High Winds

Safety Tips for High Winds:


Safety Tips High WindsLos Angeles and Kern County both see dangerous wind events every year. Gusts up to 70 mph aren’t uncommon in the passes and along foothills. High winds can make driving difficult, cause power outages, damage buildings and vehicles and also cause injuries or even death. Safety is essential before, during and after a high wind event.



Wind Advisories, Watches and Warnings are issued by the National Weather Service.

Wind Advisory – A Wind Advisory is issued when the following conditions are expected to occur or are occurring for 3 hours or longer.

  • Sustained winds of 31 to 39 mph AND/OR wind gusts of 46 to 57 mph.

High Wind Watch – A High Wind Watch is issued when the following conditions are expected within the next 12 hours:

  • Sustained winds of 40 mph or higher for one hour or more OR wind gusts of 58 mph or higher for one hour or more.

High Wind Warning – A High Wind Warning is issued when the following conditions are occurring or imminent:

  • Sustained winds of 40 mph or higher for one hour or more OR wind gusts of 58 mph or higher for one hour or more.

Preparing for High Winds

If you know there is a wind event on the way, then ensure that your property is secure. Remove any trees and branches that are dead or broken. Make sure that there are no roof materials that are loose and that all outdoor furniture and other moveable objects are secure. Keep flashlights and a battery powered radio handy in the event of a power outage.

Safety Tips

There are certain things that you can do to ensure your safety during high winds and these include:

  • Secure outdoor objects
  • Stay indoors and postpone any activities that are held outside if a warning has been issued
  • Debris may be flying around – Stay aware of your surroundings
  • Report any downed power lines to your electrical company – do not touch the lines
  • Do not touch anything that is in contact with a downed electrical line
  • Do not touch a person who may have been electrocuted and is in contact with electrical lines. Dial 9-1-1
  • If you have to drive, drive slowly with both hands on the wheel. Turn on headlights while driving through blowing dust.
  • Keep a safe distance from other cars and watch for debris
  • Watch for high profile vehicles – Campers, big rigs and trailers are more likely to overturn in high winds.
  • Get off the road and park on the shoulder if the winds make driving too dangerous
  • Ensure you are not near trees or other objects that may fall
  • If electrical lines land on your vehicle, stay in it and don’t touch any metal parts of the vehicle. Honk your horn to warn others and call 9-1-1.
  • Listen to a radio to find out local information on the weather
  • Keep your pets inside or ensure they have shelter from the wind
  • Check on your neighbors, especially if they are elderly
  • Make sure you know the evacuation procedures or emergency procedures in your area

You can check for the latest weather advisories, watches and warnings for California by clicking here.


Video – The Indian Wells Valley windstorm of 2002 (New Years Eve), caused power outages, property damage, overturned vehicles and one death. A man was crushed by a tree branch while gathering firewood for a fire. Video by High Desert News Channel.

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