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Preparing for high wind events

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High winds can occur any time of year. The National Weather Service issues a High Wind Warning when winds are expected to be 40 mph or more, or if wind gusts are expected to be 58 mph or more. NWS issues a Red Flag Warning when it is very dry and windy. This indicates extreme fire danger and is issued when relative humidity is 15% or less, winds are expected to be 25 mph or more, and wind gusts are expected to be 30 mph or more. Some wind events are more moderate, causing NWS to issue an “Advisory” or “Watch.” 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. 

How do I prepare for a high wind event?   

  • Remove any dead trees or overhanging branches near structures.  
  • Remove loose roofing material.  
  • Bring in unsecured objects from patios and balconies.  
  • Make sure outdoor objects that are not fastened down, such as lawn furniture, umbrellas or garbage cans, are put away.   

Tips to Stay Safe/Plan Ahead  

  • Sign up for local alerts at SoCoAlerts.com. For more information, visit SoCoEmergency’s Sign up for Alerts.
  • Make a plan and write down important phone numbers and websites of organizations that can help you in an emergency.  
  • Pack a go bag with things you need, like important documents, cash, maps and medication.  

How do I stay safe in a high wind event?

Dangerous wind speeds can directly impact your home, vehicles or person.
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 and vehicles. 
  • 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.