High winds can be as dangerous as other storms, natural disasters
Story by: Garrison Safety Office
A straight-line wind is the wind that comes down out of a thunderstorm, according to National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's National Severe Storms Laboratory. Wind speeds can reach up to 100 mph and can produce a damage path extending for hundreds of miles.
These winds can be just as dangerous as tornadoes because they form a massive wall of wind when striking. For this reason, these winds are often confused with tornadoes. Straight-line winds push debris in the same direction the wind is blowing; tornadoes, however, scatter debris in every direction.
Did you know straightline winds are responsible for most thunderstorm damage? A straight-line wind is a term used to define any thunderstorm wind not associated with rotation. A type of straight-line wind is a downburst. Strong downbursts can be mistaken for tornadoes. They often are accompanied by a roaring sound similar to that of a tornado. Downbursts easily can overturn mobile homes, tear roofs off houses and topple trees.
The National Weather Service uses the words "watch" and "warning" to alert you to potentially dangerous weather. Knowing the difference between the two can be a life saver.
• A watch means conditions are right for dangerous weather. In other words, a watch means watch out for what the weather could do. Be ready to act.
• A warning means the dangerous weather is threatening the area.
It is important to be prepared for severe weather. Disasters strike quickly and without warning. The best way to protect yourself and your Family is to know what actions to take.
• Know your community's warning system.
• Identify a safe room where Family members and pets can gather in an event of severe weather. It could be your basement, storm cellar or a windowless interior room on the lowest floor.
• Practice periodic severe weather drills so everyone knows what to do.
• Prepare for high winds by removing diseased or damaged limbs from trees.
• Move or secure lawn furniture, trash cans or anything else that can be picked up by the wind.
•* Watch the sky for signs, such as a cloud of debris or large hail.
• Keep a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration weather radio nearby. It will keep you updated on severe weather.
• Contact your insurance provider; be sure you are properly insured.
Always take cover when strong thunderstorm winds threaten. Take preventive steps to protect your Family and home against wind damage.
For more preparedness information visit: www.riley.army.mil/UnitPage.aspx?unit=ReadyArmy.