Hailstorms are thunderstorms that produce lumps of ice called hail that reach the ground. Most hailstorms occur in the afternoon or evening and rarely last more than 15 minutes1. Hailstones produced during a storm can hit the ground at 130 kilometres per hour.Hailstones larger than 25.4mm are likely to cause damage.2
Hailstorms can occur anywhere in Canada, but are more frequent in Alberta, the southern Prairies and southern Ontario. They are more likely to happen during the summer months.3
Follow the tips below to help protect yourself and your car from the hazards of a hailstorm:
If there is a hailstorm warning, park your vehicle inside, if possible, and stay indoors.
If you’re caught in a hailstorm while driving:
- Remain calm and pull off the road as soon as you can. Hailstones impair visibility and if your vehicle is moving, any damage to your vehicle will be more severe.
- Park the vehicle in a safe place to be sheltered from the storm, such as a garage, an indoor parking lot or under an overpass.
- If you can’t park the car in a sheltered area, angle your vehicle so the hailstones hit the front of the car and the windshield, which is designed to withstand greater impact than the side windows.
- To avoid any risk of injury, do not leave the vehicle until it stops hailing. Large hailstones can cause serious injuries.
- While waiting out the storm, stay away from car windows. In the very rare case that hailstones break through the windows, lie face down with your back to the windows.
If you’re caught in a hailstorm while indoors:
- Stay inside until the hail stops.
- Stay away from windows, glass doors and skylights that are being struck by hail.
- Ensure that all family members and pets have moved to a safe area. Turn off electrical appliances and avoid using phones.
If you’re caught in a hailstorm while outdoors:
- Seek shelter immediately.
- Take shelter under a tree only if there is no other possible shelter: trees can lose branches and attract lightning.
- If you can’t take shelter, find something to protect yourself or at the very least to protect your head.