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Toledo news, weather, traffic and sports | Toledo, Ohio, | wtol.com

Ways to prepare your home, outdoor patio and yourself for high winds and possible power outages

With wind gusts expected, it's smart to secure all your outdoor furniture and put together a safety kit for your home in case the power goes out.

TOLEDO, Ohio — High winds are expected to hit our area hardest between 4 a.m. and 8:00 a.m. Trees could go down, power outages may occur and damage to homes is possible.

"You know we can prepare for a wind event tonight no different than we can a spring storm," Northwest Ohio American Red Cross director Rachel Hepner said. "And what I like to tell people is you should always have a go kit."

She stressed families should have a plan in case the power goes out. Pack everyone their own kit with a flashlight and snacks. Pack a favorite toy or something to comfort kids or keep them entertained and make sure you plug your phone in before you go to bed.

"There are ways that we can prepare tonight," she added, "but certainly making sure that you have the notification available to you and that your phone is charged in this day and age is really, really critical."

The strongest winds are still hours away. But it's not too late to step outside before bed and tie down patio furniture to avoid problems when you wake up.

"So all of the chairs get pushed in underneath the table, the cover goes over and it gets cinched down," Myers Fireplace And Patio manager Dennis Porter said.

Porter said tying those patio umbrellas isn't enough. Take them down and put them away.

Move your grill closer to your house or against a wall and turn high top tables on their side to keep them from blowing over or taking flight.

Porter added he sees people that didn't prepare come in to replace some things after every storm.

"We sell to a lot of businesses too," he said. "They'll sometimes forget as well. And that's where we can see a surge in umbrellas, hey, we got three broken."

It may be late but it's not too late to save yourself a headache Friday morning.

Preparation is key so you're not scrambling in the seconds when it could count.

What can you expect overnight? WTOL 11 First Alert Chief Meteorologist Robert Shiels gives an update ahead of the gusts: