The hurricane season runs from mid-May to late November in the Atlantic and eastern Pacific oceans. During this period, tropical depressions and storms may develop into hurricanes, powerful storms that produce strong winds and rain and can generate high waves, damaging storm surges and tornados. The most threatened areas are the Caribbean, Mexico, Central America and the east and Gulf coasts of the United States – specifically, Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana and Texas. In Asia, tropical storms occur throughout the year.
Hurricanes often cause extensive damage to infrastructure, cutting off access to transportation, emergency assistance, health care, telecommunications, power and even food and water. Although the most severe damage usually occurs along coastlines, hurricanes can also cause significant damage inland when heavy rains cause flash floods and landslides and storm surges cause flooding up to 40 kilometres inland.
In the event of a hurricane, travellers may be evacuated from their hotels to emergency shelters and may be stranded for days waiting for flights to resume and roads to reopen. The Government of Canada may be unable to help you in these circumstances.
If you choose to travel to a hurricane-prone destination during hurricane season, taking the following steps can help reduce your personal risk:
- Check our Travel Advice and Advisories for up-to-the minute information on your destination.
- Confirm your travel arrangements before you leave home and make sure your travel insurance covers trip cancellation or interruption in the event of a hurricane.
- Leave copies of your travel documents and detailed information on your itinerary, tour operation, flights, hotels, cruise ships, telephone numbers and email addresses with family or friends at home.
- Stay informed by listening to the latest warnings and advisories on local radio, television or websites. Hurricane centres will issue and update them when necessary. Follow the advice of local authorities and emergency response personnel. Maintain close contact with your family to keep them informed of your situation.
- Know how to contact the nearest Canadian government office to your destination. The Emergency Watch and Response Centre in Ottawa is also available 24/7 for emergency consular services and can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Sign up for Registration of Canadians Abroad so that the Government of Canada can contact you if necessary. Stay connected to Canada through our Travel Advice and Advisories, our Travel Smart mobile web app, our email updates and RSS feeds and our Twitter and Facebook channels.
If a major weather event takes place while you are abroad, remember that the key to surviving hurricanes, typhoons, tropical storms and tornadoes is preparation. By reviewing your personal safety practices and by taking sensible measures before, during and after a storm you can stay safe. There are three basic elements that are important in the threat of any severe weather event:
- Know the risks
- Make a plan
- Get an emergency kit
For more detailed information on preparing for, and surviving, a hurricane or other major storm, visit Public Safety Canada’s Your Emergency Preparedness Guide, Before a hurricane and During a hurricane pages. For information on emergency preparedness for people with special needs, visit Public Safety Canada’s Emergency Preparedness Guide for People with Disabilities/Special Needs.
- Before a hurricane (getprepared.gc.ca)
- Canadian Hurricane Centre (Environment Canada)
- Your Emergency Preparedness Guide (getprepared.gc.ca)
- During a hurricane (getprepared.gc.ca)
- Emergency Preparedness Guide for People with Disabilities/Special Needs (getprepared.gc.ca)
- Emergency Kit (getprepared.gc.ca)
- Humanitarian Early Warning Service (HEWS)
- National Hurricane Center (U.S.)
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