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;
  • Hail;
  • Rumbling or whistling sound; and
  • Funnel cloud at the base of a thunderstorm cloud.

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.

Inside a building

To protect yourself inside a building with a solid structure, proceed as follows:

  • Disconnect all electrical devices;
  • Keep your emergency kit with you;
  • 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; and
  • Wait for the calm to return before leaving your shelter.

Outside a building

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;
  • Take refuge in a ditch or other depression in the ground if you cannot shelter in a building, lie face down on the ground if necessary and protect your head with your hands, or find shelter under a solid structure, such as a bridge;
  • Protect yourself from objects that could be projected by the wind; and
  • 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:

  • Vehicles;
  • Mobile homes; and
  • 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.

Source and reference for further information: Urgence Québec – Tornadoes

Also consult: Government of Canada – Hazards and Emergencies – Tornadoes

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