High winds bad news for Lubbock, good news for Boeing - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

High winds bad news for Lubbock, good news for Boeing

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Boeing spokesman Adam Tischler Boeing spokesman Adam Tischler
LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) -

For the second day in a row high winds have blown through Lubbock, leaving many residents wondering when it will end. It's expected that relief won't come until Wednesday and until then many people have to adjust their schedules.

"We do have an overhead guide signs project that is on going right now we were actually supposed to start last week but because we've had such high winds that project was postponed to this week - but since we're having high winds again, it looks like we might have to postpone that, at least for the evening," said TxDOT's Lubbock District Public Information Officer Dianah Ascencio. "Typically when we see winds stronger than 15 MPH, because these signs are so big, it's not safe for our crews or for motorists for us to go ahead and place those signs."

The average size of the signs is 10 feet by 20 feet. TxDOT estimates each to weigh around 1,200 pounds.

"You get a good gust there and it's almost uncontrollable, the signs will be almost uncontrollable - they'll get that wind underneath them and begin to float, so it's definitely not safe for our crews and even though we were planning to do the work overnight, it's definitely not safe for motorists when you do have traffic flowing by," Ascencio said. "Any time we have any kinds of signs this size we're definitely going to monitor the wind and make sure that when we are placing them that we're going to do it in safe conditions."

TxDOT hopes to be at the project by the end of the week if the weather cooperates. They expect the construction to take a week and a half.

The wind also affected people who were traveling. This afternoon a driver suffered minor injuries when high winds caused a semi truck to roll over on FM 211 and Highway 87 just south of Lubbock County near the Lynn County line.

The semi was heading north on Highway 87 with an empty trailer around 2 p.m. when a gust of wind blew through and rolled it over.

The driver was taken to Lynn County Hospital with minor injuries.

Texas DPS says in extreme wind conditions people need to use caution. They want to should remind motorists to tune in to their local weather before traveling for weather and road conditions. If the winds get dangerously high motorists should be advised to avoid travel unless necessary. In areas of blowing sand with limited visibility turn on your headlights. If you are forced to stop due to visibility do not stop in the roadway. Pull over somewhere safe. Let family or friends know what routes you will take and what time they should expect your arrival.

But the wind wasn't bad for everybody. Boeing spokesman Adam Tischler says these winds were ideal for testing their new 787-9 model Dreamliner.

"Lubbock has a runway that has a crosswise approach, so the wind is blowing across the runway at a right angle. Typically if you're operating an airplane you want to land into the wind, so Lubbock has runways that are set up for that as well. There was air traffic that was coming into Lubbock that was landing into the wind as an airplane is generally designed to do; however, we need to verify that the airplane can land safely in heavy crosswinds."

Tischler says this was the culmination of a long process to study the perfect site to perform crosswind testing.

"We look at the forecast and we identify as sort of an overlay, where are the airfields that can accept our large airplane that would work into the traffic flow? Then you have to look and say is it a runway that is going to take the wind as a crosswind. That's where Lubbock comes into play."

Tischler says he can't predict when another test will take place but says if another Boeing commercial jet needs to fly in crosswinds there is a strong possibility it would come to Lubbock.

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