Extreme Weather Safety
Before or during an extreme weather event, pay attention to local media broadcasts and follow instructions from local officials.
Hurricane or tropical storm
- Hurricanes and tropical storms are violent weather systems which can change direction on short notice. Even a significantly weakened system can carry high winds, heavy rain and flooding (see storm surge, below) and can cause widespread destruction.
- Secure anything that can be blown around. Lawn chairs, barbeques, toys, construction material, and other debris can be damaged and/or become dangerous projectiles. Move watercraft out of water to higher ground.
- Seek shelter in a secure building and keep pets inside. Tree branches may break off, trees may topple and power lines may be downed.
- Prepare for power outages. Have emergency supplies on hand, such as a battery operated or wind up radio and flashlight, water, and non-perishable food.
- Everyone should to be prepared to cope for at least the first 72 hours of an emergency. Download the emergency preparedness guide and personalize it for you and your family.
- Make note of the civic address at your campground, hotel, cottage, etc. in case you need to call for help.
- The most destructive effect of a hurricane or tropical storm is a storm surge.
- High winds create huge waves at sea which can create tidal waves or storm surges and lead to flooding.
- If you are camping or staying on the coast or in a low-lying area near the coast, move inland and to higher ground.
Thunderstorms and lightning
- Always take shelter during a thunderstorm or lightning.
- If you are caught in the open, do not lie flat. Crouch down with your feet close together and your head down (the "leap-frog" position) and try to get to a low area such as a ditch.
- Never seek shelter under a tree.
- Do not ride bicycles, motorcycles, tractors or golf carts because they can conduct electricity.
- Stay away from other items that conduct electricity, such as telephones, metal golf clubs, appliances, sinks, bathtubs, radiators and metal pipes.
- Hail comes down at great speed, especially when accompanied by high winds.
- When a hailstorm hits, find shelter and avoid low lying areas that may flood.
- Stay indoors, and keep yourself and your pets away from windows, glass doors and skylights which can shatter if hit by hailstones.
Winter storm or blizzard
A major winter storm can last for several days and be accompanied by high winds, freezing rain or sleet, heavy snowfall and cold temperatures.
When snow and ice build up on tree branches, rooftops and utility lines, we face dangerous conditions which can also lead to power outages. You may not have heat, hot water, electricity or plumbing.
The aftermath of a winter storm can have an impact on a community or region for days, weeks or even months.
- Everyone should to be prepared to cope for at least the first 72 hours of an emergency. Download a copy of our emergency preparedness guide, which you can personalize for you and your family.
- Never touch power lines. A hanging power line could be charged (live) and you could be electrocuted.
- Ice, branches or power lines can continue to break and fall for several hours after the end of the storm.
- Freezing rain is more slippery than snow. Use extreme caution if you have to go out.
- If you must go outside, dress for the weather to avoid cold-related injuries.
- Shovel out your 911 civic sign. Emergency responders can't help you if they can't find you.
- Bring pets/companion animals inside during winter weather. Move other animals or livestock to sheltered areas with non-frozen drinking water.
- Learn about winter driving safety.
- For information on Prince Edward Island road conditions, call 511, or go to 511 road conditions.
During extreme cold conditions, it is important to take precautions to stay safe and warm to reduce the risk of frostbite and windburn.
- Wear appropriate clothing, including layers and protective eyewear;
- Limit time outdoors for yourself and your pets, and bring them inside;
- Move regularly to maintain body heat;
- Keep a winter survival kit in your vehicle when travelling;
- Check in on family, friends and neighbours; and,
- Seek shelter.
Get more information and helpful supports:
- Working outdoors
- Personal emergency preparedness and winter driving
- Fire prevention
- Temporary emergency shelter supports by calling 1-833-220-4722
- Mental health supports by calling 1-833-553-6983
- For regular updates throughout weather events, follow reliable information sources such as local media, Environment Canada, and PEI Public Safety
Where can I get more information on safety during extreme weather?
Contact the Emergency Measures Organization:
Toll-free (daytime only): 1-877-894-0385