Ministry of the
Solicitor General

Fact Sheets



Strong and gusty winds can cause property damage or turn any loose items into flying debris. It can affect your ability to safely steer your car and make it hard to walk. High winds in combination with heavy rain can increase the risk of tree limb breakage or trees uprooting. After high winds, make sure to check your property for dead branches and damage.

When high winds and severe rain fall are expected, Emergency Management Ontario advises the public to follow these tips:

Personal Preparedness – Before the Storm

  • Arrange a meeting place or a way of communicating with family members who may be at work, school, or away from home when a storm hits.
  • Make sure you have an Emergency Survival Kit with sufficient supply of food and water (refer to the Emergency Survival Kit fact sheet for a list of the basic items every individual should have in their kit).
  • Regularly inspect the trees in your yard and remove any damaged limbs to make them more wind resistant.
  • Check the drainage around the house to reduce the possibility of flooding after a heavy rain.
  • Secure lawn furniture, trash cans and anything else that can be picked up by wind and become a danger.
  • Designate a safe room in your home where household members and pets may gather if winds become extremely high.

Safety Tips –During the Storm

If you are indoors:

  • If time permits, draw blinds and shades over the windows in your home to help minimize the damage if the glass shatters. Move away from windows.
  • Stay on top of the latest storm information through local media, Environment Canada’s website or a Weather radio.
  • If winds become extremely high, go to a pre-designated shelter area such as a safe room, basement, storm cellar or the lowest building level.
  • If there is no basement go to the center of an interior room on the lowest level away from windows and doors. Put as many walls as possible between you and outside.
  • If you live in a high-rise building, take shelter in an interior room; sit underneath a sturdy piece of furniture as far away as possible from exterior walls and windows.
  • If there is a power outage, keep your fridge and freezer shut unless absolutely necessary. A full freezer can keep food frozen for 24-36 hours if the door stays shut.

If you are outdoors:

  • Get inside a solid built structure immediately.
  • If winds become extremely high and you cannot move inside a building, lie flat in a ditch or depression and cover your head with your hands.
  • If there is lightning and you are caught in the open, do not lie flat on the ground - sit in a frog position and lower your head.
  • Watch out for flying debris, including street signs, yard objects and tree limbs. Be careful of fallen power lines. Do not touch the power lines, always assume they are live.
  • If you are driving, pull over to the side of the road away from trees. Avoid driving through flooded roads and underpasses. The water may be a great deal deeper than it looks and you could get stuck. Also avoid crossing bridges if the water is high and flowing quickly