Tornadoes, cyclones, hurricanes, typhoons and monsoons
On this page
- How storms can affect travel
- Preparing for a storm
- During a storm
- After a storm
- Hurricanes, typhoons and cyclones
How storms can affect travel
Tornadoes produce extreme winds and severe electrical storms. The storm front forming a tornado often brings torrential rain and increases the risk of flooding.
Hurricanes, typhoons, cyclones and monsoons produce strong winds and rain. They can make travelling or living abroad very dangerous.
These storms can cause high waves, flash floods and landslides leading to significant loss of life and damage to infrastructure. Essential services such as medical care, transportation, power distribution, telecommunications networks, and supplies of water, food and fuel could be disrupted.
Storms can cause severe damage along the coast and inland. Some areas, including small islands, may be cut off for extended periods of time.
You may have to wait for a long time for flights to resume and roads to reopen. The Government of Canada may be unable to help you.
Preparing for a storm
Before you leave
- Confirm your travel arrangements
- Check your destination on Travel Advice and Advisories
- Make sure your travel insurance covers trip cancellation or interruption
- Leave copies of your travel documents with someone you trust at home including:
- Your travel itinerary
- Information about your flights, hotels and cruise ship bookings
- Telephone numbers
- Email addresses
- Contact information for your tour operator
- Sign up for the Registration of Canadians Abroad service. This allows government officials to contact you with:
- important information in preparation for or during an emergency
- updates to the Travel Advice and Advisories
- Sign up for our email updates
- Follow us on Twitter and Facebook
While you're there
- Have contact information handy for:
- the nearest Canadian government office abroad
- Emergency Watch and Response Centre, which operates 24 hours a day, 7 days a week
- Keep in close contact with your family and friends so they are aware of your situation.
- Monitor local media for the latest weather forecasts, including warnings and advisories.
Getting ready for a storm
- Know the local emergency phone numbers.
- Prepare an emergency supply kit that includes food, water, medicine and personal items.
- Make a plan in case you have to evacuate:
- Make sure you have transportation, locate nearby shelters and identify routes you can take.
- If you have family or friends travelling with you, go over your emergency plan with them.
During a storm
Check for alerts on TV, radio or online.
In most parts of the world, there are 2 kinds of alerts:
- A storm watch, which means a storm is possible in a stated area.
- This type of alert is usually announced 48 hours before a tropical storm is expected.
- A storm warning, which means a storm is expected in a stated area.
- This type of alert is more serious and is usually announced 36 hours before a tropical storm is expected.
If you have to shelter in place
- Keep your emergency supply kit close by.
- Listen to the TV or radio, or check online for updates.
- Stay inside. Do not go outside until you get an official message that the storm is over.
- Stay away from windows.
- Be ready to leave:
- If emergency authorities order you to leave or if your hotel or accommodation is damaged, you may need to go to a shelter.
If you have to evacuate
- Follow the advice of local authorities on when and where to shelter.
- Bring your emergency supply kit. Only take items you really need (cellphone and charger, medicines, identification, such as passport or driver’s licence, and cash)
- Follow the roads that emergency workers recommend, even if there’s traffic.
- Other routes might be blocked or flooded.
- Never drive through flooded areas.
After a storm
Even after you get an official message that the storm is over, there can still be danger and safety hazards in your area.
- Stay out of flood water and don’t drive in flooded areas
- Cars can be swept away or may stall in moving water.
- If you have to be in or near flood water, wear a life jacket.
- Be careful near damaged buildings and do not enter them until local authorities determine they are safe.
- If you are in a building, leave immediately if you hear shifting or unusual noises.
- Stay away from power lines
Let your family and friends in Canada know you are safe.
A tornado, also commonly called a twister, is a violently rotating column of air between the ground and a thundercloud. Tornado season usually begins in March and lasts until June.
Tornadoes usually form during a severe thunderstorm.
Most form over land and some form over water, in which case they're often called waterspouts.
The United States is the destination hardest hit by tornadoes.
They often occur in the northern parts of “Tornado Alley” which include:
- Northern Texas
- Eastern Colorado
- Bordering states, including Missouri, Iowa, and Louisiana can also be affected.
Other destinations that experience frequent and intense tornadoes are:
Some other countries also experience tornadoes, though less frequent and intense.
- New Zealand
- United Kingdom
- South Africa
- Parts of Europe
Hurricanes, typhoons and cyclones
Tropical cyclones are also called hurricanes, typhoons or cyclones depending on where they occur.
Hurricanes – when they occur
- From May 15 to November 30 in the eastern Pacific Ocean
- From June 1 to November 30 in the Atlantic and northeast Pacific oceans, especially:
- the Caribbean
- Central America
- east and Gulf coasts of the United States, Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana and Texas
Typhoons – when they occur
- Mainly from June to December in the Northwest Pacific Ocean
Cyclones – when they occur
- Year-round, but mainly from September to June in the South Pacific and Indian oceans
Monsoons are heavy seasonal rains that occur in parts of East, South and Southeast Asia, Oceania, and western sub-Saharan Africa. They take place at different times of the year, depending on the region.
- Tornado alerts (USA.gov)
- National Hurricane Center (USA.gov)
- Tropical Storm Risk (EuroTempest)
- Get Prepared: Hurricanes (Public Safety Canada)
- Hurricane forecasts and facts (Canada.ca)
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