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Wind storm readiness key for when ‘dry’ monsoons hit

This North American monsoon season has been an unusually dry one. Also called summer or desert monsoon, this seasonal shift in wind is normally accompanied by heavy rainfall.

According to Weather.com, “most of northwestern Mexico and the southwestern U.S. receive over half of their annual precipitation from the monsoon …” Not this year. Yet another reason to wish 2020 would just blow away.

Per Weather.gov, Las Vegas hasn’t had measurable rainfall since April 20. High winds and prevailing dry climate are the makings for red flag warnings and wind advisories, both issued by the National Weather Service last week.

The weather service states “red flag warning means that critical fire weather conditions are either occurring now … or will shortly. A combination of strong winds … low relative humidity … and warm temperatures can contribute to extreme fire behavior.”

In addition to critical fire risk, dust storms, broken boughs, trees down, projectiles, hazardous air quality, power outages and other ravages from high wind are all threats that should heighten our personal safety and storm readiness.

Here are steps to take before, during and after high winds to help mitigate property damage and ensure greater safety for you and your family.

Before the winds hit:

▶ Keep trees and shrubs trimmed and remove any that are dead, especially ones close to property and power lines.

▶ Make sure your heating, ventilation and air conditioning air filters are ready for increased dust/particulate matter, especially in homes with people that have respiratory issues. (In a home with no pets, filters should be changed approximately every 90 days.)

▶ Put cars in the garage. For street parking, don’t park under trees. Have a full tank of gas.

▶ Tie down and/or put anything away that can become airborne, like lawn furniture, patio umbrellas, potted plants, toys, pool floaties etc.

▶ Portable barbecues should be secured or put in the garage/shed. If it has a propane tank, disconnect it, but leave the tank outside (do not store propane in an enclosed space).

▶ Have cellphone, portable battery chargers and power packs charged and computers backed up. Have a weather app on your smartphone and enable severe weather alerts.

▶ Have a 72-hour supply kit for you and your family. This kit should include first-aid supplies, flashlights, a portable radio, batteries, nonperishable food, bottled water, blankets and medication.

▶ Know where your shutoffs are for water, gas and electric. Know how to open your electric garage door opener if the power is out (look for a red handle and cord that when pulled down disengages the opener).

▶ Make sure all doors, windows, awnings and the fireplace damper are closed.

▶ Identify a “shelter” room in the house. It should be on the first floor, in the center of the house with no windows.

During high winds:

▶ Stay indoors. Do not attempt to secure your yard in the midst of high winds.

▶ Avoid being in front of windows and glass doors until the storm passes.

▶ Unplug sensitive electronics in case of power surges.

▶ Stay informed. For local updates go to Boulder City’s Facebook page, @bouldercitynv or to BCNV.gov. You can also receive emails and text alerts by signing up through their website. Go to “How do I …” and click on receive news texts and email.

After the winds:

▶ Look around your home for damage. Take photos of any damage to your home or car.

▶ If there’s a power line down, stay clear and contact authorities immediately.

▶ Check to see if there’s debris blocking your heating ventilation and air conditioning unit and any vents.

You Are Not Alone is a local program created to “provide peace of mind and sense of comfort and confidence for Boulder City’s homebound seniors or disabled citizens who enjoy the independence of living alone.” Registered YANA participants will be checked in on to make sure they’re OK, especially if there’s a storm or power outage. For assistance with YANA registration or to request more info, contact the police support aide Patrick Richardson at 702-589-9603 or prichardson@bcnv.org.

Norma Vally is a seasoned veteran of home improvement; her career includes four seasons as host of Discovery Home Channel’s Emmy-nominated series “Toolbelt Diva.” A columnist and author, Vally splits her time in Southern Nevada, Los Angeles and New York City. Follow her on Facebook at Norma Vally “Toolbelt Diva” and visit her at www.NormaVally.com. Email Norma@NormaVally.com.

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