Anyone from the Great Lakes region knows that winter weather can often cause panic and worry for many people. From braving the icy roads to shoveling feet of snow, Erie is known for its tough winters.
While other nearby cities are also slammed with snow and cold temperatures, Erie definitely has its fair share of snow. Preparing for the winters is essential in Erie, and there’s only a short time to prepare before Jack Frost hits us with his best.
But just how bad are the winters in Erie? According to the National Weather Service, Erie has approximately 123 days of temperatures below freezing, meaning that about 33 percent of the year is spent with cold temperatures. Erie also gets an average of 91 inches of snow per year.
Sophomore pre-med/biology major Emily Davis had to get used to snow and cold weather in general, as she is a native of Goldwaithe, a small city located in central Texas. Davis said it was difficult to adjust to at first.
“Remembering that just because it was sunny didn’t mean that it was warm took a while to get used to,” she said. “It also took me a while to adjust to wearing more layers.”
Erie’s lake effect snow is caused by cold winter winds that move across the warmer lake water. The National Weather Service lists Erie, Pa., as the 13th snowiest place in the United States.
Cleveland doesn’t get as much snowfall as Erie but is still considered to be part of the snow belt with an average of 61 inches of snowfall per year. Buffalo beats out Erie in snowfall, with an average of 95 inches a year.
Pittsburgh comes in fourth in the region, with an average of 40 inches of snow per year.
With wintry conditions right around the corner, it’s important to make sure that proper measures are taken when on the road.
Driving in the snow can be a major hazard if you’re not prepared. First, it’s important to make sure that you have an emergency kit in your vehicle.
The emergency kit should include blankets, a flashlight, a first aid kit, a sack of sand, a shovel and extra clothing.
Keeping your gas tank near full will help to avoid ice in the tank and fuel lines. Also, be sure your vehicle has winter tires with good treads in order to help in icy situations.
Another risk of the winter weather is hypothermia and frostbite. According to FirstAid.com, hypothermia occurs when someone’s body temperature drops below 95 degrees.
Some of the signs of hypothermia include slurred speech, shivering, exhaustion, confusion and memory loss. If you think someone is experiencing hypothermia, call 911 immediately.
After calling, move the person inside to a dry, warm location. Remove any wet clothing and wrap the person with blankets.
Even though the winters in Erie can be a pain, there are many ways to enjoy the winter weather. Skiing, snowboarding and tubing are always options at the Peek n’ Peak resort, located in Findley Lake, N.Y.
Devan Omahen, a sophomore international business major, said she also enjoys skating at indoor ice rinks.
“It’s nice to have opportunities to enjoy the cold weather in Erie, especially if you don’t have to be outside,” she said.
Sled riding is also a good way to have fun in the snow. Frontier Park, located between West Sixth and Eighth streets, has a large hill perfect for sled riding.
Students who may not be as enthusiastic about the winter weather can also find ways to enjoy the winter season by attending an Erie Otters hockey game, located in the Tullio Arena at 809 French St., or by taking a trip to Splash Lagoon, Erie’s indoor water park located on upper Peach Street.
So whether you’re gung-ho for the season or feeling like a Grinch in regards to the inevitable winter, make sure to stay warm and stay active.
Instead of staying indoors watching the snow fall, go outside and find ways to enjoy it through snowball fights, making snow angels, ice skating or skiing.
Winter is certainly on its way; how you choose to enjoy it is up to you.