High winds can be just as dangerous and cause just as much damage as severe weather. Learn how to protect yourself when they blow through.
When You’re Caught Outside
Seek shelter immediately if you can. However, if no buildings are in sight:
- Avoid elevated areas.
- Stay low to the ground and cover your head.
- Stay away from roads to prevent being blown into traffic.
- Watch for flying debris.
When You’re Indoors
Take cover inside a well-constructed building. Whether you’re at home, at work or somewhere else:
- Move to the lowest floor.
- Stay away from windows.
- Secure or bring inside objects the wind could pick up.
When You’re Driving
Sudden bursts of wind can blow you off course, push other vehicles into your lane and drop debris into your path. Follow these guidelines for handling your vehicle:
- Keep both hands on the wheel at all times.
- Slow down.
- Keep a safe distance from vehicles in front of and beside you.
- Be extra cautious in and near high-profile vehicles—such as trucks, vans, SUVs, RVs and semis—which strong gusts can flip.
- Watch for downed power lines and call 911 if you pass any.
- If you feel unsafe, pull off to the side of the road and turn on your hazard lights. If possible, park your car so it faces the direction the wind is blowing.
- Never stop on a bridge—high gusts could push you over the railing.
Preparing Your Property
If you live where severe thunderstorms, tornadoes or hurricanes commonly occur, you might want to secure your home. With the help of a professional, consider the following tasks from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA):
- Reinforce the garage door.
- Install storm shutters on windows and doors.
- Make sure shingles are secure.
- Brace gable roofs.
- Remove damaged or dead trees.
- Anchor small outbuildings.