WeatherThe climate in the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo varies widely from season to season.
The summer months (May to September) are warm and comfortable, with average temperatures of 15C that sometimes rise past 30C. The days are long and generally sunny and dry, giving plenty of opportunity for outdoor activity in the evenings. At summer solstice, the sun rises at 4:33 a.m. and sets at 10:22 p.m.
Temperatures throughout the winter months are an average of -20C, though "cold snaps" can reach -40C or even lower at times. At winter solstice, the sun rises at 9:00 a.m. and sets by 3:47 p.m. Although the nights are long, it's often bright and sunny during the day.
People considering moving from other parts of Canada will find that winter in Fort McMurray, while cold, is also quite dry. The amount of snowfall is much less on average than in many other parts of the country. Average snow depth is 20 cm from December to March.
For people considering a move here from parts of the world where there is not much snow, it is important to be prepared for the reality of winter in Northern Canada. Most people here dress in layers so they can be comfortable inside and outside. Warm boots, a hat, gloves and a warm coat are needed to keep from freezing.
It is very important to make sure your vehicle is ready for the winter months. Cars in northern Alberta need block heaters and are plugged in when it gets to -20C. Leaving the house in winter often means brushing snow off your car windshield if it is parked outside. Getting winter tires on your vehicle is very important, as the roads in the area are used by many commuters and they can become icy and slippery. Keeping an emergency road kit in your vehicle is important in case you get into an accident or are stranded. These kits usually include basic items like a shovel, road salt or sand, booster cables, a flashlight, a blanket, extra winter clothing and food supplies, a first aid kit and a road map.
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