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Central Oregon

Farms prepare for damage as strong winds move into C.O.

(Update: Adding video, comments from Alfalfa farm owner)

ALFALFA, Ore. (KTVZ) -- Some farmers are bracing for the potential impact to their livelihood  after the National Weather Service issued a red flag warning for the region on Sunday, saying strong winds and extremely dry conditions could likely lead to rapid fire spread over the next couple of days.

“The biggest loss a farmer can have is greenhouses being crumpled and plastic flying off,” Gigi Meyer, who owns Windflower Farm in Alfalfa, said Monday.

Monday, Meyer told NewsChannel 21 everything on her farm is strategically placed to shield crops from strong winds, mostly from the north. 

The NWS said the winds coming to some parts of the state will have the potential to reach historic speeds for this time of year, with gusts up to 40-50 mph in some areas of Central Oregon.

The Cascades and areas of western Oregon are under a high wind warning for gusts to 55-65 mph, with possible 75 mph gusts at the mountain peaks and ridges.

Meyer said the aspen trees on the north side of the farm act as a natural barrier against northerly winds for the sunflower garden. 

Grapevines she first planted in 2006 have grown into another natural shield, wrapping around a wire fence, to protect some of the vegetables in the south garden.

Meyer said Clare Sullivan, an assistant professor with the Oregon State University Extension Service, uses some of her farmland to plant blackberries and other crops.

Sullivan planted the blackberries between two structures and a wall of raspberries to protect them from wind damage. 

Meyer said she placed Reemay cloth over some plants to protect them from insects, but they don't stand up well against strong winds.

“We have strong sandbags that we anchor those with, and I’ve learned if you don’t anchor them properly, they can fly away,” Meyer said. “It’s a hazard to animals, if things get loose and fly away.”

Meyer said it's not so much the wind she is worried about, but the below-average and near-freezing overnight temperatures in some parts of Central Oregon.

Business / News / Top Stories / Weather
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Rhea Panela

Rhea Panela is a multimedia journalist for NewsChannel 21. Learn more about Rhea here.

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