High Winds are a Major Threat in Colorado During the Winter

GOVERNOR BILL OWENS HAS PROCLAIMED THIS WEEK THROUGH NOVEMBER 5TH AS WINTER WEATHER PREPAREDNESS WEEK IN COLORADO. THIS IS AN EXCELLENT TIME FOR ALL INDIVIDUALS...FAMILIES...BUSINESSES... SCHOOLS...AND RADIO AND TELEVISION STATIONS TO REVIEW THEIR WINTER WEATHER PREPAREDNESS PLANS.

TWO MAIN CAUSES OF HIGH WINDS IN COLORADO DURING THE COLD SEASON ARE THE PRESSURE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN STRONG LOW PRESSURE AND COLDER HIGH PRESSURE...AND CHINOOK WINDS DEVELOPING ALONG THE FRONT RANGE AND MOUNTAINS IN THE EASTERN HALF OF THE STATE.

A STRONG LOW PRESSURE AREA IN COLORADO...COUPLED WITH HIGH
PRESSURE TO THE WEST...CAN SEND A COLD BORA WIND THROUGH THE STATE AND DOWN THE SLOPES OF THE MOUNTAINS. THE RESULT CAN BE A CASCADE OF HIGH WINDS FROM THE WEST OR NORTHWEST INTO THE ADJACENT PLAINS AT SPEEDS OVER 100 MPH. THE DAMAGE CAUSED BY THIS EVENT IS USUALLY MUCH MORE WIDESPREAD THAN THAT CAUSED BY A SEVERE THUNDERSTORM IN THE WARM SEASON.

JET STREAM WINDS OVER COLORADO ARE MUCH STRONGER IN THE WINTER THAN IN THE WARM SEASON...BECAUSE OF THE BIG DIFFERENCE IN TEMPERATURE FROM NORTH TO SOUTH ACROSS NORTH AMERICA. VERY SWIFT WEST WINDS...UNDER CERTAIN CONDITIONS...CAN BRING WARM...DRY CHINOOK WINDS PLOWING DOWN THE SLOPES OF THE EASTERN MOUNTAINS. THESE SNOW EATER WINDS CAN ALSO BE HIGHER THAN 100 MPH IN EXTREME CASES...AGAIN BRINGING WIDESPREAD DAMAGE. WINDS OF 60 TO NEAR 100 MPH ARE POSSIBLE IN AND NEAR THE FOOTHILLS IN THE FORT COLLINS...BOULDER... DENVER...COLORADO SPRINGS...CANON CITY...WESTCLIFFE...AND WALSENBURG AREAS. THE AREA AROUND BOULDER IS ESPECIALLY PRONE TO THESE EXTREME WIND SPEEDS.

DANGERS FROM HIGH WINDS RANGE FROM FLYING DEBRIS...TO COLLAPSED STRUCTURES...TO OVERTURNED VEHICLES. THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE WILL ISSUE A HIGH WIND WATCH WHEN THERE IS A CHANCE FOR HIGH WINDS TO DEVELOP. WHEN THE THREAT BECOMES MORE CERTAIN IN A SPECIFIC AREA...A HIGH WIND WARNING WILL BE ISSUED. COLD STRONG WINDS CAN ALSO BRING DANGEROUSLY LOW WIND CHILL VALUES... PROMPTING A WIND CHILL ADVISORY OR WIND CHILL WARNING.IF HIGH WINDS ARE FORECAST FOR YOUR AREA...IT IS A GOOD IDEA TO BRING LIGHTWEIGHT BELONGINGS INDOORS...OR TIE THEM DOWN SO THEY DO NOT BECOME DANGEROUS MISSILES. ANY DOWNED POWER LINES SHOULD NOT BE APPROACHED...CALL THE UTILITIES COMPANY. STAY CLEAR FROM BUILDINGS UNDER CONSTRUCTION DURING HIGH WINDS. THEY CAN EASILY COLLAPSE. TRAVELING ON NORTH SOUTH ROADS NEAR THE MOUNTAINS DURING HIGH WINDS CAN BE DANGEROUS. IF YOU DRIVE A LIGHTWEIGHT
OR HIGH PROFILE VEHICLE...YOU MAY WANT TO WAIT UNTIL THE HIGH
WINDS SUBSIDE.


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