High Winds Can Damage Your Roof Here’s How to Prepare
Colorado may be famous for its snow, but some people aren’t aware of how common strong winds are along the Front Range. The two most common explanations for our high winds are high winds that pick up power along the mountains and the differences in air pressure during colder months. As a result, it’s not uncommon for wind to hit speeds around 100 miles per hour from Colorado Springs all the way up through Fort Collins.
These frequent windstorms can be dangerous for a number of reasons, and they can be just as damaging to your roof as a hail storm. If you’re not familiar with the windy side of Colorado living, this video can give you a better idea of what it’s like and why wind can be so dangerous.
Wind is a natural part of living in the Front Range, but that doesn’t mean it always leads to property and roof damage. Here’s what you need to know about wind in Colorado and how to be ready for the next windstorm.
When to Be Prepared for Strong Winds
While storms can create strong wind events throughout the year, the most common time is during winter when there’s such an extreme difference in temperature from the north to the south. This means a strong windstorm could arise anytime from November through March. Meteorologists can usually predict when winds will intensify to help you prepare.
Denver weather can shift quickly, so it’s a good idea to know a little about what causes a windstorm so you can anticipate when high winds can strike. Changes in temperature cause wind to kick up and move air from a low to a high-pressure system. When one area begins to heat up, it causes cooler air to move and cycle the cool and warm air in that area. The sun’s angles and how and where it touches the earth can also significantly impact the air in a given area because the earth has many topical peaks and valleys. These are the two most significant factors we see in Colorado. When the eastern planes warm-up, the heat draws the cool air from the mountains down onto the Front Range. With temperature swings that can be a 60% drop in a single day, wind events can be devastating.
So if you keep an eye out for the temperature changes out east, you can begin to gauge the trajectory of a significant wind event. There are also a few resources to help you track a windstorm:
The National Weather Service in Boulder will issue a High Wind Warning for two reasons:
- Sustained winds of 50 mph or greater, or gusts of at least 75 mph in the mountains
- Sustained winds of 40 mph or more, or gusts of at least 58 mph at lower elevations
The Marshall Fire that devastated communities north of Denver on December 30, 2021 was fueled largely by severe strong winds. With gusts over 90 miles per hour, the fire tore through the community, burning houses almost faster than people could evacuate. Previously that month, on Dec 15, another high-wind event with wind gusts over 100 mph in speed. This windstorm blocked roads with downed trees, knocked out the power for over 60,000 residents, and canceled almost 500 flights from Denver International Airport.
How Strong Winds Can Damage Your Roof
The most obvious way strong winds can cause roof damage is by pulling shingles off your roof deck, which can lead to leaks and other serious damage.
Alternatively, wind can also move across the roof and loosen shingles. Loose shingles can get caught in strong winds and crack or break from flapping in the wind. Look for extra shingle granules in your gutters and cracked shingles to know if you have roof damage.
Your roof might sustain damage from the wind itself, but damage can also result from flying debris and falling tree limbs. It’s a good practice to take care of any trees/limbs that appear at risk of breaking and falling onto your roof or other property.
This resource has some additional information on how to spot roof damage as the result of high winds.
What You Should Do When Strong Winds Pick Up
When you know high wind is coming your way, you should make sure you and your home are ready for it. Take a walk around your property and look for potential problem areas in case a storm rolls in.
In particular, you should do the following:
- Take shelter, and bring your pets inside to keep them safe
- Secure outdoor furniture and possessions
- Be ready for a power outage
- Make sure your car is parked in a covered area or somewhere safe where debris can’t fall on it and damage it
- If you’re driving during a windstorm, slow down and take your time. Visibility can be impacted with high winds thanks to all the dust that gets stirred up.
We Are Here to Help
Hopefully you won’t have to deal with roof damage as the result of high winds in Colorado, but if you do, we’re here to help.
Our experienced team at J&K Roofing services the Denver Metro, Front Range, Colorado Springs, and Fort Collins areas. Get in touch with us today for your free roof inspection if you’ve had high winds in your area!