Oh hail, no! How to stay safe in severe weather

Tips to prepare for hailstorms

Hail Clumb

As an Albertan, you are used to experiencing a wide range of weather: feat waves in the summer, cold snaps in the winter and even tornadoes, rain and sleet. As a province, we see a little bit of everything, and the results can be pretty wild. Even with all this experience though, it is easy to be caught off guard by a hailstorm.

Did you know that two out of every three documented hail storms in Canada happen in Alberta? With this kind of luck, it makes sense that over 60% of insurance claims from hail damage has come from Albertans since 2010. Since the weather isn't something that you can control, what exactly can you do to stay prepared and safe in extreme weather situations? Here are a few tips to make sure that you and your family are ready to withstand our next severe storm.

  • Keep a weather watch. With today's technology, it is pretty rare that there isn't an advisory or warning in advance of an extreme storm. This doesn't mean that you should watch the weather network all day, but you should stay informed. If you see dark clouds, a change in wind speed or direction or a sudden drop in temperature, it's a good idea to visit your favourite weather website or app to see if there are warnings in place. We recommend visiting the Environment Canada Weather site to see if there are any alerts or warnings in place for your region.
  • If a hail storm is happening and you are
    • Indoors, you should:
      • Stay away from windows and  glass doors
      • If time permits, close the blinds or shades to prevent broken glass from entering your house
    • Driving, you should:
      • Slow down and if possible, stop driving, and pull over to a safe location.
      • Avoid ditches due to potentially high rising water or the accumulation of hail which could lead to your vehicle getting stuck.
      • Keep your car angled so that the hail is hitting the front of your car. Windshields are designed and reinforced to withstand pressure and objects hitting them. Side windows and backglass are not so they are more susceptible to breakage in an accident or storm.
      • Cover your eyes and head, lie down and keep your back to the windows
      • Stay inside the vehicle. Do not get out!
    • Outdoors
      • Immediately try to get inside a building or seek shelter.
      • If you are not near anything that can be used for shelter, face away from the wind, crouch low and protect your head.

Hail happens. Fortunately, the storms are usually severe, but short-lived. If you take these precautions, you should be able to stay relatively damage free and ready to fight another weather-filled day.