Saskatchewan is heading into the heart of tornado season, and the Canadian Red Cross wants residents to be prepared.
On average, the province sees around 16-18 confirmed tornadoes annually. Although this year’s numbers so far are lower in comparison, there were three confirmed in the south-central region on July 4.
“They all took place around about 4:30 through to 6:30 Saturday evening,” explained Global News meteorologist Peter Quinlan. “And they were very strong tornadoes.”
“We don’t yet have a rating from Environment Canada, but they likely had winds over 200 km/h.”
Georgiana Schuring is the operations manager for emergency management at the Canadian Red Cross in Saskatchewan.
She feels everyone should have a plan in case a tornado warning is issued, both for at home and in the workplace.
Preparing an emergency kit is strongly recommended, but an individual has to focus its contents on what they need rather than what they want.
“Seventy-two hours is generally what you want to be able to look after yourself for,” said Schuring. “So water, and non-perishable food.”
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“If you have a dog, dog food. If you have a baby, diapers and formula. Maybe you have medication that you can’t be without.”
A tornado watch means there’s a possibility of a tornado, and residents should keep an eye on any updates.
However, a tornado warning means one has been spotted or appeared on a weather radar.
“You need to head into the lowest level of your house, into a room away from any windows or doors,” said Quinlan. “Preferably a bathroom, you can sit in the bathtub and put a mattress on top of you.”
“That’s the best place to be. Under the stairs in also a good option.”
Schuring explained there are also options for those who don’t have a basement, or are out in public at the time of the warning.
“Obviously if you’re in a car, get out of the car. If you’re in a mobile home, get out of it and try and find better shelter. If you can’t find a building to shelter in, then get low. Get in a ditch, and get as low to the ground as possible.”
After a tornado has passed, remain inside until the storm has fully passed. Proceed with caution when going outside, as there could be damage to surrounding power lines or other structures.