The warning signals when the storm's destructive eyewall is imminent, lashing the area with the storm's peak winds.
A hurricane has to reach at least Category 3, bringing sustained winds on land of at least 115 mph, to qualify for an Extreme Wind Warning. To compare, traditional High Wind Warnings are issued when sustained winds reach 40 mph or gusts reach 58 mph.
An Extreme Wind Warning will trigger the Emergency Alert System and warn those in the path that a life-threatening situation is underway.
"Treat these imminent extreme winds as if a tornado was approaching and move immediately to the safe room in your shelter," the NWS will write in the warning. "Take action now to protect your life!" Only unlike a tornado that lasts moments, an onslaught from a hurricane's eyewall can last several to dozens of minutes.
What to do when an Extreme Wind Warning is issued?
An interior room without windows, such as an interior bathroom, is the best place. For even added protection, ensure everyone wears a helmet, and if feasible, cover yourself with a mattress for an added layer of protection.
Even if your home's frame withstands the wind onslaught, blown debris can be carried like missiles through windows or the home's siding.
Also, be mindful that if your area ends up inside the eye that the storm is only half done, and the brief calm period will rapidly deteriorate to extreme conditions once again on the other side of the storm's eyewall. Don't venture outside until you know the storm has passed and the winds have subsided.