Hurricanes, typhoons, cyclones and monsoons
On this page
- What they are and when they occur
- How they affect travel
- Prepare for a storm
- During a storm
- After a storm
What they are and when they occur
Tropical cyclones are called hurricanes, typhoons or cyclones depending on where 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, Mexico, Central America and the east and Gulf coasts of the United States, Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana and Texas
- Typhoons: mainly from June to December in the Northwest Pacific Ocean
- Cyclones: 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. Check our Travel Advice and Advisories to find out when monsoons occur in your destination country.
How they affect travel
Hurricanes, typhoons, cyclones and monsoons produce strong winds and rain and can be very dangerous when you are travelling or living abroad.
They can cause high waves, storm surges, flash floods and landslides that result in significant loss of life and damage to infrastructure. They can also severely disrupt essential services such as medical care, transportation, power distribution, telecommunications networks, and supplies of water, food and fuel.
These storms can cause severe damage along the coast and even 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.
Prepare for a storm
If you live in or are travelling to a region where these major storms are common:
- Check our Travel Advice and Advisories for up-to-date information on your destination
- Sign up for our Registration of Canadians Abroad service to receive important updates
- Stay up-to-date on developing situations through our Travel Smart app, our email updates, and our Twitter and Facebook channels
- Monitor local media for the latest weather forecasts, including warnings and advisories
Before you leave
- Confirm your travel arrangements before you leave home. Make sure your travel insurance covers trip cancellation or interruption if there is a major weather event
- Leave copies of your travel documents, itinerary, flights, hotels, cruise ships, telephone numbers and email addresses, and contact information for your tour operator with someone you trust at home
While you're there
- Carry contact details for the nearest Canadian government office abroad and our Emergency Watch and Response Centre , which operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week
- Keep in close contact with your family and friends so they are aware of your situation
How to get ready for a storm
- Write down emergency phone numbers or program them in your cellphone to have them on hand
- Gather emergency supplies, such as food, water, medicine and personal items, and prepare an emergency supply kit
- 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
If there is a hurricane, typhoon or cyclone alert in your area, take steps to get ready and know how to stay safe. Listen for alerts on TV and radio, or check for them online.
In most parts of the world, there are two 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.
Follow the advice of local authorities about whether you should stay in your hotel or accommodation, or evacuate. If driving conditions are dangerous, staying in place might be safer than leaving.
If you have to stay in your hotel or accommodation:
- 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
- Grab your emergency supply kit and take only what you really need with you (cell phone 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 safe:
- 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.
- National Hurricane Center (U.S.)
- Tropical Storm Risk
- Get Prepared: Hurricanes (Public Safety Canada)
- Hurricane forecasts and facts (Environment and Climate Change Canada)
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