May 3, 2016 8:12 pm
Updated: May 4, 2016 9:24 am

How you can stay safe and save lives this severe weather season

WATCH ABOVE: Saskatchewan is known for its severe summer weather and conditions so far this year point to plenty of action in the months to come. Peter Quinlan tells us what we should know heading into summer storm season.

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SASKATOON – Saskatchewan is known for its long, cold winters, but this year was different. Saskatoon only saw temperatures tumble down below -30 twice when normally the mercury dips down that far 14 times. It was also the second warmest winter ever recorded in Regina.

And the warm winter seems to be spilling into a mild spring.

READ MORE: Crews prepare for another season of Saskatchewan wildfires

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But before you get too excited, remember, an early start to summer may mean an early start to severe weather season.

Environment Canada’s warning preparedness meteorologist, John Paul Cragg, says it’s really important to know where to find your forecasts and where to get watches and warnings to stay on top of the weather in the summer season.

“Saskatchewan gets more tornadoes than any other province in Canada, but it gets a lot of other summer severe weather – winds, hail, rain and we see a lot of lightning and lightning kills more people than any other severe weather types.”

So once you have a way to regularly check the forecast and stay updated with any watches or warnings issued, there’s one more very important thing you can do that could help save lives – report the severe weather you see to Environment Canada.

There are three ways to report severe weather – you can use the Twitter hashtag #skstorm, email Environment Canada via storm@ec.gc.ca or phone 1-800-239-0484.

“Storm spotters are our eyes on the ground,” said Cragg.

Any significant weather should be reported – from rain to wind damage, hail to tornadoes and funnel clouds.

It all helps meteorologists identify and track severe weather to keep those in the path of the storm informed.

So while for some summer just can’t come soon enough, there is lots to prepare for in the meantime, because when a warning gets issued, you may only have minutes to respond.

“If a tornado is bearing down on your community, Environment Canada is looking at a 10-minute lead time for a warning for that tornado, so it’s really important to know how to react beforehand.”

So if you’re wondering where to start, head to our website or download our new and improved SkyTracker weather app that has just been updated with all the features you’ll need this summer.

The app will bring you your latest forecast and now in this latest version you can go into the settings and turn on weather warning notifications so you will receive an alert when a weather warning is issued for the area you are in.

© 2016 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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