AMES, Iowa – Oct. 27, 2010 – High winds overturning vehicles and downing power lines are causing traffic delays on Iowa roadways today, according to the Iowa Department of Transportation (DOT).
Overturned semis are currently blocking traffic lanes on Interstate 35 in two locations. The right lane of I-35 southbound is blocked near Dows in Franklin County and the right lane is closed on I-35 northbound at mile post 124 north of Ames. Earlier today, Iowa 5 on the north edge of Carlisle was closed briefly due to a downed power line over the roadway.
The entire state is experiencing sustained winds of 20 to 30 mph with gusts of 45 to more than 50 mph in some areas. A key Iowa DOT traveler resource that will be helpful for monitoring wind speed, direction and gusts can be found at http://weatherview.iowadot.gov/.
Tips for safer driving in high wind include:
- High winds can cause downed trees and power lines, flying debris, and loosen road and street signs.
- Report downed lines by calling 911.
- Do not try to free lines or remove debris yourself.
- When driving, keep both hands on the wheel and slow down. Watch for objects blowing across the roadway and into your path.
- Keep a safe distance from vehicles in adjacent lanes as strong gusts could push a vehicle outside its lane of travel.
- Take extra care in a high-profile vehicle such as a truck, van, SUV, or when towing a trailer, as these are more prone to be pushed or even flipped by high wind gusts.
- If winds are severe enough to prevent safe driving, get 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.
- Semis pulling empty trailers and traveling on the interstate should consider parking in a rest area or exiting to a truck stop to wait out the high winds.
- If a line falls on your vehicle, stay inside. Do not touch any of the metal frame of your vehicle. Honk your horn, roll down the window and warn anyone who may approach of the danger. Ask someone to call 911. Do not attempt to exit the vehicle until help arrives.
Contact: Dena Gray-Fisher at 515-239-1922 or firstname.lastname@example.org