it after the roof was full of snow. Even as he finished sweeping up the soot he knocked out of the chimney, the snow had started. He was off to the next house.
Other preparations include moving the snow shovel into the house. I made sure all our winter outerwear is inside and available. This includes boots, mittens, hats, winter jackets, long johns, snow pants, fleece vests, flannel shirts, extra blankets on the bed and everything else we Canadians require for the winter. We even have winter gear for the dog. Dogs only need winter gear when it is really cold and we’re not expecting that kind of cold so early but I am ready. The truck is full of gas and the winter tires inspected and ready. I tested the four wheel drive and it clunked in perfectly. We have enough of all our assorted meds to last well past when the roads are cleared.
We also have games and reading material ready in case the internet disappears with the power supply. I downloaded enough Kindle books to read for a month. I also bought myself a crewel embroidery kit in case I get so bored I need something to do for my hands.
Our water supply comes from a community well. The pump also requires electricity. This means if the power goes out we soon have no water. I have plenty of drinking water in bottles. My last chore is to drag one of my small rain barrels inside and set it up so we also have water for flushing the toilet and bathing.
Last preparations are food preparations. We have stocked up on extra milk, eggs, fresh produce, and our freezer and cupboard is well stocked with tea, cocoa and everything we might need to keep ourselves well fed and warm on the inside.
If this Colorado low follows the usual pattern for October up here in Manitoba, it will dump a mess on us and melt away and we will have a few more days of warm sunny weather and see the grass for a short spell before real winter sets in. Typically local kids plan their Halloween costumes to go over their snowsuits. That is when winter sets in for the season.
Winter is here. We’re as ready as we can be.