Hurricane-Force Winds Whipping the Rockies

By , Senior Meteorologist
January 13, 2014; 5:35 PM ET
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A powerful storm will continue to kick up hurricane-force winds across parts of the Rockies Monday, threatening to cause damage, power outages and travel headaches.

Winds gusted to 115 mph at Logan Pass, Mont., on Saturday afternoon and 90 mph at Sedge Ridge, Wash., on Saturday morning.

Winds Sunday gusted to 90 mph in Alta, Utah, and to 80 mph at Pike Peak, Colo.

On Monday, winds reached 73 mph near Arlington, Wy., in Carbon County.

Additional hurricane-force winds will be measured across the Rockies and not just in the highest elevations.

Such winds are in store for places to the lee of the Rockies from Montana to Colorado. This includes Cut Bank, Mont., and Cheyenne, Wyo.

The intense winds threaten to cause damage, power outages and travel problems for both motorists and airline passengers.

An emergency manager reported that 12 power poles were knocked down by strong winds near Ennis, Mont., on Saturday. Strong winds also downed a 26-inch diameter Grand Fir near St. Maries, Idaho. The tree landed on the trained spotter's home.

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While potentially causing flight delays, the winds will make driving difficult on stretches of Interstates 15, 25, 90 and 94.

High-profile vehicles are at greatest risk of being overturned by the powerful winds, but even drivers of smaller vehicles will feel the winds tug at their cars and trucks. Meteorologist Mike Doll is especially concerned for hazardous driving conditions through passes and roads that are orientated west to east or southwest to northeast.

The strongest winds avoided the metro area of Denver, but winds still gusted past 30 mph during the NFL playoff game between the Denver Broncos and the San Diego Chargers on Sunday afternoon.

Snow will also be confined to the mountains. Travel will become extremely difficult, if not impossible, as the snow combines with the fierce winds to create blizzard conditions. The threat remains high for avalanches to occur.

The strongest winds have departed Seattle, Portland and the rest of the Northwest.

Monday through Tuesday, calmer weather will return to Oregon and Washington. On Monday, more of the northern High Plains will join the Rockies in enduring the potentially damaging winds.


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