Pay attention to straight-line winds How to stay safe from these winds that can severely damage homes, landscapes, and people. Severe thunderstorms can create straight-line winds in excess of 58 mph. These winds can pack a major punch, uprooting trees and knocking down power lines. Learn more about damaging straight-line winds and how to stay safe.What they areStraight-line winds can come in many forms. Two common types are:Downburst: A strong downward current that bursts outward on or near the ground. Wind speeds can exceed 165 mph, similar to winds in an EF3 tornado or Category 5 hurricane. Derecho: A system of merged thunderstorms up to 65 miles wide that travels in a straight line, causing wind damage across an area of at least 240 miles. Wind speeds can top 100 mph.Straight-line winds can cause the same level of damage as tornadoes, but they lack the atmospheric rotation to form a funnel. The aftermath will show the difference: If downed trees and other kinds of debris are in parallel rows, that signifies straight-line winds. Tornado damage is more sporadic.How to stay safeStraight-line wind safety resembles tornado safety. Keep these tips in mind the next time your area has a severe thunderstorm warning:Find shelter immediately — or crouch down in the lowest spot you can find.Bring in or secure anything that's loose outside, such as lawn furniture, toys, and bicycles.Stay away from trees and power lines.Go to the lowest level of your home and steer clear of windows.If you're driving, pull over to a safe area with your vehicle in the direction of the wind.