During an Emergency

Specific Emergency Situations - Severe Summer Storms

In Ontario, severe summer storms can be dangerous and potentially life-threatening.

In Peel Region, these storms might include tornadoes, high-winds and lightning.

Lightning events

Lightning BoltDuring a lightning event, follow the 30-30 rule:

  • If there are less than 30 seconds between the flash and the bang of thunder, seek the most solid shelter you can find.
  • Stay in that shelter a full 30 minutes after the last rumble of thunder or flash of lightning.

If you're inside:

  • Stay indoors and away from things that conduct electricity such as:
    • bathtubs
    • doors
    • fireplaces
    • metal pipes
    • phones
    • radiators
    • sinks
    • small appliances
    • stoves
    • windows
  • Use a battery-operated or crank-powered radio instead.
  • Since clotheslines conduct electricity, don't go outside to get laundry hanging on a clothesline.

If you're outside:

  • Never stand under a tree.
  • Don't lie flat. Instead, crouch with your feet close together and your head down (the "leap-frog" position).
  • Take shelter in a building or depressed area.
  • Don't ride a bicycle, motorcycle, or golf cart, or use metal shovels or golf clubs. These all conduct electricity.
  • Avoid lakes or pools or anywhere else you can swim. If you're in a boat, get back to shore immediately.

If you're in a car, stay inside, but move the car away from trees or other structures that might fall on you.


Tornado facts

  • Areas near rivers, lakes, and mountains ARE NOT safe from tornadoes.
  • Low pressure DOESN'T cause buildings to "explode" as the tornado passes overhead.
  • Open windows DON'T minimize damage.

Hot, humid weather combined with a cold front could be a sign that a tornado is possible. A dark sky or green or yellow clouds are an indicator of possible tornado activity nearby.

A funnel cloud hanging from a dark cloud may be visible before the tornado actually occurs. A tornado may be accompanied by lightning, high winds, and hail.

  • If you're home when a tornado occurs:
    • Go to the basement or take shelter in a small room on the ground floor, such as a bathroom, closet, or hallway, or protect yourself by taking shelter under a heavy table or desk.
    • Stay away from windows and outside walls and doors.

  • Seeking shelter from a tornado

    Avoid buildings with free-span roofs (a roof that spans from wall-to-wall without interior columns or pillars) such as gymnasiums, churches, and auditoriums.

  • If you're in an office tower or an apartment building:
    • Stay away from windows.
    • Use the stairwells instead of elevators.
    • Shelter in an inner hallway or room, ideally in the basement or on the ground floor.

  • If you're in a car or mobile home:
    • Don't stay in the vehicle.
    • Get out. Take shelter in a building with a strong foundation.
    • If shelter isn't available, lie down in a ditch away from your vehicle or
      mobile home. Beware of potential flooding.

The content on this page is adapted from information provided by Environment Canada and Public Safety Canada. For more information on severe storms, read a detailed guide from Public Safety Canada.

For more information on the different types of weather alerts provided by Environment Canada, read our overview that helps you understand the difference between special weather statements, watches and a warning.

Revised: Friday February 28 2020

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