Getting around on the ice

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It’s another extremely cold night out there and Environment Canada says the conditions are dangerous. Anyone who is planning on being outdoors is being advised to use extreme caution because the wind chills could reach minus forty degrees celsius.To give you an idea of just how cold that is, with windchill it’s expected to be colder in many parts of Southern Ontario, including hamilton, than the capital of one of Canada’s most northern provinces Iqaluit and Nunavut. That’s right, colder than Nunavut and it means exposed skin could freeze in less than five minutes. No matter how you were dressed it was difficult to get around in the Hamilton area because many sidewalks and roads were covered in a thick layer of ice. And many still are.City crews spent most of the day clearing and salting residential streets but now that the temps have dropped and the snow has been falling again, They’re back focussing on main roads all available hands are working long hours into the evening. It’s been a harrowing day, and it’s not getting better.Morning traffic was snarled as people tried to make their way back to work after the holidays. And it was a treacherous first day back for students even those living within walking distance.“You have to pick your way around? Yeah walk in other people’s footsteps and make sure you don’t slide on what looks like slush, but is actually ice. It’s deadly.” “You’ve got running shoes, you’ve got dress shoes, is that enough? No. No grip at all. I’m just walking carefully, not safe at all.”Are people not dressing for the weather? We know that when it comes to falls, inappropriate footwear is always in the studies for why people fall. I would say really, with the amount of ice we’re talking, unless you’re wearing cleats, there’s not much footwear that would help.By mid afternoon, Hamilton emergency physician Paul Miller saw a couple broken hips, a smashed wrist and a head injury, all typical in these conditions: “Are these preventable injuries? Well, common sense goes a long way when it comes to walking on icy sidewalks, shovelling if you’re not fit enough, driving in unsafe conditions.”The doctor also dealt with two patients struck by heart attacks while shovelling.“My back is killing me. Never shoveled so much. I was like picking up ice. Unreal.“It’s not heavy, just frozen solid so it’s not moving. Just chipping away.”“I have spare shovels, laugh”Hamilton waste collectors need help too. the cold and the icy banks of snow along roadways are slowing their progress; some residents waited days for pickup. The city asks that if you can, wait until next week to put out your recycling so crews can get through the backlog of already voluminous Christmas waste.This afternoon, road conditions were so bad in Flamborough, the city’s waste collection contractor had to pull it’s trucks off the road. So if your garbage wasn’t collected, you are asked to keep it until next Monday and waste limits will be waived. Collection will resume Tuesday but the city has just asked that if you can, hold your waste until next week, especially blue box items that could blow around in the high winds that are expected.

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