What to Do Before, During, and After a Thunderstorm in Canada

What to Do Before, During, and After a Thunderstorm in Canada

Thunderstorms are common natural affairs in Canada. This is mainly during the spring, summer, and fall. They feature heavy rain, strong winds, lightning, and sometimes hail, posing numerous threats to life and property. But capable preparations for approaching thunderstorms, timely response to dangers, and following up with appropriate measures for recovery contribute immensely to personal and family safety. This article gives information on what is expected to be done for preparedness before, during, and after.

What Happens During a Thunderstorm?

This storm includes lightning and the acoustical result of that lightning on the Earth's atmosphere, referred to as thunder. Thunderstorms are caused by several atmospheric changes, especially when warm air at the earth's surface forces moist air into the unstable atmosphere aloft. A typical process has to involve:

  • Lightning: This is a sudden electrostatic discharge in a thunderstorm, either to the ground, over the ground material, or to an individual. It can cause heavy injuries and even death by hitting an individual directly. It can travel along electrical and plumbing systems to ground inside a building.
  • Thunder: Thunder is the sound caused by the fast expansion of air when it's heated around a lightning channel. Usually, it follows an electric discharge immediately after a flash, its sound being listenable from miles away. The time lag between lightning and thunder can also help give an idea of the distance the storm has struck.
  • Heavy rainfall: Thunderstorms are usually accompanied by heavy rain, which causes the flash flood. The rapid accumulation of water could lead to overloading in a drainage system and give dangerous driving conditions. Flash floods are hazardous in urban areas with concrete surfaces, allowing little infiltration.
  • Violent Winds: Thunderstorms are considered significant and huge. It has strong and gusty winds, blowing down trees and ripping structures apart. It can cause windblown debris. These strong winds are referred to as straight-line winds—a devastating force much like tornados.
  • Hail: Some of these disasters produce hail. These are balls of ice that fall from the storm. The stones can be the size of golf balls, balls, and pellets of ice. As a result, they create havoc on food crops, vehicles, and buildings.

What to Do Before a Thunderstorm?

Thorough preparation is vital. It can help reduce the risk and maximize safety in this calamity. Below are the key steps to take before the crisis:

  • Be Informed: Listen to the weather forecast regularly on the radio/television. The most latest info from Environment Canada will advise you of any conditions favorable for this disaster. These include storm maps and weather warnings.
  • Make an Emergency Kit: Put together a custom disaster supplies kit. Pack it with food, water, light sources, batteries, a first aid pack, and another radio that is portable and battery-powered. It would also be wise in looking into extra essentials for the family. These include medicines, baby items, or pet food.
  • Develop a Family Emergency Plan. Let everybody know where to go in a this disaster. It could be a basement or an interior room on whichever level of the house away from windows. 
  • Secure Outdoor Items: Bring in or keep safe all outdoor furniture, decorations, or equipment. They are likely to become a missile in solid winds. Have trees and shrubs properly trimmed. This is crucial to avoid breaking branches and causing damage.
  • Look into Your Home's Vulnerability to Damages: Check your home for any possible vulnerabilities, like loose shingles and damaged windows. Make pivotal repairs to decrease the risk of damage . 
  • Unplug Electronic Devices: During the calamity, unplug all types of electrical devices. This is because it will secure them from power surges that may result from lightning.

What to Do During a Thunderstorm?

To prevent accidents, immediate steps should be taken when this disaster occurs. The following is to be done:

  • Take Shelter Indoors: As soon as you hear  the crisis, quickly seek shelter in an enclosed place and remain inside. Keep well away from windows/doors and metal objects.
  • Avoid Electrical Appliances: Do not use any wired gadgets. This is because lightning may strike and cause fluctuations in the flow of electric energy.
  • Keep Away from Water: Do not leave to bathe, shower, or use plumbing, among which water can conduct electricity. Avoid water bodies. These include pools, lakes, etc.
  • Unplug Appliances: Disconnect all other electronic gadgets to ensure they don't suffer any harm from energy surges. Turn off and disconnect televisions, computers, and other sensitive equipment.
  • Wait It Out Safely: Remain indoors for at least 30 minutes. Start counting after you hear the last clap of thunder. This will see the calamity out and assure safety outside.
  • If You Are Caught Outside: Do not stand on hills or other elevated ground. Avoid isolated trees and stay clear of the highest object or object in the Area.
  • Find A Safe Place: If no shelter is available, crouch with feet together. Do this with hands covering ears with head tucked. Also, do not lie flat on the ground. 
  • While You're in a Vehicle: If you are driving, pull over safely and stay in the car; avoid touching any metal within the car or any metal outside the car.

