There’s nothing like some light fluffy snow to add spirit to the holidays – so the city’s weekend Christmas celebration will likely be brightened by white, instead of mucky rain like the past few years.
That means families should bundle up to see Santa’s Candy Parade on Saturday, because a local weather expert also predicts it’s going to be much colder this year, than last.
“There’s not too many times when you get a weather forecaster telling you anything for sure,” chuckled Jesse Ellis from the Castlegar weather office. “But I don’t think you are going to see rain on Saturday – it looks like it’s going to be the great kind of weather to feel wintery.”
A “modified” Arctic air mass is the culprit behind the current cold snap, which has dipped the usual plus-one temperatures in early December, to a chilly below freezing. And the cool trend is expected to linger until early next week.
“It’s called a modified Arctic air mass because it originated over the Arctic but air mass typically takes over characteristics of the land they sit over,” said Ellis. “It’s been here for a little while, so it’s slowly taking on the characteristics of the latitude and geographic that we are in, down here.”
Earlier this week, a meteorological model suggested heavy snowfall was on the way for most of the region. But the precipitation element has eased somewhat, at least on the north side of the border.
“It looks like this storm is going to track a little further south than previously thought, so it’s going to hit Washington and Idaho heavier than it’s going to hit us,” explained Ellis. “But we will still be seeing accumulating snow in the valley bottoms beginning late overnight or tomorrow (Friday) morning,” he added. “It’s the kind of pattern and temperatures where you might get low density snow, that’s the light fluffy kind that’s not so great for making snow balls.”
Whether the flurries bring snowball-worthy flakes or not, temperatures are expected to drop as low as minus five.
And as the mercury begins to fall well below zero, WorkSafeBC has issued a safety reminder of workers.
In the past six years, 72 workers in B.C. were injured, one fatally, resulting from exposure to cold. Cold-related injuries include frostbite, trench foot, hypothermia, and if the latter is left untreated, can lead to death.
With winter temperatures forecast to remain cold across B.C. in the days ahead, WorkSafeBC is alerting employers and workers to be prepared and have a plan in place to manage the risks associated with working outside in below zero temperatures, the organization advised on Wednesday.
“In extreme temperatures, frostbite can occur in a matter of minutes without the proper clothing and equipment,” says Dan Strand Director of Prevention Field Services. “Construction labourers, trucking and transportation drivers, utility and maintenance workers and ski hill operators are just a few of the many different occupations that require workers to perform their duties outside and employers and workers need to ensure they are ready to work safely in these conditions.”
Frostbite can set in with something as simple as working with wet gloves or removing gloves to put chains on tires. If workers are going to be exposed to low temperatures, employers need to do a cold stress assessment and implement a cold exposure control plan, to prevent injuries. A cold exposure control plan must determine who is working where, what they will be exposed to and for how long.
Cold Stress Prevention Tips:
• Keep an eye on temperature and wind chill forecasts
• Minimize exposed skin to cold temperatures and wind chill
• Layer clothing to allow perspiration to escape and trap heat
• Keep clothing dry
• Keep bare hands away from metal objects
• Stay hydrated but limit the amount of coffee and tea
• Work rested – fatigue is a risk factor in the cold
• Pace any vigorous work with scheduled breaks in warm and dry areas