Gales and high winds

Gales are the most common cause of damage and disruption in the UK. Strong winds can cause serious damage to property, blocking roads and knocking down power and telephone cables.

The Met Office issues gale warnings, and radio broadcasts them four times a day at fixed times on 198 kHz in the Shipping Forecast on BBC Radio 4. Forecasters may issue an extra gale warning read between programmes if necessary.

Before the storm

  • secure loose objects that could be blown away, such as ladders or garden furniture
  • lock doors and windows, especially large doors such as those on garages
  • park vehicles in a garage or keep them clear of buildings, trees, walls and fences
  • close and secure loft trapdoors
  • move beds away from areas directly below chimney stacks if the stacks are tall and in poor condition
  • unplug unnecessary electrical devices

During the storm

  • stay indoors
  • do not go outside to repair damage

If you have to go out you should:

  • try not to walk or shelter close to buildings and trees
  • keep away from boundary walls and fences
  • enter and leave your house through doors in the sheltered side
  • keep internal doors closed

If you have to evacuate, where possible you should:

  • put small animals in pet carriers or secure boxes
  • pack spare clothing, essential medication and any special dietary foods
  • take personal documents, valuables and a phone charger if possible
  • turn off mains gas, electricity and water supplies


Do not drive unless your journey is really necessary. If you have to drive:

  • slow down and be aware of side winds on exposed routes such as bridges, or high open roads
  • take particular care if you are towing or driving a high sided vehicle

Read government guidance on driving in adverse weather

After the storm

  • do not touch electrical/telephone cables that are hanging loose
  • keep away from walls, buildings and trees that may be weakened
  • check on your vulnerable neighbours or relatives
  • take pictures of any damage once it is safe to do so
  • contact your insurer to report any damage to your property

You can report trees damaged and brought down by the storm on our website.

If you notice obstructions on the road from debris, report it to our Highways department.

Page last updated: 26 February 2024

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