High Wind Safety

Although it is always a good idea to check NOAA National Weather Service Advisories for Colorado, if you have looked outside or been nearly blown over while walking around today you don't need to read something to tell you that we are experiencing some some high wind conditions today across the State.  In Alamosa, local emergency management officials are reporting sustained winds in excess of 30 mph with gusts exceeding 65 mph.  In Elbert County, high winds are already suspected in knocking down a structure adjacent to the Agate Post Office (linked pic courtesy of CBS 4 Denver's Twitpic Site).  Our Division Regional Field Manager, Lori Hodges, reports high winds in the area are in the range of 55 mph - 65 mphs along the I-70 corridor near Agate.  In both cases, high wind advisories/warnings are in effect.  Although no injuries were reported by emergency responders, the Post Office in Agate has been closed until damage assessments can be made by local building officials (for information on this incident, you can contact the Elbert County PIO Hotline at (303) 805-6142). 

So... what do you do about high winds?  Actually, we can take the same safety precautions most often identified for tornado (and hurricaine) safety and use it in response to high wind threats.  For example:

  • Stay in an interior room or basement of your house/business.  Interestingly, according to high wind preparedness experts, garage doors are often the first feature in a home to fail due to high winds.
  • Avoid windows.  
  • Do not remain in light or poorly constructed structures that may be subject to blow down or collapse.
  • Stay out of structures with wide, free-span roofs like auditoriums and gyms.
  • Secure or move indoors all items which could become projectiles.
  • Avoid areas/structures immediately subject to tree/branch falls (special note:  pine beetle-kill forest areas are uniquely subject to blow-down due to dried or damaged root systems).
And, as always, keep up with developments from the National Weather Service online or on the radio.