Ontario averages about 12 tornadoes a year, usually between May and September. From the extreme southwest of the province to the farthest northern tip, a tornado can strike anywhere.
Environment Canada issues warnings when tornadoes are imminent or already detected. The Ontario government assists in distributing these alerts to the public.
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A tornado (or twister) is a powerful rotating column of wind that can hurt people and damage property. Very large thunderstorms can create many tornadoes. Tornadoes can appear after a heavy rain or hail in a sky that is green, yellow or black.
You can check local weather and forecasts online.
- be aware of weather conditions and warnings
- seek shelter immediately if a warning has been issued or you believe one could occur
If you're indoors:
- The safest place to be is an underground shelter, basement or safe room.
- If you don't have a basement, go to the centre of an interior room on the lowest level away from corners, windows, doors and outside walls - put as many walls as possible between you and the outside.
- Get under a sturdy piece of furniture — use your arms to protect your head and neck.
- Don't open windows.
If you're outdoors:
- don't wait until you see the tornado to get inside
- if you can't get inside, lie flat in a ditch or depression and cover your head with your hands
- don't go under an overpass or bridge - you're safer in a low, flat area
If you're in a mobile home:
- Go to the nearest sturdy building or shelter immediately. Mobile homes do not offer much protection from tornadoes.
If power outage results:
- Have a safe room in your home where everyone gathers during a tornado — a basement, storm cellar or interior room on the lowest floor with no windows.
- Conduct a tornado drill to make sure everyone knows where to go if a tornado is coming.
- Remove dead or rotting trees and branches that could fall and cause injury or damage.