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; 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:
- 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