Thursday, April 28, 2011

Another umbrella bites the dust!

Aside from just being a pain to walk and drive in, high winds can also cause downed power lines and trees, flying debris, power outages and damage to buildings, vehicles, and even people. If you've looked out your window or taken out your ear buds, you know that it’s pretty darn windy outside! Not that getting tossed around in the wind is anything that we’re not used to here in Buffalo, but when the weather channels start announcing High Wind Warnings I often wonder… how much more windy can it really get?! According to the National Weather Service though, this particular warning is calling for sustained winds between 20-30 mph with gusts up to 50mph.
How to prepare for high winds?
·         Remove dead trees
·         Remove overhanging branches near structures
·         Remove loose roofing materials
·         Make sure all of your outdoor lawn furniture, garbage cans, and other objects are secured to prevent them from blowing away
·         Make sure all of your windows and doors are securely attached and latched closed

What should you do during a high wind warning?
·         Stay indoors, it’s the safest place for you to be
·         If outdoors, watch for flying debris, falling tree limbs, and any objects that are not properly secured
·         Stay away from the roads and/or train tracks
·         Use handrails wherever available
·         Don’t touch anything near a downed power line, including vehicles, tree branches, puddles, and snow
·         Don’t touch anyone who has been shocked who could be in direct or indirect contact with a power line
·         If driving, keep both hands on your wheel and slow down! Cars, debris, and even people may come into your path 
o   If the wind is too severe for you to maintain control of your car, pull over onto the shoulder of the road, stop, and turn on your hazard lights… make sure that you’re away from trees and other tall objects that could fall
o   If a power line falls onto your car: 
§  Stay inside of your vehicle
§  Don't touch any of your car's metal frame
§  Honk your horn
§  Roll down the window and warn anyone who may approach of the danger
§  Call the police
§  Do not exit the car until help arrives
·   If your car catches fire, open the door and JUMP without touching any of the metal parts of your car and get away quickly
Wondering what the different levels of wind speed mean? Take a gander at the Beaufort Wind Scale to see how our local meteorologists define our windy weather!
Beaufort Wind Scale
·         25 - 31 mph: Strong Breeze
o   Large branches in motion
o   Whistling in telephone wires
o   Umbrellas used with difficulty
·         32 - 38 mph: Near Gale
o   Whole trees in motion
o   Resistance felt while walking against the wind
·         39 - 46 mph: Gale
o   Twigs break off of trees
o   Wind impedes walking
·         47 - 54 mph: Strong Gale
o   Slight structural damage to chimneys and slate roofs
·         55 - 63 mph: Storm
o   Seldom felt inland
o   Trees uprooted
o   Considerable structural damage
·         73 + mph: Hurricane
o   Widespread structural damage
o   Roofs torn off homes
o   Weak buildings and mobile homes destroyed
o   Large trees uprooted
Click here to learn more about the Beaufort Scale.
For more information on how to prevent, prepare for, and respond to wind related emergencies, visit us online or call us here at the Chapter at 716-886-7500 to schedule a presentation for your school, organization, or church.
Information for this article was provided by LIPA.  To learn more, visit them online!

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