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How to prepare for Western Montana's windy weather

Posted at 4:06 PM, Apr 04, 2022
and last updated 2022-04-04 18:07:33-04

MISSOULA — MISSOULA - We don't see crazy wind storms in Missoula often, but when we do it is important to be prepared.

National Weather Service Meteorologist Jeff Kitsmiller explained that wind happens when the atmosphere wants to balance.

There are a few tips and tricks to help save possessions with severe winds expected to make their way through Western Montana.

"You know this time of year at least, it's maybe a little bit easier because trees don't have their leaves on," said Kitsmiller. "So they're not as susceptible to go down." But the wind that we could get today could take trees down so you don't want to park near trees. If you want to protect your car, anything underneath the tree could be a problem.”

One of the best things you can do to protect your home is to move or secure, barbecues and outdoor patio furniture. And if you have a trampoline — you might want to nail it down! But the most imperative thing we can do is if debris does come down in a severe weather storm, be aware of power lines. Just because a power line is down, doesn’t mean it doesn’t carry an electrical charge.

“To either 110 or 220, but those voltages are definitely high enough to severely injury or kill a person, so it's not recommended that you go rooting around in any downed portion of a tree until you've gotten it clear to the power company,” said City of Missoula Parks and Recreation urban forester. Ben Carson.

“If you see a downed or damaged power line, keep your distance and call 911 and NorthWestern immediately. Never touch a power line or any object, including trees, that is in contact with a line. Always keep people, equipment and objects at least 30 feet away from downed lines," NorthWestern Energy spokesperson Jo Dee Black advised in an email to MTN News.

If you do have a down tree, call an expert to help you remove it before you try to clean it up yourself.

Other things to keep in mind:

  1. Check your trees or shrubs to ensure you have no loose branches that could go flying.
  2. If you are planning on traveling, leave some extra room behind high profile cars. And if traveling through the passes, snow could add an extra challenge… so use extra caution.
  3. Have a flashlight handy in case you do lose power. Report power outages to your power company.

For all trees down on city property contact City of Missoula Urban Forestry.

Click here to report power outages to NorthWestern Energy.