Saskatchewanians may underestimate the impact of winter storms on southern states

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a sidestreet in the evening, with sidewalks covered in snow wikipedia commons

With a smaller population and prepared infrastructure, our experiences do not compare

by rayanne gwilliam, Contributor

Much of the weather-related news has been covering the odd and arguably dangerous temperatures across different states in America. As a province collectively used to cold and ugly winters such weather activity doesn’t feel as intimidating to us, generally speaking. An inconvenience and something we remain alert to, but fortunately not an overall emergency. However, it’s important to keep in mind the differences in weather patterns and their apparent impact on us. For example, someone who is used to either very cold or temperate weather can struggle in hot climates, and vice versa.

 People grow to adjust to the climate they live in, including the severity of the weather such as humidity and wind. As we all know the temperature itself could actually be quite nice, until we account for 30 mile-an-hour winds. It’s also important to note the level of humidity present, since there are provinces that technically speaking experience milder winters in terms of temperature and sometimes wind. However, they tend to be in a more humid climate, so the temperature can be misleading.

Both Saskatchewan and some of the states dealing with the cold have large agriculture industries and livestock. Therefore, one thing we can relate to is the fact that freak weather can greatly impact the chance of any type of livestock surviving. Due to the routine experiences of many in the agricultural business in the United States, there is going to inevitably be the burden of navigating frost, snow, wind, etc., which these farmers have rarely (if ever) had to prepare for. Similar to how we’d be unprepared if something happened that exposed us to extreme flooding or a hurricane.

Furthermore, it’s important to look at the population differences in the comparison of Saskatchewan versus the states involved. Even when comparing Canada and the United States as a whole, a rough estimation of Canada’s population is forty million people, whereas the United States is over eight times that. That’s not only a very sizeable difference, but our land masses are very similar. Therefore, Canada is much less crowded than the United States geographically, so our resources are arguably more plentiful and easily accessible given the amount of people we would have accessing our power grid in Saskatchewan versus a state such as Texas. With a much greater population who are all in demand of a much greater amount of power, power outages are a consistent consequence. No matter the location, power outages and scarce resources are dangerous in any extreme weather scenario. It’s important to keep in mind the struggles we face, given our natural experience with such things and our resources. This can provide an idea of how we would manage without the advantages we have, like the people in the southern states are doing right now.

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