High Winds Continue Across Northern Plains and Dakotas

Yesterday high winds across parts of Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming caused damage across the Northern Plains. Semis and high-profile vehicles were flipped, trees damaged, power lines knocked down, causing power outages and even a wildfire.

Taking a look at yesterday's wind reports, we saw wind gusts from 50-70mph across much of the Northern Plains Yesterday.

Some of the strongest wind gusts were across Montana, especially across parts of northwestern Montana with gusts 90+ mph.

As mentioned above, a wildfire developed near Clark in Park county, Wyoming. Strong winds of 70-90mph downed powerlines sparking a fire that caused damage to three homes, and multiple outbuildings. Unfortunately, this wildfire left one dead due to the quick spreading of the fire.

We continue with strong winds today across the Dakotas. High wind warnings remain in effect until 6 PM CST or 5 PM MST this evening for strong northwest winds of 40mph with gusts to 65mph, with wind advisories to the east. Those wind advisories will also expire at the same time as those wind warnings, but those advisories are for 25-40mph winds with gusts of 50mph. These wind advisories and wind warnings will cause unsecured objects to be blown around, along with tree damage, and a few power outages are possible.

Winds are currently gusting from 40-50mph across parts of the Dakotas.

Winds will continue through the day and decrease after sunset as the inversion begins to set back up. Also, these winds will gradually decrease as the area of low pressure continues to push off to the east.

The National Weather Service (NWS) is forecasting maximum wind gusts of 50-65mph across the northern Plains, into parts of northeastern Montana, and the Dakotas.

These winds are caused by an area of low pressure that developed along the lee side of the Rockies due to strong upper-level divergence and a shortwave that promoted cyclogenesis at the surface. This area of low pressure continued to deep as it moved eastward due to the strong upper-level support. Taking a look at the surface chart, we can see a tight pressure gradient along the western edge of the low-pressure system. This tight gradient is causing strong winds today across the Northern Plains and Dakotas. Our forecast sounding also shows a strong low-level jet (LLJ) along with in-phase winds through the column. These winds will mix down to the surface, causing those 50-65mph wind gusts across the Northern Plains and Dakotas today.

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