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Drew: March and The Beginning of Straight-Line Winds

By Samuetta Hill Drew

Traditionally March weather has been defined by high winds. An old saying depicting the month of March is “It comes in like a lion and goes out like a lamb.” Many of March’s winds are straight-line winds.
Straight-line winds can exceed 100 mph and affect large areas. These strong winds can knock over semi-trucks, trees, and power lines. With Birmingham being referred to as the City of Trees, these types of winds potentially can become a dangerous situation for residents.
It is advised that you stay indoors, if possible, and away from windows. Indoors is the safest place to be during a straight-line wind advisory. Also avoid trees, down power lines and objects that could blow around. If you are driving, slow down and keep two hands on the wheel to maintain control.
It is recommended that you trim tree branches away from your home and power lines. Alabama Power will assist in trimming tree branches by power lines if you call and report the location. In addition, secure loose gutters, and shutters.
Identify an interior room of your house, such as a basement or interior bathroom, that you can take shelter in during straight-line wind warnings. Naturally, if you live in a mobile home, identify a sturdy building you can go to if the National Weather Service issues a high wind or severe thunderstorm warning. Many people have built storm shelters for protection against high winds.
Charge all batteries of essential items such as cell phones, booster packs, weather radios and power tools such as a reciprocating saw, which you might need to clear debris. This should be done prior to the high wind advisory.
Update your emergency kit and be sure to include food and water to last for three days for each person in your home. Make a list of items outside your home you will need to tie down or put away so they do not blow away or fly through a window. When the National Weather Service issues a straight-line wind or severe thunderstorm watch, immediately secure these items to avoid damage or injury once the wind starts picking up.
We will continue sharing wind advisory safety tips for a couple of weeks to help you prepare your home and family in March so you can Keep an Eye on Safety.