There is so much information surrounding thunderstorms that people think the little knowledge they have is enough.
However, there are things about thunderstorms that people might not be aware of; this includes the fact that Thunderstorms are gigantic and are produced in the clouds.
They are as powerful as atomic bombs, and they get this energy from their movement and circulation.
They form quickly and over a short period, and on an estimate, it’s said that a bolt of lightning strikes earth 44 times every second.
In this article, we will guide you on how to prepare for thunderstorms, what you need to prepare during a thunderstorm, and what you need to do shortly after the thunderstorm is over.
Severe storms in Toronto
Despite the amazingly beautiful sunny weather in Toronto, the city is often under severe thunderstorm warnings. The thunderstorms are often associated with severe winds and even tornados. Often, Meteorologists predict heavy downpours, lightning, and large hail up to 2 cm everywhere around Toronto. Most of these severe storms occur in the afternoon to the evening hours as they weaken.
1. 1954 Hurricane
These are the most powerful rapid storms associated with high winds, low-pressure systems, storm surges, and heavy rainfall. They cause significant damage to property, vehicles, and buildings.
Arguably, the most memorable storm was Hurricane Hazel, which hit Toronto on October 16, 1954. This is a Category 4 hurricane and is not common in Ontario. This is the most destructive storm to hit the city so far. Just like in 1858, the city has once again become an island. 4,000 people were left homeless and 81 died.
2. 1999 Snowstorm
Heavy snowstorms can wreak havoc to a property resulting in collapsed gutters or roofs and blocked drains. Ice storms cause freezing rain that covers up everything in ice, resulting in hazardous conditions that potentially affect vehicles and driving on the road.
In 1999, the storm front hit Toronto four times in a row, one right after another. The storm produced 118 cm of snow, the largest since 1846. The blizzard killed 11 people.
3. 2011 Tornado
This is a hazardous kind of storm associated with high wind speed that often ranges to 300mph. They are prevalent in some areas around the world and cause a lot of destruction to property and buildings.
On August 11, 2011, Toronto was hit hard by the most powerful storm since 1999. 40 people were injured and 1 person died.
Consequences of storms
Storms are often intense and can lead to lots of destruction of property and damages. They usually lead to the tossing of loose objects, damaging the weak buildings, breaking branches off trees, and even overturning large vehicles. It’s also said that the storm could be so severe, resulting in tornadoes and lightning, which kill and injure the people of Toronto at least yearly.
The signs of a severe thunderstorm include
- A rapid drop in temperature.
- Low laying dark clouds.
- A change in speed of winds; high-speed winds or brief and calm winds.
- Sound of a Tornado approaching; often a loud noise that resembles a freight train.
How to prepare for a thunderstorm
Various measures need to be taken during a thunderstorm and in preparation for the same.
One of these is knowing the thunderstorm danger signs. This include threatening clouds or lighting and thunder sounds from a distance; even without the official announcement of the same from different weather agencies, this should be a clear indication that you need to get prepared.
It would be best if you also had emergency supplies handy; this includes flashlights, emergency food and water, a first aid kit, money or credit cards, comfortable walking shoes, and medicine.
Here are some of the things to do before the thunder and during the thunder strike.
I. Before the thunder strikes
1. Prepare your home
We are aware that the thunderstorm can be so intense that they cut off tree branches; therefore, before the occurrence of a thunderstorm, it’s important first to cut down dead trees and clear off bushes around your house.
It would be best to secure all the loose outdoor objects; this includes the furniture’s outside.
It’s important to secure the windows and the doors, and once you hear the thunder, ensure you are safe and indoors.
It’s also important that you are aware of your surroundings.
This way, you know where to run to when the severe weather threatens.
2. Prepare your battery power stations
Thunderstorms always bring power outages. A power outage in a thunderstorm is terrible, especially when your phone is dead, you can’t get news from the outside world in time. So, if you asked me how to prepare for a thunderstorm, the battery power station is always in the answer.
If you don’t know how to choose a power bank, we have picked two battery power stations for you.
For power outages of several hours or days, the BLUETTI AC200MAX portable power station provides a very compelling solution. It can even run large appliances such as refrigerators, space heaters, and other high-demand devices, and can charge all of your portable electronic products.
It has a 2048 Wh battery, and its inverter can output 2200W of continuous power and handle surges of up to 4800W.
