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Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Saskatchewan has four seasons: spring, summer, fall (sometimes called autumn) and winter.  Learning about the weather in Saskatchewan will help you dress for and enjoy every season.

Saskatchewan's Climate and Weather

In the summer, daytime temperatures are normally between 20 and 25°C, but they can reach the mid to upper 30s.  On average, Saskatchewan has the most sunshine compared to any other province in Canada.  In the driest and coldest winter months (January and February), night-time temperatures normally range from -15 to -25°C, while daytime temperatures range from -5 to -15°C.  Winter temperatures can fall as low as -30 to -40°C but this usually lasts only a few days.  In spring and fall, temperatures might be around 0°C at night, and rise to 14°C during the day.  The Tourism Saskatchewan website has more information on Saskatchewan’s weather. 

One factor you need to consider in the winter is "wind chill".  When high winds are added to cold temperatures, the weather is much colder than what the thermometer reads.  For example, -10°C with a wind speed of 40 kilometers per hour will feel like a temperature of -21°C. 

Your Health and Saskatchewan's Weather

Saskatchewan has many days where the weather is sunny and pleasant, but we do have an extreme climate.  It is important to dress for the weather.

In the summer, wear a hat and avoid the sun in the middle of the day to prevent sunburn and heat stroke.  Drink plenty of water or other fluids so that you do not get dehydrated, especially if you are physically active outside.  When someone is dehydrated, they do not have enough water (or fluid) in their body.  Use sunscreen with ultraviolet radiation protection to keep your skin safe.  Wear insect repellant (also called “bug spray”) if you plan to be outside for an extended period of time or if you are doing outdoor activities such as running, camping or playing sports.

In the winter, exposure to the cold can damage your body and can even be life-threatening.  Hypothermia occurs when your body temperature drops to below normal due to the cold, which can result in unconsciousness and heart failure.  

Frostbite can occur in just minutes when you are exposed to extreme cold and wind chill.  Signs of frostbite are skin that feels waxy and numb, a burning feeling when re-warming, or skin that turns red, blue or purple.  If this happens, go indoors right away, remove any wet clothing and put the chilled body parts in warm (not hot) water.  Do not rub the frostbitten areas and rest.  If the frostbite is severe, go to the Emergency Department of the nearest hospital.

You must dress in layers to stay warm and protect yourself from frostbite.  You need a warm coat or jacket, a scarf to cover your neck and also a warm hat (also called a “toque”) or other head-covering that covers your ears.  Warm mittens or gloves (mittens are usually warmer than gloves) and boots are needed for your hands and feet.  If you must be outside, try to come indoors frequently to warm up.

In the cold winter months, it is important that children dress warmly, especially if they walk to and from school, or walk home for lunch.  During recess time (also called break time), students usually go outside except when the weather is very cold.  Therefore, they must have warm outdoor clothes with them at school. 

Check the weather before you go out in the winter.  Listen to the radio or watch the weather reports on television.  Read the newspaper or check the Internet (e.g., weather.gc.ca) for information on the daily temperature and forecast. 

In the winter, even though it may feel cold, exposure to the sun can still harm your skin.  White snow can reflect the sun’s rays and increase the amount of UV radiation you receive by up to 85 percent.  Protect yourself by wearing sunscreen on your face and sunglasses to protect your eyes.

Seasonal Clothing

Winter

Many newcomers ask about the winter and what winter clothing they should wear.  Here are some ideas to help you stay warm and enjoy the winter season in Saskatchewan:

  • Wear a light shirt and long underwear underneath your sweater and pants;
  • Winter coats (often called "parkas") should have a hood and warm lining, and be waterproof and windproof.  They should be loose fitting to trap body heat while ensuring air circulation;
  • Wear a hat because most body heat is lost through your head.  Winter hats should cover your ears;
  • Choose winter boots that have a warm inner lining and thick soles with a rough surface to prevent slipping on ice;
  • Wear mittens or gloves; and,
  • In extremely cold weather, wear a scarf that covers your neck and the lower part of your face.

Summer

In the summer, you will want to wear cool, comfortable clothing.  Here are some ideas on what you should wear during the summer season in Saskatchewan:

  • Wear light colored, loose fitting clothing when it is very hot outside.
  • If you are going to be outside for a long period of time, you may want to take a sweater with you in case the weather changes.   
  • Wear a hat with a wide brim to shade your face, ears and neck from the sun; and,
  • Shorts, sleeveless tops and sandals are popular summer wear. 

Spring and Fall

During the spring months (March to May), and fall months (August to October), the weather varies from cloudy, rainy and cool to warm and sunny.  When the weather is cool and rainy, you should wear a water-proof jacket with a hood or carry an umbrella.  Even if it is sunny and warm, you may still want to keep a jacket in your car in case the weather changes. 

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