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High wind

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High winds can occur at any time of year. When this happens, the National Weather Service issues watches, advisories and warnings to keep us safe. A High Wind Warning is issued when winds are expected to be 40 mph or more, and if wind gusts are expected to be 58 mph or more. These warnings help us get ready for the possibility of property damage, disruptions to outdoor activities, or issues with transportation, such as roads being closed because of fallen trees or power lines.

In places where there’s a bigger chance of wildfires, fast winds can make things much more dangerous. When it’s very windy and dry, the National Weather Service issues a Red Flag Warning. This lets you know that the risk of wildfire is extremely high. If you receive a Red Flag Warning, get ready to leave the area quickly if a wildfire occurs. 

Some wind events are more moderate, causing NWS to issue an “Advisory” or “Watch,” in which case you should be cautious when you are outside. 

For help deciding if High Winds are expected, look for watches, advisories, and warnings from NWS.

Remember, wind patterns can shift rapidly and unexpectedly, making it challenging for residents and emergency services to anticipate its course accurately. This unpredictability makes it even more important to be prepared and stay safe. 

Alerts, warnings & orders

There are no current high wind emergency events in Sonoma County, however this page will populate with the latest information in the case of a critical incident.

How do I stay safe in a high wind event?

Dangerous wind speeds can directly impact people, homes and vehicles. During a high wind event: 

  • If you see a downed power line, STAY AWAY and call 9-1-1 immediately. You can be killed or seriously injured if you touch or approach a downed power line.  
  • Avoid anything that may be touching downed power lines, including tree branches, vehicles, or puddles or pools of water which can conduct electricity. 
  • If you are outside: 
    • Watch for flying debris, such as street signs and tree limbs. 
    • Take cover next to a building or under shelter. 
    • Stay clear of roadways and train tracks – a gust may blow you into danger
    • Use handrails when available – avoid elevated areas such as roofs. 

Driving during a high wind event

  • Keep both hands on the wheel. SLOW DOWN and STAY A SAFE DISTANCE away from other vehicles, especially high-profile vehicles, like semi or box trucks. Strong gusts might suddenly move your car, or move others into your lane. 
  • Turn on your headlights.  
  • Watch for debris that may suddenly blow onto the roadway. 
  • If high winds prevent safe driving, pull over and park away from any trees, power lines or other tall obstacles that may fall onto your vehicle.