THUNDER BAY – Line-ups at Home Depot and Canadian Tire in Thunder Bay are long. But most people in those line-ups are not getting Christmas presents. Snow clearing equipment is at a premium in the city right now.
The Farmer’s Almanac Forecast
DECEMBER 2013: temperature -5°C (1°C below avg.); precipitation 60mm (20mm above avg.); Dec 1-5: Flurries; cold east, turning mild west; Dec 6-7: Showers, mild east; rain to heavy snow west; Dec 8-12: Sunny, cold; Dec 13-17: Periods of rain and snow east, snow west; mild; Dec 18-19: Sunny, very cold; Dec 20-29: Heavy rain and snow, then flurries, cold; Dec 30-31: Snow.
JANUARY 2014: temperature -7°C (2°C above avg.); precipitation 50mm (10mm above avg.); Jan 1-3: Snowy periods, cold; Jan 4-8: Flurries, cold; Jan 9-12: Snowy periods, mild; Jan 13-16: Sunny, mild; Jan 17-21: Snow, then flurries, cold; Jan 22-26: Snow to rain, turning mild; Jan 27-31: Snow showers, cold.
Snow Clearing Safety
Thunder Bay EMS responds to a large number of calls that deal with people having difficulty breathing. With the return of cold weather to the area, along with snow, there is another risk – Heart Attack. While we may be accustomed to battling frigid temperatures and the inevitable snow storms that arrive every winter, many of us are unaware of the dangers these pose to your hearts.
“When the temperature outside drops, our blood vessels narrow to prevent our bodies from losing heat. This is a natural response that can also put people with heart conditions and those involved in strenuous exercise at greater risk of having a heart attack,” says Dr. Holly Andersen, director of education and outreach at the Ronald O. Perelman Heart Institute of NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center.
Shoveling snow is one of the most strenuous and dangerous winter exercise activities. It can raise blood pressure, and coupled with the effects of colder temperatures, shoveling can increase heart attack risk drastically.
Dr. Andersen offers the following tips for safe shoveling and maintaining a healthy heart this winter:
- Warm up. Warm up with stretching and light activity before shoveling, exercising, or beginning more strenuous physical activities;
- Bundle up. When going out to shovel, always wear a scarf over your mouth and nose to warm the air before you breathe in, and dress in layers. Layering clothes underneath a windproof and waterproof outer shell helps maintain body heat;
- Push the shovel. It is less strenuous to push the snow rather than lifting it, and this reduces the risk of overexerting yourself;
- Take breaks. You should take frequent breaks while shoveling to give your muscles, especially your heart muscle, a chance to relax. You may also consider sharing the work with a friend to make the workload lighter and ensure that you are not alone in the event of an emergency;
- Consult a doctor. If you are over the age of 50, overweight, out of shape or have suffered a heart attack, you should consult a doctor before shoveling snow or starting any exercise routine.