How to Prepare for High Winds
Spring and summer usher in picnics and backyard barbecues, but these months are also the months most associated with tornadoes and severe thunderstorms. When sections of warm, humid air have yet to rise and wind up lower than cool, the air becomes unstable. Then a difference in air density causes the unstable air to move upwards, producing taller and thicker clouds. These clouds will often form a thunderstorm or tornado with high wind levels.
In the early months of 2022, Minnesota experienced a few extreme spring storms. In April, one caused between 3 and 8 inches of snow statewide with 30 to 50 miles per hour wind speeds. It was so strong that experts called it an anomaly, and even after it passed, wind speeds remained with an average high of 60 miles per hour.
But that’s not the worst high wind event we can expect for the US in the spring of 2022. Some experts suggest that this year, the South and Southeast regions of the US will experience abnormally high tornado activity. Meteorologists partially credit this decay of La Nina and the colder than usual waters of the Pacific Ocean.
Thunderstorms and tornadoes generate strong winds, with the potential of inflicting high wind damage and even injuries. However, preparing correctly and knowing what to do when such an event occurs can significantly decrease the risk of bodily harm or property damage. The first thing to remember is that nothing is more important than your safety. Prepare your home as much as you can ahead of time (using the following tips), but prioritize yourself when the time comes.
Wind can create debris and dust from almost anything during high wind events. It’s essential to listen to the national weather service when they warn you that a potentially dangerous high wind event may be heading for your area. A high wind event is declared when they notice sustained winds of around 40mph or more for over an hour or recurring gusts of over 58 mph. Straight-line wind of more than 58 mph resulting from a thunderstorm will immediately get it classified as severe.
If they say there isn’t time to prepare, listen to local authorities and seek shelter immediately. If there is time to prepare, start by reducing the number of things outside your home that could potentially turn into more flying debris. Try to move any lawn or patio furniture, garbage cans, etc., inside (either to your house or garage). Try to keep lightweight items that the tornado could turn into a projectile away from any windows.
What to do During a High Wind Event
Wind blowing at high speeds can knock down power lines. Make sure that you have food and water available that don’t require a heat source. Stock up on batteries and flashlights or lanterns. Find a place that you can go in the event of a tornado that is away from windows and exterior walls. Basements, bathrooms, and stairwells are all excellent options. The lower you can go, the better. Avoid hiding on the second story of your home. If you can manage to get to your basement or cellar safely, do so.
If something happens and you become exposed to extreme winds, take a defensive position. With your knees facing the ground, lean forward so that your forehead is as close to touching the ground as possible, and cover your head and neck with your hands. Close your eyes to prevent blowing dust from getting in them and causing eye injuries.
What to do After a High Wind Event
Once the storm has passed, and the winds have calmed, stay in your safe place until you receive confirmation from qualified professionals that it is safe to emerge. If a tornado did not touch down near you, there is little risk of structural damage to your home. Still, be aware of the possibility. Stay on the side of caution when you can. Debris, sharp objects, downed power lines, and other safety hazards can be hard to see until it’s too late.
When it is finally safe to do so, you probably want to begin the recovery process as soon as possible. We advise against going it alone. AdvantaClean is available for 24/7 disaster cleanup and repair. We’d be more than happy to help you through the aftermath of the storms. Contact us at any time for a consultation or to schedule a service.