Tornado risk for Barrie-area late Tuesday afternoon and evening

Large hail, strong winds and heavy rain are also threats

Environment Canada expects a line of thunderstorms to move east across our region late Tuesday afternoon and into this evening, and forecasters say some of these storms will likely contain tornadoes.

Even if there are no tornadoes, there is also the risk of large hail up to ping pong ball size, wind gusts up to 120 km/h and heavy downpours.

A tornado watch is in effect for Barrie, Orillia, Simcoe County, Parry Sound, Muskoka, as well as northern Dufferin and Grey County.

The risk for storms will continue overnight, though the threat will diminish.

Updates on Twitter: @Barrie360 @Barrie360Alerts

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Weather Alerts: What do they mean?

From Environment Canada:

Weather alerts

The type of alert used depends on the severity and timing of the event:

  • Warning
    • Urgent message that severe weather is either occurring or will occur
    • Updated regularly so that you can stay informed and take appropriate action
  • Watch
    • Alerts you about weather conditions where there is potential for a significant storm or severe weather to occur
    • Watch may upgrade to a Warning as certainty increases about the path and strength of a storm system
  • Advisory
    • Issued for specific weather events that are less severe, but could still significantly affect Canadians
  • Special Weather Statement
    • The least urgent type of alert
    • Issued to let you know that conditions are unusual and could cause concern
    • They provide notice of what weather may be coming

Warning signs of a potential tornado

  • Severe thunderstorms.
  • An extremely dark sky, sometimes highlighted by green or yellow clouds.
  • A rumbling or a whistling sound caused by flying debris.
  • A funnel cloud at the rear base of a thundercloud, often behind a curtain of heavy rain or hail.

What to do

In all cases

  • Get as close to the ground as possible, protect your head and watch for flying debris.
  • Do not chase tornadoes – they are unpredictable and can change course abruptly.
  • A tornado is deceptive. It may appear to be standing still but may in fact be moving toward you.

In a house

  • Go to the basement or take shelter in a small interior ground floor room such as a bathroom, closet or hallway.
  • If you have no basement, protect yourself by taking shelter under a heavy table or desk.
  • In all cases, stay away from windows, outside walls and doors.

On a farm

  • If your personal safety is not at risk, you may have time to open routes of escape for your livestock. Open the gate, if necessary, and then exit the area in a direction perpendicular to the expected path of the tornado.

In a recreational vehicle or mobile home

  • Find shelter elsewhere, preferably in a building with a strong foundation.
  • If no shelter is available, crouch down in a ditch away from the mobile home or recreational vehicle. Beware of flooding from downpours and be prepared to move.

In a high-rise building

  • Take shelter in an inner hallway or room, ideally in the basement or on the ground floor.
  • Do not use the elevator.
  • Stay away from windows.

In a gymnasium, church or auditorium

  • Large buildings with wide-span roofs may collapse if a tornado hits.
  • If you are in one of these buildings and cannot leave, take cover under a sturdy structure such as a table or desk.

In a vehicle

  • If you spot a tornado in the distance go to the nearest solid shelter.
  • If the tornado is close, get out of your car and take cover in a low-lying area, such as a ditch.
  • Do not take shelter under an overpass or a bridge.

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