While most Canadians are aware of tornadoes that happen south of us in the United States, many of us don’t have a clear image of where tornadoes happen right here at home. While not nearly as active as the United States, Canada still gets about 62 verified tornadoes per year. Saskatchewan has the highest per province with about 18 tornadoes, followed by Alberta with an average of 15 tornadoes, then Ontario with an average of 12-13 tornadoes each year, according to The Weather Network.
While there may be some areas that are more prone to tornadoes, they can happen anywhere at any time. They’re not always huge twisters like in the movies. Some are smaller, kicking up sticks, leaves, and gravel, and they can still harm people or pets or destroy cars and windows. Still other tornadoes appear in the form of water spouts over the ocean. No matter where you live in Canada, it’s important to know that even in the month of August, you should be on the lookout for signs of a tornado.
How can you tell that a tornado is imminent? The easiest way is to be tuned into your local news or radio station during storms. Tornado warnings are usually broadcast about 13 minutes before a tornado strikes (when possible), so staying tuned in can help save your life. If you’re outside and see a funnel cloud beginning to form, this is another, more obvious sign that it’s time to get indoors or into a cellar. Tornadoes have also been known to give off a low rumble, similar to the sound a train makes. Additional noise comes from the wind as well as from any debris that the tornado might be whirling around. So if you hear any noises you don’t quite recognize or trust, get inside–nevermind that it’s August.
Always be prepared for a tornado to arrive, no matter what time of year it is. Do this by stocking canned food in the area where you plan to take shelter. You should also include, along with canned food, some safety items such as a flashlight with extra batteries, a change of clothes, an additional weather radio, and bottled water. Check your tornado-ready first aid kit every few months to make sure nothing has expired, and restock it as needed.
It may come as a surprise that tornadoes can still appear in August. Still, by remaining aware and being prepared, you can help avoid disaster.