Other Natural Hazards

  1. Damaging Wind
  2. Drought
  3. Earth Fissures & Landslides
  4. Earthquakes

Unlike other parts of the country, thunderstorm wind gusts here in the Southwest almost always exceed 40mph. The strongest wind gusts can exceed 100 mph, and can produce damage similar to a tornado!


  • Secure outdoor items – furniture, umbrellas, loose gutters, etc.
  • Close your doors and windows.
  • Close window shutters. No shutters? Close window blinds, shades or curtains.
  • Trim tree branches away from your home.
  • Ask the power company to clear branches from power lines.


  • Bring pets indoors.
  • Immediately go inside a sturdy building into an interior room.
  • If you are in a mobile home, move to a sturdy building before the wind picks up.
  • Sudden wind shifts:
    • If it blows toward you from an approaching storm, go indoors!
    • If the temperature either becomes much colder or much hotter, go indoors!
  • If no shelter is available:
    • Avoid trees, power lines, and the side of the road.
    • Find a place that will block blowing or falling debris.
  • Stay at least 100 feet away from downed power lines.  The ground may be electrified.
  • In a vehicle:
    • Keep a distance from 18 wheelers, buses and vehicles towing trailers.  One strong gust of wind can be enough to flip one onto its side.
    • Slow down and hold the steering wheel with both hands.
    • Drive to a sturdy building.
  • Not near a sturdy building:
    • Move your car to a location away from trees and power lines.
    • Take shelter in your car.


  • Drive with caution:
    • Look for traffic light outages.
    • Look for obstacles in the road.
    • Report broken utility lines and damaged roadways/railways.
  • Be careful when handling trash that may have blown into your yard.
  • Stay away from wind-damaged areas.
  • Home or property damaged:
    • Take photos/videos of damage.
    • List all damaged items.
    • Contact insurance agent.

Damaging Wind Brochure (PDF)

Damaging Wind Brochure - Spanish (PDF)

More information on Damaging Winds

National Severe Storms Laboratory

National Weather Service