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Placer County Urges Residents to Take Precautions Against High Winds

November 21, 2013

Placer County is prepared to assist the public during high winds that are expected to begin this evening, but is urging residents to take precautions to protect themselves, their families and property.

“The Placer County Office of Emergency Services is monitoring weather updates closely and is working with other county departments to ensure we are prepared,” explained OES Program Manager John McEldowney. “We have a plan in place and are working with other agencies to respond as needed.”

The National Weather Service (NWS) has issued a high wind warning for very strong winds in the High Sierra that are expected to arrive tonight and continue through Saturday morning.

Potential impacts include downed trees and local power outages. Driving conditions and outdoor recreational activities may be treacherous.

The NWS issues high wind warnings in areas where it expects hazardous winds with sustained speeds of at least 40 miles per hour and gusts of 58 miles per hour or more that can lead to property damage.

Tonight and on Friday, the highest winds are expected in mountain areas with elevations of 3,000 feet or more.

The NWS has issued a wind advisory that generally applies to areas of Placer County with elevations below 3,000 feet. The wind advisory began at 10 a.m. Thursday and is scheduled to remain in place until 7 p.m. Friday.

In areas covered by the advisory, winds could reach 15 to 30 miles per hour with gusts up to 45 miles per hour.

A wind advisory means winds could be strong enough to make driving difficult, particularly for high-profile vehicles, and to blow around unsecured objects. 

For more information, go to the NWS website by clicking on this link: WEATHER SERVICE 

The California Office of Emergency Services is urging the public to take the following precautions during the wind storm:

• If you don’t have to go out, stay home.
• Use extreme caution around downed trees and power lines. Assume any down power line is live.
• Treat all non-working traffic signal lights at intersections as stop signs.
• Watch out for blowing debris from downed tree and power lines.
• Avoid all downed power lines and objects touching them. Report downed lines to local authorities.
• Stay away from chain-link fences around downed power lines. They can be electric conductors.
• Slow down for debris in streets.
• Slow down for traffic officers at intersections with non-working signal lights.
• Be aware of utility workers clearing debris and working to restore power.
• Remember that driving can be extremely difficult and dangerous in high winds, especially for high-profile vehicles such as buses, trucks, vans, and recreational vehicles. Avoid operating your vehicle if at all possible.
• If a line falls on your car, stay inside the vehicle. Take care not to touch any part of the metal frame of your vehicle. If the vehicle catches fire, open the door, but do not step out. Jump, without touching any of the metal portions of the car's exterior, to safe ground and get quickly away.
• During the storm, draw blinds and shades over windows. If windows break due to objects blown by the wind, the shades will prevent glass from shattering into your home. Remain a safe distance from windows.
• Keep pets inside and ensure they have shelter from the wind.

To prepare for potential power outages, residents should keep in mind the following tips from Cal OES:

• Prepare a kit with a flashlight, batteries, bottled water, non-perishable food, blankets and warm clothing, emergency phone numbers, a first aid kit and other items you might need if power is out for several days.
• Make sure your vehicle has plenty of gas. When power is out, gas pumps at service stations typically don’t work.
• If your garage has an electric door opener, locate the manual release lever and know how to operate it.
• Stock up on shelf-stable foods such as canned goods, juices, peanut butter, energy bars and trail mixes.
• Plan for ways in which to keep food cold.  Buy a cooler and freeze-pack inserts and keep them frozen.  Freeze water in plastic jugs or containers or store bags of ice.
• Install surge protectors and/or battery systems for computers.
• Do not run generators, gas grills, or other carbon monoxide-producing equipment indoors while power is out.

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