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Your Windows vs. Tornadoes

Environment Canada is responsible for warning the public when conditions exist that may produce tornadoes. It does this through radio, television, newspapers, its internet site, as well as through its weather phone lines.

Edmonton Tornado – July 31, 1987

Fact or Fiction?

Should you keep your windows and doors open or closed during a tornado?

The short answer?  CLOSE THEM!

The long answer? If tornado winds get inside your home or garage, it becomes much easier for the tornado to remove the roof and even the walls. When Environment Canada issues a tornado watch [or threatening weather approaches], make sure to close all windows and doors, including garage doors.

Since your doors and windows are the average home’s biggest risks when it comes to high winds, you should focus on securing them first. Experts recommend installing storm doors and thick window panes with superior impact resistance. These panes have the added bonus of delivering year-round energy savings. Seal all drafts and cracks around windows and doors with weather-stripping or foam insulation.

 

Tornado facts

  • Canada gets more tornadoes than any other country with the exception of the United States.
  • Tornadoes are rotating columns of high winds.
  • Sometimes they move quickly (up to 70 km/hour) and leave a long, wide path of destruction. At other times the tornado is small, touching down here and there.
  • Large or small, they can uproot trees, flip cars and demolish houses.
  • Tornadoes usually hit in the afternoon and early evening, but they have been known to strike at night too.

Tornado prone areas in Canada as published to the National Building Code, 2011, based on research from Environment Canada. Source: Adapted from Sills et al., 2012.

Warning signs of a potential tornado

  • Severe thunderstorms, with frequent thunder and lightning
  • An extremely dark sky, sometimes highlighted by green or yellow clouds
  • A rumbling sound or a whistling sound.
  • A funnel cloud at the rear base of a thundercloud, often behind a curtain of heavy rain or hail.

 

Another thing you should do in order to prepare for a tornado.  Create an emergency preparedness kit.

According to Environment Canada this kit should include:

  • Water – two litres of water per person per day (include small bottles)
  • Food that won’t spoil, such as canned food, energy bars and dried foods (replace once a year)
  • Manual can opener
  • Wind-up or battery-powered flashlight (and extra batteries)
  • Wind-up or battery powered radio (and extra batteries)
  • First aid kit
  • Extra keys for your car and house
  • Cash, travellers’ cheques and change
  • Important family documents such as identification, insurance and bank records
  • Emergency Plan – include a copy in your kit as well as contact information

Consider these additional emergency kit supplies:

  • Two additional litres of water per person per day for cooking and cleaning
  • Candles and matches or lighter (place in sturdy containers and do not burn unattended)
  • Change of clothing and footwear for each household member
  • Sleeping bag or warm blanket for each household member
  • Toiletries and personal hygiene items
  • Prepaid phone card, mobile phone charger
  • Pet food and supplies
  • Infant formula, baby food, and supplies
  • Activities for children like books, puzzles or toys
  • Prescription medications, medical equipment
  • Utensils, plates and cups
  • Household chlorine bleach or water purifying tablets
  • Basic tools (hammer, pliers, wrench, screwdrivers, work globes, pocket knife)
  • Small fuel-operated stove and fuel
  • Whistle (to attract attention)
  • Duct tape

June 2, 2017 – Three Hills tornado

 

Stay safe out there!

 

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