Quote: Originally Posted by atfa
i'll be moving to edmonton next year and am a little worried about the weather in winter. Can you actually get out of your house?, does the car star under that cold? do people keep working normally? can someone please explain to me how bad exactly is winter up there? I should say am from mexico, and i was born and raised in cancun but lived up north barcelona for 5 winters. I love cold, but am not sure how things are with those cold temperatures you have in Edmonton!!
Please any tips??
Well it does get quite cold in that area of the country compared to where I live (Nova Scotia) Basically the eastern and western coasts are generally not affected by the winter as much as the rest of the country.
My wife's from Australia so she's used to the heat and never experienced winters like what we have here. She actually prefers the winter over the summer because she finds it easier to warm up in the winter compared to trying to cool down in the summer.
She arrived in January a few years back, straight out of the middle of her summer to the middle of our winter basically.... it was -16 C and some snow was coming down when she arrived. Near the end towards March, she was starting to freak out that it'd be winter all year long and never warm up..... I had to assure her that it would warm up quite considerably...... and that we didn't plant all these trees for looks (they had to grow sometime)
Then she went through spring.... then summer, dealing with +30 C temps...... and something she never had to deal with much.... Humidity. She actually hates the summer heat in Canada then she does with the summer heat in Australia, even though they can go weeks with temps above +40C
Your question's answers can vary depending on how cold the day is.
For me personally, Western Canada is a little too cold for my liking, since it can remain bitterly cold for long periods of time, but the windchill is what really gets you.
Sometimes cars won't start, but that's why you plug them into the house so that they don't completely freeze up in the morning.
You can go out of your house, it's no space.... though it's close. When it's -5 to about -15 Celsius out, it's manageable and you can stay outside for a considerable amount of time before frost bite kicks in.... so long as you have good boots, gloves/mittens, hat and especially a good winter coat.
around -16 to about -25 or colder, I'd recommend tossing on a second layer of pants.... I normally use jeans with pajama pants on underneath.
I don't have the official numbers in front of me, but beyond -20 C, exposed skin can freeze in a few minutes.
The real pain in the butt is the Windchill that I mentioned before. In colder temps. like -10 or lower, depending on how windy it is outside and how fast the wind is blowing, while the temperature will officially show something like -17 outside, to living creatures (Humans, Cats, Dogs, Birds, etc.) it can actually feel like -25 or -30..... sometimes -40 C which means exposed skin can freeze in seconds.
Watch your local weather stations/news in the morning before you head out for the day and they will tell you how cold it is and how cold it will feel.
Whenever I see the temp outside, I automatically assume it'll feel an additional 10 degrees colder due to the wind. Better be safe then frozen.
But it's not really that bad, you'll get used to it after a while.
What does it feel like?
Well a meat cooler doesn't exactly give you the experience since there is no wind to blow that cold directly to your body...... but it's that cold, dry, fresh air that hits your lungs and your skin that can wake you up pretty quickly in the morning...... sometimes you can feel the heat from your body being sucked away pretty quickly.
The windchill can sometimes feel like a million frozen pin needles sticking into your exposed flesh..... after a few minutes it can turn into an expanded throbbing of pain.... nothing too serious right off the bat..... but after about 10-15 minutes outside waiting for a bus (as an example) you can feel your fingers and toes start to become more painful.... your cheeks will be one of the first things on your face to start to cool quickly and if your ears are exposed, those can really begin to hurt.
If you are outside for too long.... say 30 minutes and not properly dressed for it, by that time you will most likely be experiencing your body attempting to keep itself warm, which is induced by shaking in order to keep the blood flowing.
If you are outside for too long, your body will start to go into survival mode by reducing the amount of blood flow to your hands and feet...... the moment you begin to stop shivering/shaking or you notice the pain going away...... you better get inside to some place warm quick, because hypothermia is in effect.
Frost bite can cause serious damage to tissue and in extreme cases, such as in the hands, feet and ears, prolonged exposure will destroy tissue and to put it nicely, rendering your toes and/or fingers dead and will require amputation, otherwise when you do get back into a warm area (which would probably be a hospital at this stage) those dead areas of your body can become infected and cause even more problems that can spread throughout your body.
Now this is all just from memory so a few things might be a little bit off, which I'm sure someone in here can correct me on..... but you can find more information online, such as:
Canadian Winters - Be Prepared
Canadian Winters - Be Prepared (external - login to view)
^ Interesting, just found this from someone who recently moved to Nova Scotia and experienced their own winters. They have a list of items and things to prepare for, but seem to be more geared towards power outages and snow storms.
Surviving a Canadian winter.
Surviving a Canadian winter. - Canada - Epinions.com (external - login to view)
^ This is from someone who lived in Australia and spent a bit of time in the US, explaining their own first hand experiences halfway through their first winter here and what they learned so far.
Travel tips for Canadian winters if you have no experience with snow and cold!
Canada Snow | Winter in Canada (external - login to view)
Now that I have probably scared the living B-Jesus out of you with all of this, thinking that you might die..... chances are you won't and it's really not that bad (So long as you are properly prepared)
When you're outside, the easiest thing to remember is to make sure you dress warmly and when you start to feel pain in your feet and hands/ears (which will happen very often) you still have time to not worry too much about any serious harm done to you so of course, just relax...... but use that as a sign to try and get inside someplace warm as soon as you can.
If you know anybody who lives here, such as friends, family or co-workers.... they will help you along to know what to do and what not to do.
And watch your feet..... it's pretty easy to slip on some ice and land on your ass, as my wife found out shortly after coming here. It's usually just embarrassing, but if you slip the wrong way, you could bruise or injure yourself.
But with all of what I said and no matter how much you read, nothing can prepare you other then experiencing it yourself.
Some don't mind it, some enjoy it.... others completely hate it.