High winds threaten more damage, power outages and brush fires in southwestern US

By Kristina Pydynowski, AccuWeather senior meteorologist
By Alex Sosnowski, AccuWeather senior meteorologist
April 10, 2019, 8:37:16 PM EDT

Even though the big storm has pushed east of the Rockies at midweek, the strong circulation around the storm will continue the consequences of high winds in the Southwest as snow piles up in the Rockies.

Areas of strong winds will continue to kick up dust and create difficult travel west of the Rockies into Wednesday night.

Blowing dust April 6

Wind blows dust around the site of an event for Faraday Future, Wednesday, April 13, 2016, in North Las Vegas, Nevada. (AP Photo/John Locher)

However, a swath of high winds, where gusts will top hurricane-force (74 mph) is in store from much of New Mexico and western Texas to eastern Colorado and southwestern Nebraska into Wednesday night as well.

Winds Wed

Motorists, especially those in high-profile vehicles, will have to remain alert for dangerous crosswinds when traveling on stretches of interstates 15, 17, 25 and 27 in the region.

Officials may be forced to put restrictions in place for high-profile vehicles traveling on I-25 from Pueblo, Colorado, to Albuquerque, New Mexico, and El Paso, Texas, due to the dangerous crosswinds.

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Not only will winds this strong bring the likelihood of blowing dust, power outages and property damage, trucks may be flipped on their side and sparks generated by downed power lines can lead to aggressive brush fires.

Fire 3 pm

Any small fire that gets started can rapidly grow into a fast-moving firestorm given the conditions.

People should immediately report any smoke to authorities.

Under no circumstances should outdoor power equipment be used that can cause sparks, nor should burning cigarettes be tossed out the window.

Never park over areas of high grass and other brush as the exhaust system is very hot and can cause a fire.

Throughout the Desert Southwest, the storm will put the brakes on the heat from early this week. Temperatures at midweek will return to more seasonable levels.

Snowstorm to be double-edged sword in Rocky Mountains

The same storm kicking up the strong winds will also spread rain and snow from Northern California to the Rocky Mountains into Wednesday night.

Latest indications point toward a general 8-16 inches of snow in the mountains from Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming to the Wasatch Mountains in Utah and the San Juan Mountains in Colorado. There can be an AccuWeather Local StormMax™ of 30 inches in the Rockies of Wyoming and Colorado.

Blizzard conditions are in store farther to the east over the North Central states.

Download the free AccuWeather app to find out how the storm will affect your community.

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