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High winds can cause travel hazards on Iowa’s roadways today

This news story was published on February 29, 2012.
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AMES, Iowa – Feb. 29, 2011 – The Iowa Department of Transportation (DOT) is advising central and west central Iowa motorists that sustained wind speeds of 30 to 40 mph and gusts between 50 to 60 mph, are expected across Iowa this afternoon. The rest of the state is expected to experience sustained winds of 25 to 35 mph with gust of up to 50 mph. Drivers on Iowa roadways should be alert to the effects of these winds on high-profile vehicles and vehicles towing trailers.

The National Weather Service has issued a high wind warning effective until 6 p.m. today for 25 counties in central west central Iowa. A wind advisory is in effect across the remainder of the state. Strong southwesterly winds will continue to strengthen this morning and become westerly during the day.

Strong winds are capable of snapping power lines, toppling road signs and blowing debris onto the roadway. Never cross a roadway where downed power lines, poles or transformers are present. Do not try to free lines or remove debris yourself. Call 911 if you observe such items on the roadway so emergency assistance can be provided.

For road weather information in Iowa, visit Iowa DOT’s website Weatherview offers helpful information to travelers, including current wind speed, direction and gusts. Information is collected from road and aviation weather observation reporting sites throughout the state.

If you are driving:

  • Keep a firm grip on the wheel and be prepared to slow down.
  • Tune in to local weather forecasts and bulletins issued by the National Weather Service on local radio stations.
  • Watch for objects blowing across the roadway and into your path.
  • Keep a safe distance from vehicles in adjacent lanes as strong gusts can push a vehicle or trailer outside its lane of travel.
  • Take extra care if driving a high-profile vehicle, such as a truck, van, SUV or recreational vehicle or when towing a trailer, as these vehicles are more prone to be pushed or even flipped by high wind gusts.
  • If winds are severe enough to prevent safe driving, move your vehicle onto the shoulder of the road and stop, making sure you are away from trees or other tall objects that could fall onto your vehicle. Stay in the vehicle and turn on the hazard lights until the wind subsides.
  • Never cross a downed power line.
  • Approach all intersections with caution. If there is a power outage, the traffic signals may not be operating properly. Remember, nonfunctioning traffic signals are to be treated as a four-way stop.
  • Check the latest weather conditions by accessing the information kiosks located at any of the interstate rest areas.

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