PIKES PEAK REGION, Colo. — The Pikes Peak Regional Office of Emergency Management is closely monitoring weather conditions and responding to impacts as high winds are impacting Colorado Springs and El Paso County.
The National Weather Service’s high wind and red flag warning remains in effect for El Paso County, including Colorado Springs through 5:00 PM today.
Strong wind gusts up to 60 – 80 mph are predicted for the next couple of hours. Wind gusts are expected to decrease to 40-50 mph after 4:00 pm. Residents should seek shelter and avoid travel.
High Wind Restriction in place for high-profile vehicles on state roadways
Due to extreme high winds in the area, Colorado Department of Transporation is restricting travel of high profile vehicles in El Paso County.
High Wind Restriction in place for all high-profile vehicles on the following State roadways in El Paso County: I 25, CO 21 (Powers Blvd), US 24, Hwy 115 and CO 83.
Semis, tractor trailers, buses, recreational and all other high profile vehicles aren’t allowed on the roadways in El Paso County at this time. They are asked to park and shelter in place safely.
Avoid travel, if possible
The National Weather Service emphasizes that high winds are making travel hazardous, especially for high profile vehicles on the North/South corridors, such as I-25 due to high wind gusts and flying debris.
If possible, stay indoors and avoid travel. If you must travel, always maintain a firm grip on the steering wheel and be prepared for sudden shifts in wind speed or direction and be vigilant of flying debris.
Traffic intersections may be without power. Motorists should treat all darkened intersections as a four-way stop.
Watch for and obey any travel restrictions and stay tuned to local news or NOAA Weather Radio for updates.
Residents should only call 911 for a life-threatening emergency
911 call centers are being inundated. Please call 911 for life-threatening emergencies only. For non-emergencies, please call CSPD’s non-emergency line at 444-7000 or the appropriate agency.
Safety Tips During A Storm
- Monitor electric outages using Colorado Springs Utilities’ online outage map, or check with your local utility company.
- Monitor electric outages using Mountain View Electric Association’s online outage map.
- Do not use ovens, stoves or camping stoves for heat to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning.
- Check the U.S. Food & Drug Administration’s recommendationsrelated to food safety if you have experienced a power outage.
- Keep freezers and refrigerators closed.
- Use a generator, but ONLY outdoors and away from windows.
- Do not use a gas stove or oven to heat your home.
- Disconnect appliances and electronics to avoid damage from electrical surges.
- Have alternate plans for refrigerating medicines or using power-dependent medical devices.
High winds are damaging trees across the region. Private trees are the responsibility of the homeowner, but public trees and trees blocking public rights of way can be addressed by the appropriate local government.
For NON-emergency assistance with downed public trees, Manitou Springs residents can use the SeeClickFix app at https://seeclickfix.com/manitou-springs .
To report a downed street tree in the public right of way in El Paso County, visit https://citizenconnect.elpasoco.com or call (719) 520-6460.
Power lines or power outages
Residents should be on the lookout for fallen power lines or trees that have come into contact with a power line.
Downed power lines can look relatively harmless, but don’t be fooled. They likely carry an electric current strong enough to cause serious injury or possibly death. IF you see this, stay away from the line and/or tree, and immediately call your local utility company or call 911.
Here are some safety tips to help you stay safe around downed power lines:
- If you see a downed power line, move away from the line and avoid touching it.
- The proper way to move away from the line is to shuffle with small steps, keeping your feet together and on the ground at all times. This will minimize the potential for a strong electric shock. Electricity wants to move from a high voltage zone to a low voltage one—and it could do that through your body.
- If you see someone who is in direct or indirect contact with the downed line, do not touch the person. You could become the next victim. Call 911 instead.
- Do not attempt to move a downed power line or anything in contact with the line by using another object such as a broom or stick. Even normally non-conductive materials like wood or cloth, if slightly wet, can conduct electricity and electrocute you.
- Be careful not to put your feet near water where a downed power line is located.
- Do not drive over downed lines.
- If you are in a vehicle that is in contact with a downed line, stay in the vehicle. Honk your horn for help and tell others to stay away from your vehicle.
Do not touch or attempt to move wires that might not normally be electrically charged as the high winds may have brought then into contact high voltage lines.
For the latest on Wednesday’s weather event, click here.