COLORADO, USA — Wickedly strong winds are forecast to hit Colorado Wednesday and emergency officials want people to prepare now.
Forecasted winds in the foothills could reach hurricane-force, while tropical-storm-force gusts could roll through the metro.
The sheriff's office said Stage 1 fire restrictions are still in place for western Boulder County, and Wednesday's High Wind Warning means no open burning for people in eastern Boulder County. People should also avoid any outdoor activity Wednesday that could cause a spark, BCSO said.
Boulder County shared these precautions people should take:
- Secure any loose outdoor items (lawn furniture, holiday decorations, etc.).
- Have a plan in place for a potential power outage.
- Water (one gallon per person, per day)
- Non-perishable food
- Charged cell phone
- Check in on family, friends, and neighbors that might need assistance.
- Sign up for emergency alerts. In Boulder County: boco911alert.com.
On the roads
For people who plan on driving Wednesday, BCSO said drivers should:
- Plan ahead. Leave extra time, as your drive may take longer due to the need to drive more slowly in high winds.
- Slow your speed to a safe driving speed and turn on headlights if needed to account for potentially lower visibility created by blowing dust or snow.
- Keep your hands firmly on the wheel.
- Make steering corrections when driving from wind-protected areas to unprotected areas. The wind may suddenly move your car when traveling from a protected to unprotected area.
- Be aware of, and maintain safe distances from, other vehicles near you, particularly RVs, campers, trucks, buses, or trailers being towed. These vehicles could swing out and hit your car in sudden wind gusts.
- Take extra care in high-profile vehicles such as trucks, vans, SUVs, or when towing a trailer, as these are more prone to being pushed or flipped by high winds.
- Watch for objects that could potentially blow into the roadway. Tree limbs may break and/or other debris may come loose during strong winds.
- Listen to the radio for changes in weather conditions that could create more dangerous driving.
- If winds are severe enough to prevent safe driving, pull over into a safe parking area (the shoulder of a busy roadway is not safe) and stop.
Colorado State Patrol (CSP) said, as of late Tuesday morning, there are no plans to restrict semis or other high-profile vehicles from driving. However, they said they would be monitoring conditions and could implement travel restrictions if warranted.
Regional Transportation District
The Regional Transportation District said the A Line train between Union Station and Denver International Airport will run every 30 minutes throughout the day Wednesday. It usually runs every 15 minutes. Riders should expect delays.
RTD said some crossing gate arms will be removed along the A Line and G Line, and crossing attendants will be in place.
Xcel said they are staging workers to get the electricity back on as quickly as possible in case the winds knock out power.
Xcel said customers can help them by reporting outages via the Xcel Energy mobile app, online at xcelenergy.com/out or by texting "OUT" to 98936. Customers can also text "STAT" to 98936 to get updates on when service might be restored.
COVID testing and vaccines
Several community testing, vaccine, and monoclonal antibody sites will be closed or on a delayed start Wednesday. The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment said all patients with appointments at a closed or delayed site will be notified and given information about rescheduling.
- 16th Street Mall, Denver
- Chapman Park, Monte Vista
- La Veta High School, La Veta
- Lincoln County Public Health, Hugo
- Saguache Community Building, Saguache
- Walensburg Train Depot, Walsenberg
Quite a few folks in Wednesday's path have animals that live outdoors. Dr. Miranda Sadar with CSU's Voss Veterinary Teaching Hospital said smaller animals should be kept inside when possible. If pets aren't able to be brought in, Sadar said the animals should be kept in their sheltered areas. She gave the example that chickens should be kept in their coop. She said owners should check their yards for dead or damaged tree branches that could be knocked down and cause damage to their animals' shelter, and make sure animals have enough food and water in case any trees come down, blocking the path to the animals.
Dr. Matt Johnston, also with CSU's Veterinary Teaching Hospital, said pet owners should check their animals' eyes, as swirling dust and debris can get inside, causing irritation and damage.
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