Get prepared for cold weather and storms

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Severe weather like thunderstorms, hail, blizzards, high winds or heavy rain can happen without warning and in any season. Extreme cold can be hazardous, and the risk increases the more time you spend outdoors.

On this page

Severe weather checklist

This checklist helps you prepare yourselves and your home.

  • Develop an emergency plan
  • Put together your emergency kit
  • Connect with your neighbours (PDF, 2.55MB)
  • Have a battery-operated radio
    • This allows you to listen to your local station for warnings, advice and instructions
  • ​​Stow flashlights with extra batteries
  • Winterize your home
    • Insulate walls and attics
    • Weather-strip doors and windows
    • Clear rain gutters
    • Remove tree branches that could fall during strong winds
  • Inspect your chimney or flue
    • This helps prevent structural fires and ensures smoke, carbon monoxide and other potentially harmful gases are properly vented
  • Make sure you have an adequate supply of food and water

Extreme cold safety tips

Environment and Climate Change Canada issues extreme cold alerts based on local climate conditions and they are put into effect when significant cold temperatures or wind chills are expected to occur for at least two hours.

  • Dress warmly
    • dress in layers, the outer layer should be wind resistant
    • synthetic and wool fabrics provide as good insulating properties
  • Cover up
    • frostbite can develop within minutes on exposed skin, especially with wind chill
    • watch for colour changes on fingers and toes, pain, numbness, a tingling sensation, or swelling
  • Keep dry to stay warmer
  • Keep moving to maintain your body heat and seek shelter from the wind
  • If it’s too cold for you to stay outside, it’s too cold for your pet to stay outside
  • Check on family, friends and neighbours
  • Keep emergency supplies in your vehicle such as extra blankets and jumper cables
  • Make sure your home is well-insulated, the heating system is working efficiently and seal off cracks and drafts


Connect with your local government or First Nation for more information about extreme cold resources and supports available in your community.

Warming centres and shelters

In response to extreme cold events, warming centres may be opened for the public at the discretion of local governments and First Nations in affected areas.

Temporary winter shelters and extreme weather response shelters are funded by BC Housing and operated by their partners for people experiencing homelessness.

Find a warming centre or shelter by contacting your local government or by checking the BC Housing website

Vehicle preparedness checklist

Preparing your vehicle (PDF, 721KB) includes packing a winter survival kit. Your kit should include:

  • Grab-and-go bag containing water, non-perishable food, and first aid supplies
  • Windshield scraper and snow brush
  • Extra windshield washer fluid
  • Spare tire, wheel wrench and jack
  • Shovel and traction mat, sand or kitty litter
  • Flashlight and extra batteries
  • Battery jumper cables
  • Extra clothing and footwear
  • Flares and matches or lighter
  • Fuel line antifreeze
  • Tire chains and gloves

Weather alerts

Plan your route and keep up-to-date with weather information:

You can also call toll-free 1-800-550-4997 for B.C. road information 24 hours a day.