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Winter Weather Awareness Week - Winter Wind

We all know Colorado is a pretty windy state.  It is that same wind combined with cold temperatures that can produce dangerous wind chill values.  However, when it isn't cold those same winds can be strong enough to produce damage.  Those chinook winds can achieve speeds of close to 100mph.  Check out what the NWS in Pueblo has to say about it...

High Winds are a Major Threat in Colorado During the Winter

HIGH WINDS ARE A MAJOR THREAT IN COLORADO DURING THE WINTER.

GOVERNOR BILL RITTER HAS PROCLAIMED THIS WEEK THROUGH OCTOBER 30TH
AS WINTER WEATHER PREPAREDNESS WEEK IN COLORADO.  THIS IS THE
TIME FOR ALL INDIVIDUALS...FAMILIES...BUSINESSES...SCHOOLS...AND
RADIO AND TELEVISION STATIONS TO REVIEW THEIR WINTER WEATHER
PREPAREDNESS PLANS.

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

A STRONG LOW PRESSURE SYSTEM IN COLORADO...COUPLED WITH A HIGH
PRESSURE SYSTEM TO THE WEST...CAN SEND A COLD WIND...KNOWN AS A BORA...
THROUGH THE WESTERN PART OF THE STATE AND DOWN THE SLOPES OF THE 
EASTERN MOUNTAINS.  THE RESULT CAN BE WIDESPREAD HIGH WINDS FROM
THE WEST OR NORTHWEST INTO THE ADJACENT PLAINS AT SPEEDS WHICH CAN
OCCASIONALLY EXCEED 100 MPH. THE DAMAGE CAUSED BY THIS EVENT CAN
POTENTIALLY BE MUCH MORE WIDESPREAD THAN DAMAGE CAUSED BY A LOCALIZED
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 HUGE 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 WINDS CAN ALSO EXCEED 100 MPH IN EXTREME CASES...AGAIN BRINGING
THE POTENTIAL FOR 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...WALSENBURG AND
TRINIDAD AREAS. THE AREAS AROUND BOULDER AND WESTCLIFFE ARE ESPECIALLY
PRONE TO THESE EXTREME WIND EVENTS.

DANGERS FROM HIGH WINDS INCLUDE FLYING DEBRIS...COLLAPSED
STRUCTURES...AND OVERTURNED VEHICLES.  THE NATIONAL WEATHER
SERVICE WILL ISSUE A HIGH WIND WATCH WHEN THERE IS A 50 PERCENT OR
GREATER CHANCE FOR HIGH WINDS TO DEVELOP DURING THE NEXT DAY OR TWO. 
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 OBJECTS INDOORS...OR TIE THEM DOWN OR MOVE THEM
SO THEY DO NOT BECOME DANGEROUS MISSILES.  ANY DOWNED POWER LINES
SHOULD NOT BE APPROACHED...INSTEAD CALL THE UTILITY COMPANY. 
STAY CLEAR FROM BUILDINGS UNDER CONSTRUCTION DURING HIGH WINDS. 
THEY CAN EASILY COLLAPSE.  TRAVELING ON NORTH SOUTH ROADS NEAR THE
MOUNTAINS ALONG THE FRONT RANGE DURING A HIGH WIND EVENT CAN ALSO BE
DANGEROUS.  IF YOU DRIVE A LIGHTWEIGHT OR HIGH PROFILE VEHICLE...YOU
MAY WANT TO WAIT UNTIL THE HIGH WINDS DIE DOWN.

Chief Meteorologist Brian Bledsoe

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