Unprepared for surprise snowfall

Winter weather rare for the West Coast

When heavy snowfall warnings were issued by Environment Canada last week, I knew I wasn’t ready.

And I wasn’t alone.

I had a half-bucket of de-icing salt left from who-knows-when, and I didn’t have a snow shovel. The first (and only) snow shovel I owned – bought decades ago – broke during the last serious snowfall we had, roughly three years ago. I thought then, wait until spring to buy a new one. They would be on sale.

I never did get around to it.

So Saturday afternoon meant a trip to Rona for a new snow shovel and de-icing salt, only to find a sign on the door telling shoppers they had neither.

A quick scan of hardware store websites on my cell phone told the same story elsewhere.

It seems I wasn’t the only one caught off guard at the threat of snow.

(Fortunately, I remembered a small, independent hardware store in a remote corner of Surrey. He had a couple of snow shovels left, but no de-icing salt.)

It isn’t just a sudden snowfall which can catch some of us unprepared. Travel to other points of Canada in early spring can do the same thing.

I once flew to Winnipeg in early April, and along with the keys to my rental car, I was handed an ice scraper. I left warm, sunny weather at home for a week in minus-18 weather. I didn’t take a winter jacket, or gloves, on the trip.

Similar story going to Prince George in mid-March to coach a women’s hockey team at a provincial tournament. Several players showed up at the airport in shorts, dressed for the unusually  warm, spring weather in the Lower Mainland. We arrived in PG an hour later, where it was snowing and minus-12.

My wife, who lived most of her life in the Montreal area, often tells me I wouldn’t survive a winter in Quebec as I haven’t experienced ‘real’ winter weather.

When she does, I’m  reminded of a trip to Montreal during the spring a couple of years ago.

We were at a family event one afternoon, and I overheard a conversation about the weather.

One woman pondered having the snow tires taken off her car as “the weather is warming up,” but her friend suggested she wait as there was a light snowfall “up north” just a week earlier.

It was early May. And the possibility of another snowfall was on peoples’ minds?

I had been regularly mowing my lawn for a couple of months. But judging by the length of grass in numerous front yards in the Montreal area, grass-cutting season had yet to begin.

And snow tires? I have bought one set in my lifetime, and that was during the short time I was living in Merritt.

In Montreal – and most other parts of the county – winter tires go on the car in October because it’s when, not if, the snow will come.

They prepare for the cold weather.

Here, it just catches (many of) us unprepared.

 

Rick Kupchuk is a journalist with The Leader.

Just Posted

Spawning salmon returning to North Delta’s Cougar Creek

It’s early in the season, but the streamkeepers are hopeful it could be a good year for returns

VIDEO: Surrey hair salon joins sustainability initiative

Hair can be used to create boom to clean up oil spills: Green Circle Salons

White Rock breaks temperature record

B.C. city was the hottest in all of Canada

City will ask Fraser Health to remove pay parking at SMH, Surrey councillor says

Surrey’s new council has already made parking free on neighbouring city streets

South Surrey church members ‘praying for accused mother… for the whole process’

Lisa Batstone’s second-degree murder trial continues this week in B.C. Supreme Court

Trudeau offers to help Pacific islands face climate change impact

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau met with the leaders from the Pacific island nations on Saturday during the APEC Summit in Papua New Guinea

Everett pulls ahead in Western Conference standings over Vancouver Giants

Western Hockey League’s G-Men, who lost 6-5 to Everett Saturday, now prepares to take on Victoria.

Price makes 36 saves as Habs edge Canucks 3-2

Late goal lifts Montreal past Vancouver

BC Minister of Agriculture loses stepson to accidental overdose

Lana Popham announces death of her 23-year-old stepson, Dan Sealey

Canadian military’s template for perfect recruits outdated: Vance

Gen. Jonathan Vance, the chief of defence staff says that the military has to change because the very nature of warfare is changing, particularly when it comes to cyber-warfare

‘Toxic’ chosen as the Word of the Year by Oxford Dictionaries

Other top contenders for 2018 include ‘gaslighting’ and ‘techlash’

RCMP bust illegal B.C. cannabis lab

Marijuana may be legal but altering it using chemicals violates the Cannabis Act

1 woman dead, man in hospital after ‘suspicious’ crash: police

Homicide investigators and Burnaby RCMP are investigating the fatal collision

Canada defeats Germany 29-10 in repechage, moves step closer to Rugby World Cup

Hong Kong needs a bonus-point win over Canada — scoring four or more tries — while denying the Canadians a bonus point

Most Read