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High-wind threat developing in High Plains

Truckers in Montana, Wyoming at greatest risk

(Photo: Jim Allen/FreightWaves)

A slow-moving storm Tuesday and Wednesday will make winds howl across the High Plains, increasing the risk of rollovers for truckers. The storm will impact drivers across most of Montana and southeastern Wyoming, as well as high elevations in northern Idaho and eastern Washington.

Gusts of 50 to 70 mph will be common beginning Tuesday afternoon and evening, exceeding 70 mph in parts of Montana. Deadheading or carrying light loads through these areas will be risky.

Several major routes are under the gun, including Interstates 15, 90 and 94, in addition to U.S. Highways 2 and 12.

The winds should weaken Wednesday night, except in eastern Montana, where they could linger into Thursday. This would continue to affect travel in places such as Judith Gap, Miles City, Glasgow and Glendive.

High winds will also be an issue Tuesday night to Thursday along I-25 and I-80 in southeastern Wyoming. The usual trouble spots will be Elk Mountain, Laramie, Cheyenne, Wheatland, Douglas and Casper.

Heavy snowfall will delay truckers in the Cascades of Washington and Oregon, as well as the Blue Mountains in northeastern Oregon (I-84), in addition to the Rockies of eastern Washington, northern Idaho and western Montana.

Look for several inches to more than a foot of accumulation through Wednesday, along with blowing snow and periods of reduced visibility. Drivers will have trouble over many mountain passes, including Snoqualmie, Marias, Lookout and Stevens, just to name a few.

Meanwhile, heavy rainfall will continue to soak western portions of Washington and Oregon. This includes I-5, from Seattle to Portland and Medford, Oregon, as well as U.S. Highway 101. High elevations could see totals of 4 to 8 inches of rainfall, with up to 3 inches in the valleys. Roadblocks are possible due to potential flooding.

This storm will head to the Dakotas and upper Great Lakes Thursday and Friday. The winds may remain strong, but the snow and rain shouldn’t be as heavy.

Click here for more FreightWaves articles by Nick Austin.

Nick Austin

Nick is a meteorologist with 20 years of forecasting and broadcasting experience. He was nominated for a Midsouth Emmy for his coverage during a 2008 western Tennessee tornado outbreak. He received his Bachelor of Science in Meteorology from Florida State University, as well as a Bachelor of Science in Management from the Georgia Tech. Nick is a member of the American Meteorological Society and National Weather Association. As a member of the weather team at WBBJ-TV in Jackson, Tennessee, Nick was nominated for a Mid-South Emmy for live coverage of a major tornado outbreak in February 2008. As part of the weather team at WRCB-TV in Chattanooga, Tennessee, Nick shared the Chattanooga Times-Free Press Best of the Best award for “Best Weather Team” eight consecutive years.