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Caution urged as Alberta enters storm season

Here comes summer storm season. Are you ready?
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Are you ready for storm season in Alberta? Prevention and preparation are key, advises the Alberta Motor Association. Photo submitted.

Did you know that between tornadoes and thunderstorms, there's one severe event every other day on the prairies between June and September?

As the summer storm season approaches, the Alberta Motor Association (AMA) is reminding Albertans to be cautious; reporting that severe weather is becoming more frequent and destructive, with Alberta's storm-related damage topping all other provinces combined. And as we head into peak hail, wind and flood season, AMA Insurance is urging prevention to all.

"We're not sure Albertans are always aware of the risk to their properties or vehicles," said Ted Koleff, Vice-President of AMA Insurance Claims. “Having an emergency plan and taking the right steps to prepare can make a huge difference.”

Since 2010, hailstorms alone have caused nearly $7 billion in insured damages across the province. As well, six of the 10 most costly disasters in Canadian history took place in Alberta. Residents may remember June, 2020, when Calgary, Airdrie and Rocky Mountain County experienced catastrophic hailstorms--the storm was the fourth costliest on record in Canada.

Knowing a storm is on its way is key to prevention, explains the AMA, so using apps from Accuweather, the Weather Network and the Weather Channel are advised. The AMA also recommends:

  • At the first sign of severe weather, park your vehicle under cover and secure items in your yard.

  • Keep your gutters and downspouts clear and draining properly. This is especially important after a hailstorm since debris can get stuck.

  • Inspect your roof annually for damaged or loose shingles. Weak spots in the shingles can cause leaks and shorten the life of your roof.

  • Inspect your floors, walls and foundations. Seal cracks and leaks as you go.

  • Give your trees some support by trimming branches and protecting the roots with mulch to keep your trees healthy and upright.

  • Test your sump pump and backwater valve (usually found in the basement) by pouring a bucket of water into the pit. If the pump doesn’t start, get it serviced.

  • When completing repairs after a storm, consider upgrading to impact-resistant materials that better withstand Alberta’s weather. Some insurance companies offer discounts for choosing weather-resistant options.