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High-wind threat for truckers in Plains, Northeast

High risk of rollovers, blowing dust, fires

Truckers will face more dangerous winds Thursday across the northern Plains, mainly in Montana.

Strong gusts have been sweeping across Big Sky Country most of the week, flipping 18-wheelers and kicking up dust and dirt. While the threat Thursday won’t be as widespread, the National Weather Service still has high-wind warnings posted for parts of northern, central and southern Montana.

Gusts are forecast to reach up to 65 mph until late Thursday afternoon in places such as Heart Butte, Logan Pass, Browning and Cut Bank and until midday in Livingston.

Red-flag warnings have also been issued due to the combination of high winds, drought and very low relative humidity. A large grass fire started Wednesday near the town of Denton, Montana, and quickly spread across a state highway, prompting a closure. Additional grass fires or wildfires could pop up if people aren’t careful. Drivers can do their part by not parking their trucks in greasy areas, not dragging chains that could produce sparks and not flicking cigarettes into grassy areas.

There’s also an elevated risk of rollovers across the interior Northeast. The NWS expects gusts Thursday of 45 to 50 mph in upstate New York. Wind advisories extend from the Buffalo, Rochester and Niagara Falls areas to Jamestown, Watertown and Oswego until early Thursday evening.

Drivers will also hit high winds through early Friday morning from the Allegheny Mountains to the nearby Interstate 81 corridor. This includes northern Virginia, northeastern West Virginia and western Maryland. A high-wind warning and wind advisory have been posted for Hagerstown, Staunton, Harrisonburg, Strasburg, Winchester, Martinsburg, Frostburg, Cumberland, Petersburg, Elk Garden, Antioch, Fort Ashby and Brandywine. Gusts will hit 50 to 65 mph in these areas.

Major lanes of concern

• Interstate 15 in Montana from Wolf Creek to Mid Canon.
• Interstate 90 from Buffalo to Rochester.
• Interstate 81 from north of Syracuse to Watertown.

Click here for more FreightWaves articles by Nick Austin.

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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.