Preparing For a Windstorm

A fallen tree on the road between two vehicles, as a result of strong winds

Regardless of where you live, major disasters can strike at any time, so it’s important to be prepared. Many Canadians don’t realize that Canada ranks second in the world in terms of frequency of tornadoes, with an average of 80 to 100 each year.

Tornado season typically runs from early March to late October, with the highest number of tornadoes occurring in June and early July. These violent storms bring winds that can result in significant property damage, injuries and even fatalities.

Hurricane season, affecting mostly the Atlantic Provinces in Canada, runs from June through November when the waters of the Atlantic Ocean are warm enough to produce tropical cyclones. Hurricanes often cause more widespread damage than tornadoes because of their breadth – some have been as large as 1,000 kilometres across.

Knowing what to do and how to prepare for these storms will help protect you, your family and your home.

How to Protect Your Home From Wind Damage

Maintenance of Trees and Shrubs

Man Pruning Tree

Regularly maintain the trees around your property by having them pruned and dead branches removed. This may help reduce the likelihood of them falling and damaging your vehicle or other belongings and prevent larger parts of the tree from falling during a storm. Have dead trees removed. Check with your municipal bylaws before taking action and we recommend consulting a professional as your safety is key.

Secure Outdoor Items

securing a fence

If safe to do so, before a windstorm hits, walk around your property and secure or store loose items such as patio furniture, barbeques, fire pits, children’s toys, gardening, maintenance or sports equipment, waste, recycling and compost bins. Loose items can be pushed around by strong winds and be damaged or cause damage to nearby property. Proactively address weak points or broken parts of your fence as loose boards can also cause damage during a windstorm.

Maintain the Exterior of your Property

man inspecting the roof of their home

Your home’s roof, garage doors, windows and sidings are at the greatest risk of damage from a windstorm. Ensuring that they are properly maintained and in good working condition can help to reduce the likelihood of damage and even limit or prevent damage to your home’s interior as well. Regular spot checks and warranty guidelines can assist you in ensuring they are well maintained and in good working condition.

Develop an Emergency Preparedness Plan

Mother explaining to her children the assembly point map while preparing emergency backpacks

Mapping out and going over an emergency plan with your family and those in your household is a worthwhile exercise. The plan does not need to be extensive, but it should include information on what to do in an emergency, safe places to take refuge within and outside of the home, escape routes, emergency contact numbers, as well as the location and use of emergency supplies and equipment.

How to Protect Your Car From Wind Damage

Secure your vehicles

Hand use remote controller for closing and opening garage door

Take the opportunity to secure your vehicle(s) in your garage, secured carport or stable enclosed space. If not, try to keep vehicle away from large trees, streetlamps and power lines. To remove the risk of damage due to flooding, if possible, park your car on high ground.

Take picture of your vehicle

woman inspecting her car

According to Consumer Reports, it’s recommended to take pictures of your vehicles before the windstorm – this also applies to your home as well. This will help to provide your insurance company with proof of damages in the chance that you need to file a claim

Fill your tank

Hand refilling the car with fuel at the gas station

In the event of an emergency, you may be required to evacuate your home or you may want to support others in need. So, ensure that your car’s gas tank is filled or, if it’s an electric vehicle, is fully charged.

Pack an emergency bag

Woman putting cans of food to prepare emergency backpack in living room

It is also recommended that each family member prepare their own respective emergency bag. These essential items could include water, non-perishable food, cash, phone charger, change of clothes, insurance paperwork, etc.

Insurance paperwork

Consider keeping a copy of the car and home insurance paperwork in a Ziplock bag (to protect from rain and wind damage). If you need to file a claim, be sure to contact your local insurance provider as soon as possible.

Insure Your Home and Auto

Talk to your insurance representative and make sure you have the proper coverage if your home or car is damaged by a tornado or a windstorm.

While this article focusses on protection from high winds, it’s important to remember that torrential rainfall often comes with hurricanes.  So be sure to review our tips to help prevent possible water damage.

For more information on windstorm safety, visit the Government of Canada’s public safety site.

For weather alerts in your province visit Public Weather Alerts for Canada.

Disclaimer: This information and the websites referenced are provided for your convenience only and should not be construed as providing legal or insurance advice. Allstate does not control or guarantee the accuracy of any content on any third-party site. Allstate is not responsible for the privacy practices of any third-party site.