Summer storms: Be aware, be prepared

The lazy, hazy days of summer. Many of us look forward to the sun and heat after a long winter. But during the summer, weather conditions, like heat and humidity, create the potential for severe storms. That’s why it’s important to stay updated with weather reports and always be prepared at home or on the road.

Be in-the-know about weather and potential hazards

When you’re planning summer activities, pay attention to the forecast and skies – especially for any chance of thundershowers or heavier thunderstorms. You can have this information in the palm of your hands with various weather apps on your handheld devices (including the option for alert notifications). For example:

  • The Weather Network/
  • Environment Canada
  • AccuWeather

Severe Weather Warnings

When a severe weather warning is issued, be prepared to seek shelter if you’re outdoors, and head to shore if you’re on the water. 

At home, secure any loose outdoor furniture, and when dark storm clouds approach, make sure your pets and children are inside. Thunderstorms with lightning and wind can cause power outages and so this is also a good time to charge your devices.

In the event that the power goes out, it’s also important to have easy access to:

  • Flashlights with extra batteries
  • A battery-operated or crank radio
  • Power banks for wireless charging
  • An emergency preparedness kit with supplies for 72 hours (emergency preparedness)

If your home is on well-water, consider filling your bathtub with water in case the power goes out so that you can flush toilets.

During a storm, stay away from windows to avoid getting hit by glass if the wind blows something into them. If the storm worsens – especially with high winds– seek shelter in the basement or at a small interior location in the middle of your dwelling, like a closet, hallway or bathroom. In an apartment or condominium, go into the hallway or head downstairs using the stairwell. Never use the elevator during a storm. 

If you’re trapped outdoors or are camping, try to get to a permanent structure for shelter. Avoid going under trees and if stuck outdoors, crouch down to make yourself the lowest point to avoid a lightning strike. If you’re driving, pull over and put on your four-way signals.


Get the latest information

During any emergency, it is important to stay informed. You can follow the City’s website at and follow our social media channels on Twitter and Facebook. Listen to your local radio or TV station for the latest information.

Check in with others

During emergencies, you can act as a vital line for those who need assistance or important information. Contact your neighbours, friends and family members – especially those who are vulnerable – to see if they need assistance and update them with the latest information and instructions.

Make the right call

In an emergency, it’s important to know who to call and when to call:

  • 9-1-1 - For life-threatening emergencies 
  • 2-1-1 - For information on provincial government and local community-based health and social services including food supports
  • 3-1-1 - For City of Ottawa services such as garbage collection, by-laws, forestry services and childcare services 

Utility Companies

  • 613-738-0188 
    For inquiries to Hydro Ottawa about power outages 
  • 1-800-434-1235 
    For inquiries to Hydro One about power outages 

Preparing ahead at home saves time and stress during emergencies. Please refer to the City’s emergency preparedness site for more information.


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