A tornado, which is rare in Québec, is a destructive weather event because it concentrates enormous energy in a limited space. It can uproot trees, flip over cars and destroy buildings. It moves at high speed and can change paths abruptly.
Certain signs may indicate that a tornado is coming. These are :
- extremely dark sky tinged with green or yellow;
- frequent lightning and claps of thunder;
- torrential rain;
- rumbling or whistling sound;
- funnel cloud at the base of a thunderstorm cloud.
The Fujita scale rates a tornado according to the seriousness of the damage it causes: from F0 for light damage to F5 for incredible damage.
If you live in a region where there is a risk of tornadoes, particularly in southern Québec, take the following precautions :
- establish which room in the house would be the safest during a tornado: most often, it is a room in the basement or in the centre of the house on the ground floor;
- discuss it with the members of your family;
- pay attention to any tornado warnings.
Use caution during a tornado
Never approach a tornado. Just the opposite, get away from it, or protect yourself from it.
In the case of a tornado that was forecast, follow the instructions provided by the authorities.
To protect yourself inside a building
with a solid structure, proceed as follows :
- disconnect all electrical devices;
- take your emergency kit;
- find shelter, preferably in the basement or on the ground floor, in the room that is nearest the centre of the house, or in a hallway;
- take shelter under a heavy piece of furniture;
- stay far away from windows to avoid being injured by glass shards;
- stay away from outside doors and walls;
- do not use the elevators;
- wait for the calm to return before leaving your shelter.
Follow the advice below if you are outside
and are not able to get away from the tornado or find shelter inside a safe building :
- position yourself a good distance from any trees, utility poles or power lines;
- lay down in a ditch, with your face against the ground to protect it, or find shelter under a solid structure, such as a bridge;
- squat down and cover your head with your arms;
- protect yourself from objects that could be projected by the wind;
- be ready to move in the event of flash flooding.
Do not rely on inadequate shelter
Certain places must be avoided during a tornado because they do not provide adequate shelter. These are :
- mobile homes;
- buildings with a huge roof, like a gymnasium, church or barn, as the roof is likely to collapse.
If you are in a vehicle or at one of these places, leave it and find a safe shelter
Make your environment safe and take note of the damage
After a tornado, the debris on the roads and on property is a source of danger. Beware of power lines that are on the ground and that may still be live.
If your home was damaged, you must inform :
- your fire department to verify that you can enter your home;
- your insurer;
- the financial institution that gave you a mortgage.
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