Winter is coming, sorry it’s true, so best be ready

By Sydney Clay

Nov. 6, 2015

Jennifer MacIsaac had an awful experience this past winter.

After having to constantly shovel herself in and out of her driveway and facing frozen pipes, she is sure she’s prepared for what could come this winter.

“I am going to buy a new snow scoop instead of a shovel, because after last winter I think it will be a good investment.”

Stocking up on salt and making sure the cupboard is stocked is also an important step MacIsaac will take this year.

“Water, booze and storm chips will be stocked because last winter sucked.”

MacIsaac who works at the hospital, also has a plan for if she gets stuck at work.

“As far as work goes, I’ll just pack a bag and take it with me, then I won’t have to worry about it.”

David Philips of Environment Canada said this winter will hopefully be a kinder one to Islanders, but it’s hard to predict before any snow falls.

“The issue with Charlottetown last year was there was not a lot of snow before the New Year, then come February you received some of the snowiest records for the Island.”

This winter will hopefully carry more Pacific winds, than Arctic. This will mean the winter is milder, so snow-making weather systems like we had last year will turn into a milder system which will have more rain instead of snow, he said.

Last year was a legendary year for P.E.I. with numbers that haven’t been seen since the 1980s. Although we can’t rule out another winter like that, there is a possibility there could be a longer time gap between those types of winter, Philips said.

“They could be 40 years apart, or back to back, it’s challenging to say. They will become rarer in the future, but the probability is not zero.”

Sergeant Shane Carr of the Charlottetown police said it is hard to tell what will happen, but the police will be prepared for whatever the winter could throw at people.

If people have an emergency that involves them having to leave their house after police have advised for people to stay off the roads, people should call the police for help.

“We usually have four to five people at the station in situations like that, and we have special vehicles we use and access to a plow. Call the police, don’t travel on your own.”

They can warn people that they shouldn’t be on the roads, but they can’t stop them.

The police reach out to radio stations for road warnings and people should try to follow them, even though the police can’t force them to do so, he said.

“We will give a fair warning if the roads aren’t safe. Generally speaking, when they give a warning it means the plows have been pulled off the roads.”

People should be prepared, whether they purchase a storm kit for their car or they make sure they have a few things in their trunk, Carr said. Some of the items people should carry are: blankets; water; a small shovel; and they should make sure their car is full of gas.

“If you get stuck while traveling, you will be in a whole lot more trouble if you have no gas.”

People should also make sure they have winter tires on their cars.

Ernie Stanley is a manager at Coast Tire & Auto Services Ltd. Winter tires are

specially made for the cold weather, he said.

“Winter tires have better traction than all-seasons on ice and snow. Also the rubber in all-season tires get hard as the ground gets colder. Winter tires are made to start working when the ground gets cold.”

After last year it would be hard to know if people will be more likely to purchase winter tires, but business hasn’t slowed down, he said.

“Islanders are famous for waiting until the last minute. It won’t be until after the first snow fall and they’ve heard of someone going into the ditch.”