In addition, it can also be equipped with two BLUETTI B300, making its capacity up to 8192 Wh. So, even if there is a thunderstorm, you don't have to worry about how to charge your smartphones or lights.
Another choice is BLUETTI EB150 portable power station.
With a continuous output of 1,000W, BLUETTI EB150 power station can safely power a fridge, projector, TV, a microwave oven, and any other appliance that has a wattage of less than 1,000. At the same time, the BLUETTI EB150 power station is also great for smaller appliances such as fans and CPAP machines, as well as devices like laptops and smartphones.
During the thunderstorm, you can use electronic equipment for work or entertainment in your home without any worries.
II. Responding appropriately during a thunderstorm
When the thunderstorm finally occurs, it’s important to ensure you are behind closed doors; be inside the house. This is the first step to ensuring that you are safe.
Avoid using a corded telephone, except in an emergency. However, cell phones and cordless phones are okay to use during a storm.
Turn off the air conditioners and unplug all the electronics in the house.
If you are outside, probably in a forest, you need to take shelter under a thick growth of small trees to ensure you are the lowest target.
However, if you are outside in an open area, it would be important that you move to a lower place, like a valley. However, it would be best if you looked out for the flooding.
Moreover, you need to understand that you should never stand under tall trees, isolated trees, or in a high area, open field or near open water like a beach.
III. Recovering after a thunderstorm
We know that storms can be distractive, and a lot of loss may occur as well as damages. But it should be noted that the recovery and the clean-up process after a thunderstorm is twice as dangerous as the thunderstorm itself.
There are so many hazards lying on the ground, such as live electrical wires, broken glass and fumes from leaking pipes. These are the most common. Therefore, wearing protective gear and safety measures may be required. Here are guidelines to recover safely from the thunderstorm.
1. Check your home for damage
After the thunderstorm passes, it’s important to check around your home to see how much damage has been caused.
However, you should be careful doing this because the floor might be slippery, given the lose objects on the ground resulting from the storm.
To be safe, watch the local news to ensure your area is safe before walking out, watch out for hazards such as nails and glasses, make any calls to the relevant authorities if something is wrong and out of hand, for example, gas leakage.
2. Access the damage
Before contacting your insurance company to make a claim, look at your property and all the damages caused, even the slight ones.
Take pictures of the damaged areas, and these pictures will come in handy when the insurance company assesses the damage.
3. Contact your insurance
If you have insurance for your property, then you are entitled to compensation if damage occurs; for this reason, you need to document the loss that you have suffered from the storm, take pictures of the same; this way, contacting the insurance company will be equally easy and fasten the process of compensation.
4. Try and avoid further damage
When it’s time to start the repairs, you can always work on what you can fix yourself; this can be done even as you seek professional services. This immediate repair helps to control and prevent more damages from taking place.
This, for instance, is an event that a window is broken, and rainwater is getting in; you can board up the window to prevent water from getting into the house, damaging other home appliances.
5. Get the right contractor for home storm repair
You must get the best home repair professionals to do the repairs after the damage. Get a trustworthy team that will work efficiently; the last thing you want is poor and incomplete repair.
Frequently asked questions (FAQs)
1. Will the thunderstorm cause power outages?
Yes, thunderstorms accompanied by lightning and heavy wind are a major cause of power outages.
2. How to prepare for severe thunderstorms?
Before a thunderstorm, postpone all outdoor activities, get inside a building. Shut windows and close doors.
3. How do you stay safe during a thunderstorm?
During a thunderstorm, you should get off high areas like the hills and mountains, but do not lie flat on the ground, do not shelter under an isolated tree, and when it strikes, place your hands over your ears and tuck your head between your knees, make yourself into a small target.
4. Is it safe to watch TV during a thunderstorm?
It isn’t dangerous to watch TV during a thunderstorm, but anything plugged into an outlet is at risk of suffering damage. TVs and electronics are valuables, so it’s important to disconnect them.
5. Do cell phones attract lightning?
No, cell phones do not attract lightning; in fact, nothing attracts lightning. Lightning tends to strike taller objects.
Thunderstorms are dangerous, and they are twice as dangerous when they strike at a time that we are not ready.
Therefore, it is important to understand how to prepare for severe thunderstorms. We are all urged to familiarize ourselves with all possible ways to protect ourselves when thunder strikes and to prepare ourselves when a thunderstorm is about to occur.
This way, there will be little damage caused, and most importantly, life will be saved.