Be prepared for summer weather  

Information on how to stay safe during severe weather events in the summer.

By knowing what to expect and how to prepare for it, you will be able to protect yourself, your family and your property from summer weather hazards and damage.

Planning ahead

Having a storm readiness plan in place saves valuable time if severe weather strikes. Take the opportunity now to choose the best shelter in your home and office, and make sure your family and colleagues know where each is. Choose a meeting place to gather after the storm to ensure that everyone is safe and accounted for.

Maintain an emergency pack with a battery-powered flashlight, a radio (preferably with Weatheradio capability), tools for emergency repair, food supplies, a first aid kit, blankets and extra clothing. Keep your car gas tank full, in case gas stations close down during or after a storm. When a warning is issued, stay calm and follow your plan.

Taking shelter

When there is a threat of high winds, as in the case of a severe thunderstorm or tornado, your first priority is to take shelter. If it is safe to do so, bring livestock and/or pets indoors, close all windows and doors, and secure loose outdoor objects or move them inside.

Go to the basement or to a small interior room in the centre of the house, such as a closet, bathroom or hallway, on the lowest floor of the building. If this is not an option, take cover under a stairway or sturdy table and use a cushion or mattress to protect your head. Stay away from all windows, doors and exterior walls, in particular those facing the storm. Avoid buildings with large, unsupported roofs such as arenas, supermarkets, and barns. If you are boating or swimming, head for land immediately.

Do not travel. If you are in your car, open the windows slightly and park off the road with your brakes set, away from tall objects and power lines. Do not leave your car if there are downed lines nearby. In the event of a tornado, abandon your vehicle and move at a right angle to the storm’s path. If this is not possible, find a low-lying area, such as a ditch, and lie flat. Hang onto a small tree or shrub if you can.

Weather alerts

The type of alert used depends on the severity and timing of the event:

Different weather patterns can bring different types of threats or hazards to solicit the above types of alerts.  Environment and Climate Change Canada issues over 20 different types of alerts for the various weather hazards that occur across the country.

Play it safe

Outdoors, we are especially vulnerable to severe weather conditions in nature or in open areas. When enjoying outdoor sports or activities like camping, hiking, water sports, team sports, fishing, climbing, biking or even walking, we need to know the weather forecast and be aware of the possibility of a storm developing. We should also be able to recognize the early signs of bad weather and know how to protect ourselves. If the sky darkens suddenly, seek shelter as soon as possible.

Lightning is the most common danger associated with storms. Lightning is an electrical discharge that can reach 10 000 amperes, striking the ground at about 40 000 kilometres per second. It always seeks the easiest path to the ground. As soon as you see lightning or hear thunder, you should find shelter. Storms also generate very strong winds, hail, heavy rain, and sometimes even tornadoes.

To be safe outdoors, you must be familiar with your immediate environment and the surrounding area. By marking safe locations to take cover, you will be able to find shelter fast if the sky darkens and you notice thunder and lightning. Do not forget that a storm can develop very quickly and you need to be able to take cover in as little as 30 minutes. 

Practical advice in case of bad weather

Storm, lightning, strong winds, hail, tornado

Heavy rain, flash flooding

Learn to be safe

To better enjoy outdoor activities and to be able to protect yourself, you should keep informed of the latest weather reports and warnings in effect issued by Environment and Climate Change Canada. Various tools provide access to this information anytime, anywhere, even along your route.

The weather forecast and warnings from Environment and Climate Change Canada are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week on its weather website, where you can subscribe to the RSS service. In addition to being available from the local media, you can obtain local weather conditions using a hotline for recorded information in your area. You can also contact an Environment and Climate Change Canada expert seven days a week at the weather consultation service Weather One-on-One: 1-900-565-5555 (charges apply).

The Weatheradio Canada network broadcasts continuous weather reports on seven VHF frequencies at 162 MHz. The signal can be picked up by Weatheradio receivers, which are available for purchase from several retailers in Canada. At selected locations, low power broadcasts are transmitted on the regular FM or AM band. A Weatheradio receiver is not required to hear these broadcasts. For more information, visit the Weatheradio website.

For more information on hazardous weather conditions and how to protect yourself, visit the Environment and Climate Change Canada website.

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