Wind Storms

The Pacific Northwest escapes the threat of hurricanes, but we are no stranger to strong, damaging wind storms.  

Before a Wind Storm

  • Be familiar with evacuation routes should you need to leave the area before a wind storm.
  • Make sure you have an emergency kit.
  • Trim dead or dying branches from trees, trim branches away from your home and remove large trees that may fall and damage property during a wind storm.
  • If you have an electric garage door opener, learn how to open it manually in case of a power outage.
  • Items on your property that may have the potential to blow away and cause damage or become lost should be stored indoors or secured - garbage cans, lawn and patio furniture, potted plants, or car ports.

During a Wind Storm

  • If you are indoors, move away from windows or other objects that could fall and stay on the lower floors in multi-story homes.  Turn off natural gas appliances and any electronics or lights that are not immediately needed.
  • If you are outdoors, move into a building and avoid downed electric power lines, utility poles and trees.
  • If you are driving, pull off the road and stop away from trees and power lines or poles.  If possible, walk into a safe building.

After a Wind Storm

  • Evacuate damaged buildings and do not re-enter until declared safe by authorities.
  • Call 9-1-1 only to report a life threatening emergency.  Know your local non-emergency and utility phone numbers to report outages and downed trees.
  • If you smell natural gas, leave the building immediately and turn off the gas at the meter (if it is safe to do so).  Then call your utility company to report the leak.  You should not turn the gas back on.  This has to be done by the natural gas company.
  • Stay away from downed power lines and trees.  


The Pacific Northwest isn't known as tornado country but we can, occasionally, get unstable weather that can produce a tornado.  Aumsville, Oregon and Vancouver, Washington have both had tornados within the last few years.  

Determine in advance where you will take shelter in case of a tornado warning and make sure it is part of your emergency plan:

  • Storm cellars or basements provide the best protection.
  • If underground shelter is not available, go into an interior room or hallway on the lowest floor possible.
  • In a high-rise building, go to a small interior room or hallway on the lowest floor possible.
  • Stay away from windows, doors and outside walls.  Go to the center of the room.  Stay away from corners because they attract debris.
  • A vehicle, trailer or mobile home does not provide good protection.  Plan to go quickly to a building with a strong foundation, if possible.  
  • If shelter is not available, lie flat in a ditch or other low-lying area.  Do not get under an overpass or bridge.  You are saver in a low, flat location.
  • Plan to stay in the shelter location until the danger has passed.
  • Have a weather radio available to listen for storm watches and warnings. These inexpensive radios may be purchased at your local hardware or department store.

For more information on tornados, visit