Get Prepared for Severe Weather in British Columbia

An illustration of severe weather

Severe weather - thunderstorms, hail, blizzards, ice storms, high winds or heavy rain - can happen without warning and in any season.

With severe weather often comes a loss of power, so be prepared to be on your own by developing an emergency plan, putting together your emergency kit and connecting with your neighbours (PDF, 2.55MB).

Home Preparedness Checklist for Severe Weather

  • 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
    • BCHydro suggests that if the power is out for less than four hours, the food in your fridge and freezer will be safe to consume.
    • If the power is out for longer than four hours, follow BCHydro’s guidelines on making your food supply last as long as possible.
    • Fireplaces, wood stoves, barbecues and camp stoves can be used for emergency cooking. DO NOT use barbecues or camp stoves indoors due to the high risk of carbon monoxide build-up.

Vehicle Preparedness Checklist for Severe Weather

Shift into winter every year with DriveBC's Prepare Your Vehicle checklist and make sure you’re ready for bad weather while on the road. Preparing your vehicle includes packing a winter survival kit. Recommended items include:

  • Emergency kit containing non-perishable food, blankets 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

Planning your route and keeping up-to-date with weather information is a core component of severe weather preparedness. Recommended weather alert sources include: