What to do when a Hurricane Watch or Warning is issued

With hurricane season just around the corner, here is some great advice via Environment Canada.

What to do when a Hurricane Watch or Warning is issued

Hurricanes can often be predicted one or two days in advance of their landfall. The key to hurricane protection is preparation. By taking precautions before, during, and after a hurricane, lives can be saved and property damage averted.

It is important to stay informed by listening to the latest warnings and advisories on radio, television, or web sites. The Canadian Hurricane Centre will issue and update these when necessary.

  • If a hurricane is forecast, secure everything that might be blown around or torn loose. Flying objects such as garbage cans and lawn furniture can injure people and damage property.
  • Trim dead branches and cut down dead trees to reduce the danger of these falling onto your house during a storm.
  • Stock up on water, ready-to-eat food and heating fuel, as well as battery-powered or wind-up flashlights and radios – and extra batteries. Make sure that there is gasoline in the car. For a complete list of emergency supplies, go to emergency kits. Also, learn what to have in your car emergency kit.

If you live on the coast or in a low-lying area near the coast, be prepared to move inland and to higher ground if instructed by local officials. The high winds can create large waves at sea which may become storm surges when they reach the shore. If you are advised by officials to evacuate, do so. Take your emergency kit with you,

During a hurricane

  • Always check the marine forecast from the Weatheroffice website before going boating and listen to weather reports during your cruise. Never go out in a boat during a storm. If you are on the water and you see bad weather approaching, head for shore immediately.
  • Do not go down to the water to watch the storm. Most people who are killed during hurricanes are caught in large waves, storm surges or flood waters.
  • If the eye of the hurricane passes over, there will be a lull in the wind lasting from two or three minutes to half an hour. Stay in a safe place. Make emergency repairs only and remember that once the eye has passed over, the winds will return from the opposite direction with possibly even greater force.
  • Listen for reports from authorities on your portable radio.
  • If lightning is present, remember that you can use a cellular telephone during a severe storm, but it’s not safe to use a land-line telephone.
  • On a farm, depending on your location and available shelter, it may be better to leave livestock unsheltered. During Hurricane Andrew, some horses left outside suffered less injury then those placed in shelters. This was because some shelters did not withstand the high winds. Horses were injured by collapsing structures and flying objects that may have been avoided on the outside. For more information, view our publication Emergency Preparedness for Farm Animals.

Mobile homes

If you live in a mobile home:

  • Position your mobile home near a natural windbreak such as a hill or clump of trees.
  • Anchor the structure securely. Consult the manufacturer for information on secure tie-down systems.
  • When a severe storm approaches, seek shelter in a more secure building as staying in a mobile home during a hurricane can be more dangerous than going outside.


Source: Environment Canada

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