Spring is officially here, and we are already experiencing some windy days, which is normal for this time of the year. The Western United States is usually affected by winds more than other parts of the country. Having lived in West Texas for a number of years, we became accustomed to more wind in the Spring, which often resulted in terrible sandstorms, limiting visibility to zero, on very bad days. (You didn’t want to be wearing contact lens when it was extremely windy!) Worse, we see images on the news of the conditions that our troops face in the deserts of Iraq and Afghanistan, with blinding sandstorms adding to their many other challenges.
Wind is something we all should pay attention to. For those who work outdoors, it can create risky situations. Persons who work on scaffolds, or any platform where they are above the ground should take all precautions by wearing the proper PPE, such as goggles to protect their eyes, harnesses, and other means of stabilization. Another example of windy conditions affecting the workplace are airlines, which often must delay or cancel flights because of high winds.
Windy conditions can adversely affect all vehicles – cars, trucks, R.V.’s, and motorcycles. The best course of action while driving in windy conditions is to slow down. A strong wind gust can blow a driver or rider off course. Motorcycle riders need to remember that no matter how strong they think they are, the wind is stronger. The best thing for all drivers or riders who are fighting high winds is to find a safe place to stop until things calm down.
Those who live in mobile/manufactured homes may want to have a licensed installer inspect to ensure it is safely anchored to the ground, that it has the right number of ground anchors, and to replace any damaged or corroded ones. If winds reach a high speed, these types of homes may be susceptible to damage.
With the beginning of more outdoor activities that warm weather brings, everyone should be cautious. When grilling, keep a fire extinguisher or water hose handy just in case the wind starts blowing. If there is a burn ban in the area you live, by all means, observe the ban. Too many fires have been started by carelessness, as Californians can confirm. Winds have carried fire across thousands of acres of beautiful forests. Boaters should be aware of changing weather, noticing cloud changes, or the water beginning to white cap.
The best advice is to pay attention to the weather forecast for your area every day. Then you can assess conditions for your workday, or for other activities you have planned. Nice, soft breezes keep us at ease; it’s just that some days the winds may get a little out of hand. That’s when we get in situations that we must remain calm and use our skills to stay safe.