Highway 1 in Revelstoke is closed until 4 p.m. Dec. 23, as one Vernon motorist trying to make his way home for Christmas discovered. (Ben Boha photo)

Highway 1 in Revelstoke is closed until 4 p.m. Dec. 23, as one Vernon motorist trying to make his way home for Christmas discovered. (Ben Boha photo)

No weather warnings for Okanagan, yet, but preparedness urged

Vernon offers tips on staying safe and warm, and shovelling

Despite no warnings for the Okanagan yet, communities across B.C. are bracing for snow and cold and locals are being urged to do the same.

A weather warning has been issued for communities across the province, with periods of heavy and blowing snow, and very cold weather expected between now and New Year’s Day.

Environment Canada has also issued several warnings for areas surrounding this region, including highway alerts due to anticipated heavy snowfall.

“The forecast for Vernon also indicates periods of snow for the next several days, and falling temperatures as we move into the weekend,” the city said in a Dec. 23 press release. “With the first significant cold spell of the season expected in the North Okanagan over the next week, residents are being reminded to prepare for cold weather and potential storms.”

• Check the weather forecast before going outside; pay attention to both the temperature and the wind chill factor

• Plan ahead and limit your time outside

• Dress in layers, with a wind resistant outer layer; wear a toque or hat, mittens and a scarf to cover exposed skin; wear warm and waterproof footwear

• Seek shelter from the wind

• Stay dry; if you are wearing too many layers and begin to sweat, unzip or remove a layer

• Stay active while outside to generate body heat

• Be aware of the signs of frostbite and hypothermia and seek medical attention immediately, if required

• Ensure you have an emergency plan in place, including a 72-hour kit, candles, food and water in case of a power outage or poor travel conditions

• Check DriveBC before traveling, and if road conditions are poor, avoid unnecessary travel until conditions improve

If you are clearing snow from sidewalks or your driveway, please keep these tips in mind to increase safety in your neighbourhood.

• Remove snow and ice from sidewalks adjacent to your property within 24 hours of the end of the snowfall (as per Traffic Bylaw #5600);

• Pile snow on grass areas where possible and never around fire hydrants, on bus stops or storm drains;

• When shoveling snow off your driveway, store the snow on the left side of the driveway (when facing the property) and do not push it into the street. This will increase visibility when leaving your driveway, and will make the road safer for other motorists;

• Park vehicles off-street wherever possible to allow snowplows to clear a larger portion of the road; and

• Keep children, pets and yourself a safe distance away from heavy snow clearing equipment.

“The city would like to thank residents for their hard work in clearing sidewalks and for having patience as crews tackle winter storms when they happen.”

For more information about snow clearing and cold weather safety, visit getprepared.ca and vernon.ca/cleartheway.

READ MORE: Avoid travel on Coquihalla and Highway 3 unless you have flying reindeer

READ MORE: Grinch steals Christmas spirit in Vernon


@VernonNews
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