Many of us look forward to warmer springtime weather as the winter cold starts to fade. Gentle springtime showers, however, can also be displaced in many areas of Canada by more severe thunderstorms. For much of Canada, this can translate into dangerous weather like flash flooding and even tornadoes.

So what does all of this mean for the upcoming spring season in 2018? Though technology has enabled us to better anticipate storm fronts, it’s hard to accurately tell if and exactly when a tornado will strike. Parts of the southeastern United States experience tornadoes as early as January, whereas Canada often experiences tornado season as late as June and July. Luckily, knowing when a disaster is likely to strike can help us to better prepare for the season—and increase our safety.

What Causes Tornadoes? Tornadoes form when warm, humid winds get trapped below cool, dry arctic air, and winds at ground level move in a different direction than those above. This can cause the rising air to spin which is ultimately what creates funnel clouds, also called tornados.

Where are Tornadoes Likely to Occur? Most often, tornadoes occur in what’s known as “Tornado Alley,” which includes areas between the Rockies and the Appalachians, and from central Texas up through the Canadian prairies.

Does a tornado give off any early signs? If your area is anticipating heavy rain or any big thunderstorms, stay aware. Keep watch for heavy rainfall or hail followed by a sudden wind shift or complete calmness.

What you should do in the event of a tornado: Establish a designated area in your home to take shelter. Your place of work should also have a designated area, such as a windowless stairwell or an interior room. Underground areas such as basements and cellars are ideal spaces to take cover during tornadoes. If you’re able, you can cover yourself with a mattress, blanket or padded item to add protection from falling debris. Of course, tornadoes don’t always strike when you’re indoors. If you’re driving a vehicle and the tornado is visible but in the distance, take an alternate route opposite of the storm and drive until you reach a place with underground shelter. You may also exit your vehicle and take cover in a ditch or another place close to the ground, covering yourself with any coats or blankets, if possible.

No one wants to fall victim to a tornado. However, if you’re prepared for the storms that could strike this spring, that’s half the battle. Remember, it’s important to seek shelter from powerful storms—not chase them. If for any reason your home is damaged by storms this spring, know that the experts at Paul Davis are prepared to step in and help you get your house feeling like home again.