What to Do After a Thunderstorm?

After the Thunderstorm, it is important to stay cautious and address any immediate dangers or damage. Here's what to do:

  • Check for Injuries: Ensure everybody is okay and give first aid in the event of injuries. Alert medical help as quickly as possible if there are any injuries, mainly from lightning.
  • Guard Against Hazard: Avoid contact with live power lines, downed buildings or structures, and flooded areas.
  • Inspect Your Home: Check for any damage such as structural problems, broken windows, and water leakages. Record the damage with pictures to submit insurance claims.
  • Check Utilities: Ensure that the gas lines, water lines, and electrical wiring are still in place and have not been damaged. If they appear to be damaged, contact utility providers for help.
  • Listen to News Updates: Continue listening to information from local news and weather reports to learn about any additional risks associated with a particular event or that may be ongoing.
  • Please Drive Carefully: If you need to travel, be careful of scattered debris, fallen trees, and flooded roads. Do not drive through floodwaters. They may be deceptively deep. 
  • Safe Cleanup: Do this while wearing protective clothing and gloves. Be aware of potential sharp objects and exposed nails. 
  • Support your community: Check on neighbors, who might be the elderly, disabled, or children. Ensure that they are safe. Also, confirm that they have the needed help.

What Are the Warning Signs of a Thunderstorm?

Recognizing the signals of this developing calamity is crucial. It will provide you with critically important time to find shelter and prepare. Below are common indicators:

  • Darkening Skies: Thunderstorms often come with gloomy-looking, dark clouds that could block the sunlight and signal a somber atmosphere.
  • Lightning Flashes: Continuous flashes of lightning far away indicate the impulse of the storm. Very often, the flash observed from lightning occurs before the sound from thunder.
  • Increased Winds: Sudden gusty winds that come out of nowhere sometimes occur as a forerunner to an approaching thunderstorm.
  • Sudden Temperature Drop: This dramatic decline may occur right as the crisis approaches. This is mainly due to the downdraft of cooler air from the storm. 
  • Sound of Thunder: This follows the flashes of lightning and is a good indicator of how close the storm is. One can count the seconds between them and get a rough distance to the storm in miles.
  • Weather: Listen in carefully to Environment Canada warning and watch updates concerning severe thunderstorms. A watch means that the forecaster thinks there is a good possibility of convection occurring. On the other hand, a warning means that a severe storm is either happening right now or is very imminent. 
  • Unusual Animal Behavior: Animals may respond by flocking or acting agitated due to atmospheric pressure changes.

Home Battery Backup for Emergency Case

Home battery power backups are essential to ensure power envisions the continuity of power during and after a thunderstorm. They provide energy when the grid is down, ensuring critical appliances and devices keep running. Here are reviews of two recommended backup systems:

BLUETTI EP500Pro Solar Power Station

It is a powerhouse home battery backup with 3,000W pure sine wave output and a 5,120Wh LiFePO4 battery. It has a built-in dual-core microcomputer and Internet functionality, allowing it to self-upgrade its firmware for the newest, most effective performance. Besides, the EP500Pro has 15 outlet sources to power multiple devices, from a laptop to an electric vehicle. The uninterrupted UPS backup feature is smooth in operation and automatically activates during a power outage to provide continuous, quiet, fume-free operation.

AC500 + B300S Home Battery Backup

It takes a modular approach, with capacity from 3,072Wh to 18,432Wh. This unit provides a 10,000W surge capacity for the system, with a 5,000W handling pure sine wave inverter for the largest of household appliances. Besides, the intelligent app control allows simple monitoring and management. Also, the system supports six recharging methods, including dual charging from the AC and solar. 

Final Thoughts

To sum up, while thunderstorms are a regular part of Canada's weather landscape, adequately prepared and knowledgeable Canadians can mitigate the impacts of these extreme weather events. With such knowledge, you know how to go before, during, and after a thunderstorm to protect your family and property. Most importantly, peace of mind is provided by knowing that emergency power stays on with reliable home battery backups.

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