Graphic of thunder cloud and lightening







Thunderstorms bring a wide range of threats. These include hail, lightning, strong winds and heavy rainfall. All of these hazards can result in property damage, injuries or fatalities. React immediately when you first see lightning, hear thunder or are given some other warning. There are a few simple precautions that you can take to protect yourself.

If you are indoors:

  • If you are in a building, stay inside
  • Large hailstones can shatter windows, so stay away from windows, skylights and doors.
  • Unplug TVs, radios, toasters and other electrical appliances.
  • Do not use the phone during the storm, and do not contact metal objects like radiators, stoves, metal pipes, sinks or other potential conductors of electricity.
  • If the storm is safe distance away, close your drapes, blinds or window shades to prevent the wind from blowing broken glass inside, and consider unplugging televisions and other electrical appliances that do not have surge protectors.

 If you are outdoors:

  • Move immediately to a place of shelter. Go to a building or vehicle. Large enclosed structures tend to be much safer than smaller open structures.
  • Avoid water (other than puddles), high ground, isolated trees, picnic shelters and open spaces.
  • If lightning strikes when you are outside, crouch down and put your feet together. Minimize your contact with the ground, or lie down in a tight curled up position.
  • Keep away from telephone and power lines, fences, trees and hilltops.
  • Get off bicycles, motorcycles, golf carts and tractors.

 If you are in a vehicle:

  • Stop the car safely at the side of the road and stay there.
  • Completely close all windows
  • Do not park near power line or trees which could fall on your vehicle

Other potential hazards:

Graphic of a stick man standing in front of a red question mark

Environment Canada issues 3 types of Alerts for Weather Related Emergencies:

  • Special Weather Statement - Least urgent type of alert, lets people know conditions are unusual and could cause concern.
  • Watch - Weather conditions that are favourable for a storm or severe weather.  Could cause safety concerns.
  • Warning - An urgent message that severe weather is either occurring or will occur.

 Weather Alerts for Waterloo Region can be found on the Government of Canada's Website.

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