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Strong winds will develop across portions of the Rockies and Plains on Tuesday, threatening to cause isolated damage and power outages.
Such winds can down tree limbs, send tumbleweeds dancing across the roadways and toss around loose lawn items. The winds may also be problematic for crews working to restore power.
Wind gusts between 40 and 70 mph will occur across portions of Montana, Wyoming, Colorado, New Mexico, North and South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas and the Oklahoma and Texas panhandles.
The strongest winds will develop across eastern Montana into western Wyoming, including the cities of Miles City, Montana and Rapid City, South Dakota.
Wind gusts between 50 and 70 mph were reported across portions of Montana as early as Monday night.
A few wind gusts could reach hurricane force.
Drivers of high-profile vehicles will be the most susceptible to these winds and will need to take extra precautions when traveling, especially empty tractor trailers.
“Travelers on north-south oriented highways will deal with strong crosswinds,” AccuWeather Meteorologist Michael Doll said.
This includes U.S. Highways 83 and 85 and also Interstate 25.
Winds increased across the northern Rockies during Monday night and will spread south and east into Tuesday night.
Those flying in and out of the major hubs may have to contend with delays and turbulence. This includes the Denver International Airport.
These winds will be associated with a storm tracking from the northern Rockies to the northern Plains on Tuesday. The strong winds will accompany a brief push of cooler air across the region.
Current U.S. watches and warnings
Strong winds leave power outages, damage in northeastern US
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For example, after highs reached the lower 70s F in Billings, Montana, on Monday, highs may struggle to reach the mid-50s on Tuesday. However, milder air from the western Pacific Ocean will send highs closer to 70 once again on Wednesday.
While rain showers will dampen areas from the northern Rockies to the Upper Midwest, the lack of rain could increase the risk of wildfires across parts of the southern Rockies and Plains.
“Unfortunately, dry conditions and gusty winds will increase the brush fire danger across the Plains,” Doll said. “Once a fire begins, the strong winds can help a small fire become very large and out of control in a short amount of time.”
“This is not only a danger to property owners and ranchers, but to drivers as well due to the danger of thick smoke reducing visibility,” Doll added.
Following the strong winds on Tuesday and a few rain and perhaps snow showers across the northern Plains during Wednesday and Wednesday night, the rest of the week will remain dry, sunny and warm.
While mild conditions dominate the Western states, chilly, winterlike air will dominate the Eastern states.
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